Sex Trafficking As Explained By Globalization Theoretical Model Essay

Analyse The Role Of Globalisation And Neo-Liberalism Of Sex Trafficking.


Sex trafficking and prostitution is the heart of an international sex industry that includes a wide variety of businesses, from macro-pubs or strip clubs to publishers, from massage parlors to "escort" agencies, from movies to magazines about pornography, without forgetting the figures of sex tourism. The sex industry does not end in the set of businesses that are part of the prostitution sector, because many other economic players or partners also profit from this industry and contribute to its underpinning (Lindquist, 2010). In effect, various businesses whose function is not directly linked to prostitution serve their interests and also use this industry to increase their profits. Among them, we must highlight mainly hotels, alcoholic beverage companies, newspapers, pharmacies, taxis or karaokes. What would happen if the companies producing and distributing alcoholic beverages refused to supply the brothels or the newspapers did not accept to publish advertisements of premises or flats in which prostitution is practiced? What I want to point out is that prostitution is the axis of an entire economic sector that revolves around the bodies of prostituted women. Globalization and sex industry has commodified women and turn them as objects for satisfaction (Alvarez & Alessi, 2012). And more specifically, all this economic activity is based on the vagina and other parts of the female body, which have become the foundation of a business organized on a global scale.

Until the eighties of the twentieth century, prostitution has had little economic impact on national accounts. Its most important dimension has been the powerful patriarchal mark on which this social practice was originally built (Marchand, Reid & Berents, 1998). However, the emergence of global capitalism since the 1970s changes the face of prostitution and makes it a fundamental part of the leisure and entertainment industry. In effect, since that time, the sex industry has been globalized with the help of informational networks, but also with the contribution of criminal networks. A little more than three decades ago, prostitution was a group of brothels with native women who worked as prostitutes with managers and bosses who managed, sometimes paternalistically, those small businesses. In that old form of prostitution, there were hardly any migrant women, nor trafficking of women for sexual exploitation or criminal circuits. In other words, that old canon of prostitution corresponded to capitalism prior to neoliberalism, and, therefore, its most relevant dimension was patriarchal.

Economic globalization has made it possible for sex trafficking and prostitution to flourish. Globalization has opened new channels through which women from one country can be trafficked to another country without anyone noticing or raising eyebrows. Sex traffickers use the porosity of the national borders to carry out the business. Globalization has made prostitution a place of intersection between the north and the south, since the south exports women for sexual consumption by men from the north (Reynolds & McKee, 2010). And men from the north travel to southern countries to buy sex and exercise the patriarchal right that authorizes them to sexually use women in prostitution. This industry connects the rich north and the indebted south. And, in addition, it contributes to creating a new affiliation between males from the north and those from the south (Jones, Engstrom, Hilliard & Sungakawan, 2011). With more or less resources, Western males share with those of the rest of the world the possibility of sexually using the women that neoliberal capitalism and the different patriarchates have placed in those places bounded to satisfy male desire. Even in some countries where prostitution has been legalized, the plaintiffs not only believe they have the right to sexually use prostituted women, but they also have that right enshrined by law. The global cartography of prostitution shows males from central countries crossing regions and even continents to access bodies of women and girls of other races and cultures who only have their bodies to survive. They are specific migrations of the prostitution plaintiffs to buy cheap, racialized and, often, infantile sex (Orchard, 2007).

Globalization deactivates the borders for capital and goods. And the commodity on which the sex industry is built, the bodies of women, can not remain within the limits of the nation state. Especially since this "commodity" is scarce in welfare societies and there is a lot available in countries with high poverty rates (Hastings, 2013). The twentieth century saw the fact that rich countries prostitute women in poor countries as a form of sexual colonialism. Sex trafficking is thus the maximum exponent of globalization, since women are transferred from countries with high levels of poverty to countries with more social welfare so that male applicants from all social classes have access to the bodies of these women. This way of functioning of capitalism, the relocation of less qualified production to countries with few labor rights and high poverty rates, has been extended to women. However, this relocation of women to the sex industry has elements that make it an authentic expulsion (Banwell, 2015). The map below was generated by UN and it shows the way people are trafficked from one continent to the other.


From the map, it is apparent that the movement is from developing continents to developed continents. This suggest that globalization, poverty and capitalism works together towards facilitating sex-trafficking


Evidently, the analysis has demonstrated that globalization has fueled the sex industry. It has opened the national borders, giving chance to sex criminals to expand their businesses. The issue is fueled by poverty and capitalism, which makes it justifiable for the victims and perpetrators.


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Banwell, S. (2015) ‘Globalisation masculinities, empire building and forced prostitution: a critical analysis of the gendered impact of the neoliberal economic agenda in post-invasion/occupation Iraq’, Third World Quarterly, 36(4), pp. 705–722. doi: 10.1080/01436597.2015.1024434.

Hastings, SA 2013, ‘Bill Mihalopoulos. Sex in Japan’s Globalization, 1870–1930: Prostitutes, Emigration, and Nation-Building’, American Historical Review, 118(3), pp. 832–833. Available at: (Accessed: 25 October 2018).

Jones, L. et al. (2011) ‘Human trafficking between Thailand and Japan: lessons in recruitment, transit and control’, International Journal of Social Welfare, 20(2), pp. 203–211. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2397.2009.00669.x.

Lindquist, J. (2010) ‘Putting Ecstasy to Work: Pleasure, Prostitution, and Inequality in the Indonesian Borderlands’, Identities, 17(2/3), pp. 280–303. doi: 10.1080/10702891003733500.

Marchand, M. H., Reid, J. and Berents, B. (1998) ‘Migration, (Im)mobility, and Modernity: Toward a Feminist Understanding of the “Global” Prostitution Scene in Amsterdam’, Millennium (03058298), 27(4), pp. 955–981. doi: 10.1177/03058298980270040201.

Orchard, T. R. (2007) ‘Girl, woman, lover, mother: Towards a new understanding of child prostitution among young Devadasis in rural Karnataka, India’, Social Science & Medicine, 64(12), pp. 2379–2390. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.02.031.

Reynolds, L. and McKee, M. (2010) ‘Organised crime and the efforts to combat it: a concern for public health’, Globalization & Health, 6, pp. 21–33. doi: 10.1186/1744-8603-6-21.

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