Similo Ntuli* looks like a ordinary, fashion-savvy woman in her twenties. As a hairdresser and beauty therapist in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Ntuli has her finger on the pulse of the latest styles and trends. But she also has, what she admits, are dark secrets.
“Poverty has become part of me,” says 13-year-old Aminata Kabangele from the Democratic Republic of Congo. “I have learned to live with the reality that nobody cares for me.”
Thirty-six-year-old Chameli Devi, a sex worker operating out of New Delhi's G.B. Road - Asia's largest red-light district, housing an estimated 12,000 of India’s three million sex workers – is an unhappy woman these days.
Karina Núñez Rodríguez was only 12 when she was forced into prostitution. Now age 50 and a mother of six, she is an outspoken fighter against sexual exploitation of children and teenagers in Uruguay, a country reluctant to recognise this growing scourge.
María came to Spain from Paraguay to work as a housekeeper in a hotel. But it was a false job promise, and she ended up in a nightclub, where she was forced to work as a prostitute.
The age-old debate over how to regulate sex work has led to a rift between the United Nations and anti-trafficking organisations, which are pressuring the world body to rethink its position following two reports that advocate decriminalising all aspects of prostitution.
Each summer, wealthy male tourists from Gulf Arab states flock to Egypt to escape the oppressive heat of the Arabian Peninsula, taking residence at upscale hotels and rented flats in Cairo and Alexandria. Many come with their families and housekeeping staff, spending their days by the pool, shopping, and frequenting cafes and nightclubs. Others come for a more sinister purpose.
It started for Ruth when she was 12 years old and for Lowyal when she was 13. After being raped by her mother's boyfriend, Ruth ran away from home and was picked up by a pimp, who sold her into prostitution.
The underground sex trade is closer to our everyday world than we may think.
Despite the enormous distance between the two countries, Argentina has become an increasingly frequent destination for migrants from the Dominican Republic, especially women, who are vulnerable to falling prey to sexual exploitation networks.
The story generally begins in Brazil’s hinterland, with a pretty, young woman from a disadvantaged background and with little formal education, who is drawn in by false promises and ends up in a sex trade network that stretches overseas.
Twenty-one-year-old Aisha clings to her two children as she recounts her tale of horror. Growing up in the Somali capital Mogadishu, she fell in love and bore a child out of wedlock four years ago. When her family threatened her life for destroying her ‘honour’, Aisha escaped.
The courtroom broke out in angry shouts and cries when judges in Argentina unexpectedly acquitted 13 defendants accused of kidnapping a young woman and forcing her into prostitution in 2002.