Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

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Overview

Every year, hundreds of thousands of women and children are abducted, deceived, seduced, or sold into forced prostitution, coerced to service hundreds if not thousands of men before being discarded. These trafficked sex slaves form the backbone of one of the world's most profitable illicit enterprises and generate huge profits for their exploiters, for unlike narcotics, which must be grown, harvested, refined, and packaged, sex slaves require no such "processing," and can be repeatedly "consumed."

Kara first encountered the horrors of slavery in a Bosnian refugee camp in 1995. Subsequently, in the first journey of its kind, he traveled across four continents to investigate these crimes and take stock of their devastating human toll. Kara made several trips to India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Albania, Moldova, Mexico, and the United States. He witnessed firsthand the sale of human beings into slavery, interviewed over four hundred slaves, and confronted some of those who trafficked and exploited them.

In this book, Kara provides a riveting account of his journey into this unconscionable industry, sharing the moving stories of its victims and revealing the shocking conditions of their exploitation. He draws on his background in finance, economics, and law to provide the first ever business analysis of contemporary slavery worldwide, focusing on its most profitable and barbaric form: sex trafficking. Kara describes the local factors and global economic forces that gave rise to this and other forms of modern slavery over the past two decades and quantifies, for the first time, the size, growth, and profitability of each industry. Finally, he identifies the sectors of the sex trafficking industry that would be hardest hit by specifically designed interventions and recommends the specific legal, tactical, and policy measures that would target these vulnerable sectors and help to abolish this form of slavery, once and for all.

The author will donate a portion of the proceeds of this book to the anti-slavery organization, Free the Slaves.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Kara, a former investment banker and executive, uses theoretical economics and business analysis to propose measures that could eradicate sex trafficking by undermining the profitability of the illegal activities associated with the crime. At considerable personal risk and expense-he is nearly attacked by a gang of pimps in Mumbai-the author penetrates seedy underworlds and forced labor markets to meet the women and children in the "dungeon of human disgrace" in Asia, Europe and the U.S. He highlights ubiquitous and disturbing trends-the heavy involvement of law enforcement agencies and personnel in trafficking and slavery-but this book's intentions suffers from Kara's self-professed "rudimentary" economic analysis, which often borders on the offensive (a theoretical calculation of the lifetime value of a sex slave) and an unscientific, ad hoc research model. While the evidence indicates the urgent need for action-a woman or child is trafficked for sexual exploitation every 60 seconds-Kara's economic approach fails to shed new light on the human cost of sex slavery and seems at the best of times beside the point, although the detailed statistical information he compiles-on everything from the costs of running a brothel in Queens, N.Y., to massage parlor and bonded labor economics worldwide-is a resource for researchers in the field. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirk Douglas

Sex trafficking is more of a problem than most people realize. Read this well-written book and find out.

Stanford Social Innovation Review
An impressive, scholarly book that will prove an asset for the global anti-trafficking movement in the next decade.

— Holly Burkhalter

Irish Times
A disturbing and illuminating study of one of the underbellies of economic globalization: the global sex trafficking industry.

— Padraig Carmody

Financial Times
An eloquent, campaigning book that addresses an evil that belittles our humanity.

— Jonathan Birchall

H-Human-Rights
This is an important and necessary work and it will educate many people about sex trafficking around the globe.

— Meredith Ralston

Antonio Maria Costa

Sex trafficking is a crime that shames us all. To fight it we need to research it, know it in depth, and calibrate measures accordingly. Siddharth Kara's compelling economic and strategic analysis is very useful to our work. Readers will gain a deep understanding of the functioning of modern-day slavery as well as what can be done to eradicate it.

Jacqueline Bhabha

I approached this book with a certain weariness. Having worked on the subject of sex trafficking for many years, I was unenthusiastic about yet another exposé or cri de coeur from a business executive turned human rights advocate. I could not have been more wrong. This is a unique and inspiring book—an honest, lucid, and immensely intelligent account of a devastating yet pervasive aspect of contemporary globalization. It deserves to be widely read by anyone who wants to understand one of the most persistent and complex human rights violations of our times.

Vivien Stern
Siddharth Kara has done a great service by laying bare the realities of sexual exploitation of women and girls around the world and the scale of this modern slavery. His analysis is rooted in an understanding of the way unregulated economic globalization has impoverished whole regions, failed to improve the miserable lot of women in many countries, and facilitated global criminal networks. His book should be widely read and his recommendations taken very seriously.
Zoe Trodd

This book could not be more important. After years of witnessing slavery and meeting with slaves, Siddharth Kara illuminates one of our most pressing human rights issues. He offers brand new research and reliable facts, shattering the myths and sensationalism that tend to surround this topic. Everyone should read this book: it will change the way we think about our world.

