24.09.2018

Sex Trafficking vs Sex Work: Understanding The Difference

What is Sex Trafficking?

Sex Trafficking is and always has been a long-standing global problem which is often confused with sex work. Accurate statistics for the number of people enslaved into the sex industry are almost impossible to accumulate because of the hidden nature of the crime.

Undeniably, Sex Trafficking or Sexual Exploitation is a human rights violation and it can happen to anyone, adult women, young girls, men and boys are all at risk. The distinctions might seem obvious, but they are often overlooked.

When a person willingly takes part in the sale of sex, it is consensual and doesn’t affect their human rights. This is called Sex Work.

vs

When a person takes part in the sale of sex through threat, abduction or other means of coercion this is called Sex Trafficking.

The differences can almost be invisible, so you may not recognise a trafficked victim. You may see a girl in the streets looking for “work” and assume she is a sex worker but, the reality could be far from that.

Spot The Signs

Remember, someone who offers sex work is not necessarily trafficked, but it’s really important to spot the people who are. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to Spot The Signs that a person is being trafficked.

  • Is the person closely guarded?
  • Are there any signs of physical abuse, such as cigarette burns, bruises or tattoos indicating ownership?
  • Is the person allowed to keep the money or do they have to give it to someone else?
  • Does the person sleep in the brothel where the sexual act is happening?
  • Are the conditions in the room or home poor and unsanitary?

Sex work is a sensitive issue but it is important that we understand the difference and are able to Spot The Signs of Sex Trafficking. If you suspect someone is being trafficked then you should report it straight away, this can be done anonymously if you are worried about your protection. Click here for local authority information.

Download our flyers

Sexual Exploitation flyer in English

Icon

Sexual Exploitation Flyer English 348.43 KB 751 downloads

...

Sexual Exploitation flyer in Romanian

Icon

Sexual Exploitation Romanian 349.04 KB 478 downloads

...

Help Us Prevent Human Trafficking

STOP THE TRAFFIK is building intelligence on global human trafficking activity to help combat this issue. If you have seen anything suspicious, you can share it on our online form, safely and securely.

Help Us Prevent Human Trafficking

STOP THE TRAFFIK is building intelligence on global human trafficking activity to help combat this issue. If you have seen anything suspicious, you can share it on our online form, safely and securely.

Share Information

Latest posts

  • 17.05.24

    Triggering Schools to STOP THE TRAFFIK

  • 09.05.24

    The Experience of Romanian and Albanian Nationals in London

  • 30.04.24

    STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Workers’ Rights Campaign

  • 20.03.24

    Reflections on Combating Human Trafficking

More posts

Support us

Your donations are vital to enabling us to combat human trafficking. Together we'll stop it.

Donate today

Get the STOP APP

The first of its kind in combining; community empowerment, big data management and anti-trafficking expertise to disrupt, combat and prevent the global issues of human trafficking, modern slavery and exploitation.

About the STOP APP

Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

Join our global mailing list

News about what we're doing, campaign updates and how you can get involved.

"(Required)" indicates required fields

Taking care of your data

By signing up to our mailing list you consent to receive communications from STOP THE TRAFFIK by email. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information please visit our Privacy Policy.