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Prostitution and Sex Slavery

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

I am baffled by the number of men who responded to blogs posted on this website on the issue of prostitution. What I find baffling is the belief among some of the responders that  prostitutes are willing sex workers who choose this trade in order to earn a good living.  These responders have written that the real problem is sexual repression in the western world, particularly the United States. Blame is also placed on women who selfishly withhold sex from men, whether they are married or not. In all, the conclusion they come to is that they have no other choice than to go to prostitutes who are choosing to sell their favors to earn a living. One individual even insists that it’s totally different in Brazil where men frequent prostitutes, who also do it by choice and after they earn enough money, they leave the profession and marry.

The problem with this issue, as well as many others, is that it is never safe to generalize about everyone. There is some truth in all of these statements. However, on closer inspection, the overwheling evidence is that modern day prostitution is a lurid and dark affair that permanently traumatizes and harms women, beginning when they are young and continuing into adulthood.

In point of fact, the grim reality is that there is a lively sex slave trade involving the kidnapping and selling of young girls, as young as 6 and 7 years old, for purposes of pedophilia and prostitution. This fact involves all continents and nations.

Writing from Cambodia, Nicholas Kristof, a journalist for the New York Times, wrote an article entitled, “Prostitution, The Face of Modern Slavery.” It was published on Monday, November 21, 2011, and can be read in its entirety at:

Here is an excerpt from the Kristof article:

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia

“When I write about human trafficking as a modern form of slavery, people sometimes tune out as their eyes glaze over. So, Glazed Eyes, meet Srey Pov.

She’s a tough interview because she breaks down as she recalls her life in a Cambodian brothel, and pretty soon my eyes are welling up, too.

Srey Pov’s family sold her to a brothel when she was 6 years old. She was unaware of sex but soon found out: A Western pedophile purchased her virginity, she said, and the brothel tied her naked and spread-eagled on a bed so that he could rape her…

…Customers are, of course, the reason trafficking continues, and many of them honestly think that the girls are in the brothels voluntarily…

She said, ‘We smile on the outside, but inside we are crying.'”

By reading the entire article you get to see how horrifying the entire thing really is.

In case you think it doesn’t happen close to home, girls and young women are sent to brothels in the United States and elsewhere, meaning that this is not restricted to Cambodia or any other single nation the girls come from.

Additional reports about these horrors can be found at PBS (National Public Broadcasting), at this URL:

In Brazil there is alarm on the part of the government at the extent to which prostitution is growing, as well as how often it includes youngsters. The URL for this report can be found at:

My purpose in writing this article is to wake people up to the despicable, criminal and dehumanizing nature of this international problem. Denial is a powerful force in the human psyche. It helps prevent us from seeing and perceiving things that, if we did allow ourselves to understand, would cause us terribly bad feelings.  I feel it’s important to point out that discussing this problem has nothing to do with sexual repression in any part of the world. This has nothing to do with issues such as legaling prostitution, sexual morality, or religious attitudes toward sex. It has to do with the bitter truth that, in this day and age with all of our technology and information, people continue to buy and sell human beings.

Perhaps there are some sohphisticated women who use very high priced prostitution to become wealthy. Perhaps some of them can be referred to as “sex workers.” By and large this is not true and, in reality, there is nothing innocent or harmless about the problem.

What I am urging is that those men who frequent prostitutes do so with eyes wide open to what may be happening behind the scenes. One hopes they will find other, healthier outlets for their sexuality.

Think about it. Would you want your sister, daughter or mother sold into slavery?

Your comments and questions are encouraged.

Keep Reading By Author Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.
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