Stanford Social Innovation Review - Holly Burkhalter

An impressive, scholarly book that will prove an asset for the global anti-trafficking movement in the next decade.

Irish Times - Padraig Carmody

A disturbing and illuminating study of one of the underbellies of economic globalization: the global sex trafficking industry.

Financial Times - Jonathan Birchall

An eloquent, campaigning book that addresses an evil that belittles our humanity.

Kevin Bales

The best book ever written on human trafficking for sexual exploitation. Representing a new period of solid yet humane scholarship, this breakthrough analysis represents a quantum leap in the study of this subject. Simply beyond anything I have seen anywhere.

H-Human-Rights - Meredith Ralston

This is an important and necessary work and it will educate many people about sex trafficking around the globe.

Baroness Vivien Stern

Siddharth Kara has done a great service by laying bare the realities of sexual exploitation of women and girls around the world and the scale of this modern slavery. His analysis is rooted in an understanding of the way unregulated economic globalization has impoverished whole regions, failed to improve the miserable lot of women in many countries, and facilitated global criminal networks. His book should be widely read and his recommendations taken very seriously.

Human Rights Review - Noam Perry

An important innovative resource that enriches the discourse on modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231139601
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 11/17/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Siddharth Kara is the first Fellow on Human Trafficking with the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He speaks and consults extensively on contemporary slavery and human rights worldwide and advises several governments as well as private and non-governmental organizations on antislavery policy and law. Sex Trafficking is the first of three books providing his groundbreaking new approach to contemporary slavery. Previously, Kara worked as an investment banker at Merrill, Lynch, and ran his own finance and M&A consulting firm.Kara holds a law degree from England, an M.B.A. from Columbia University, and a B.A. from Duke University. Previously, he worked as an investment banker at Merrill, Lynch and ran his own finance and M&A consulting firm.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgments1. Sex Trafficking: An Overview2. India and Nepal3. Italy and Western Europe4. Moldova and the Former Soviet Union5. Albania and the Balkans6. Thailand and the Mekong Subregion7. The United States8. A Framework for Abolition: Risk and DemandAppendix A: Selected Tables and NotesAppendix B: Contemporary Slavery EconomicsAppendix C: Selected Human Development StatisticsNotesWorks CitedIndex

Columbia University Press

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2009

    Serious Subject, lost audience

    Mr.Kara lost his credibilty with me when he stated "In the current U.S. occupation of Iraq, thousands of South Asians and Middle Easterners have been allegedly trafficked for forced labor on U.S. military bases, their passports confiscated and wages unpaid."

    I have lived on U.S. bases all over the world for more than 25 years and have had contact with scores of local civilian workers. The allegation Mr. Kara makes raises a big red BS flag. Yes, GIs have routinely and for decades patronized prostitutes around U.S. bases. However, the suggestion that a large scale civilian group would be imported to perform forced labor on a U.S. military installation rings such a false note as to undermine the rest of Mr. Kara's research and assertions.

    In Mr. Kara's later discussion of the "Elasticity of Demand", he generates his "data" using a tiny patron sample (4 men) for whom he had to "prod and suggest answers more than once to extract the data." Based on that interviewer-led information, he created the "Demand Curve for Sex Acts" for any brothel in Kamathipura. That's like feeling an elephant's tail and announcing to the world that an elephant is a long, cylindrical animal with no legs.

    Sexual Slavery and violence against women and children is a serious subject, but Mr. Kara's method of basing assertions on frail information and miniscule sample groups then drawing continental or global conclusions does a disservice to this subject. Very disappointing.

    Patricia
    Texas, USA

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2009

    Heart wrenching, provocative and masterfully written!

    This visceral tale of modern slavery and sex trafficking is not for the faint of heart. Part text book, part novel, the depth and detail of Kara's story brings readers face to face with the tragic reality of slavery's bitter existence. In his book, Kara traverses the globe and gives a first hand account of the reasons for, and the damage done by, slavery. Kara concludes the book with a comprehensive breakdown of how to end slavery.

    Want to find out what the greatest thinkers of our time are reading? Then pick up this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    Doing the most on these reviews

    You amateur book author nerds no one reads your essay length book reports

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2011

    Very important book about a topic people don't know very much about.

    This a book about a topic of great importance. Alot of people try not to think about such horrors that exist all over the world, including the U.S. I have met women and children in the same situations and I believe everyone should at least learn about this topic.

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    Posted July 12, 2011

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