“No fear against the sexual exploitation of women, girls and boys”

Elizabeth is the fictional name of a teenager who was sold at 12 years old for what a few beers are worth sexually exploited and this was trafficked between Burundi and Tanzania. In a bar in Argentina, the plastic bracelets some women wore showed the number of men they had been forced to have sex with.

These painful examples are fair a small sample of horror that tens of thousands of women and children live around the world, including in our country. For this reason, every year on the occasion of the International Day Against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women, Girls and Boys, which we celebrate today, September 23, it is important to recall the data and facts provided by national and international institutions and organizations, because behind each from these numbers lies a story as terrible as those that are the occasion of this article.

sexual exploitation

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) gives eloquent figures in this regard: human trafficking is a global phenomenon (the UN collects data from 152 countries, 94 percent of the world’s population) and, although it is very diverse, it treats it with purposes of sexual exploitation it accounts for 50 percent of all forms of trafficking and its victims, up to 92 percent of whom are women and girls.

If we focus on Europe, 72 percent of victims of all forms of trafficking and 92 percent of victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation are women and girls. In Spain, these same percentages between 2017 and 2020 are 59 and 93 percent, respectively; if we are talking exclusively about victims of sexual exploitation, without it being all the way through the crime of trafficking, during that same period, up to 97 percent of victims were women and girls.

1056 victims of trafficking networks

Besides the percentages, it is important to give specific data that paint in our heads how many girls like Elizabeth and how many women like those from the bar in Argentina exist in our cities: last year the National Police and the Civil Guard released 1056 victims of trafficking networks and for crimes of sexual or labor exploitation, including two minor girls. Victims released from human trafficking networks for sexual exploitation were 136, and victims rescued from situations of sexual exploitation are 355. Actions by the two bodies also allowed 4,704 persons at risk of prostitution to be identified. That’s what we’re talking about.

Therefore, today is a day to stop and reflect. First of all, we are talking about a crime with a huge gender dimension, based on the well-known structural inequality on which all societies on the planet are based and which gives rise to the exercise of such terrible violence like the one told by survivors of sexual exploitation. That is why it is urgently necessary to strengthen international cooperation, first to put an end to one of the most profitable criminal businesses in the world; and secondly, to improve the living conditions of women and girls, whose situation of inequality makes them extremely vulnerable.

Hear from survivors and their testimonies

Second, it is essential listen to survivors and their testimonies because they are the ones who can give us the context to fight these crimes; They need to feel our protection and encouragement as a society to break the chain of fear and blackmail they are subjected to. And, of course, we must protect them, end their stigma and provide them with opportunities for a new life.

We must also continue to work for an end to impunity to those who basely exploit women and girls and make those who are willing to pay think twice, because sexual exploitation would not exist if there were no one to pay for it.

We must continue to support the state security forces and corps so that they can continue with the magnificent work they do to prevent, detect and prosecute crimes that have worsened with the pandemic and spread on the Internet thanks to the global use of technology.. Likewise, Spain, a modern country with a society based on the recognition of human rights, must equip itself with the necessary legislative tools to end one of the worst manifestations of slavery in the 21st century.

An experience of abuse and violence

The work of awareness and social care that the subjects of the third social sector are developing and to which from the regional administration we support with various help lines, within our reduced scope of competence in this matter, of which we also pay attention to the victims.

It is true that our reality can sometimes be difficult for us to imagine ordeal of abuse and violence through which the victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation pass; the filth of places where women, girls and boys are sexually exploited or the vulnerability and desperation of those who seek a better life or who are said to have just arrived in this world and yet are already victims of organized networks or unscrupulous people who have no problem destroying the lives of creatures…

“We can’t put a bandage on”

It’s hard to imagine, but we can’t put a bandage on faced with a reality that we have an obligation to fight individually because as humans we are united with the rest of humanity; and collectively, because we must not continue to allow the pain and suffering of thousands of women and children to continue in the darkest corners of our society, through which mafias and criminals move.

The challenge is great, but the greater the challenge, the more necessary it is raise your head, clench your fists and teeth, let’s strengthen our spirit and keep moving forward, without fear, without fainting and without stopping to do what we have to do. By the way, at the age of 16, Elizabeth was able to return home to Burundi with her family».

Blanca Fernandez She is the Minister for Equality and Spokesperson for the Government of Castilla-La Mancha.

(Visited 10 times, 10 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *