Sexual Slavery

War, Women and Health


Arcel, Libby Tata, and Marianne C. Kastrup. 2004. “War, Women and Health.” NORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research 12 (1): 40–47. doi:10.1080/08038740410005758.

Authors: Libby Tata Arcel, Marianne C. Kastrup


Wars increasingly target civilian populations and cause severe health problems in those targeted. It also creates a militarization and masculinization of society and exacerbates discrimination against women, for example by intensifying women's exclusion from the public sphere and rendering access to health services more difficult. Sexual violence is a clear example hereof and may take many forms, for example as rape, sexual mutilation, forced abortion, or forced prostitution. The vulnerability of women is related to their social situation as single providers, to their dwelling in refugee camps etc., and their personal security in unsafe settings. All may contribute to an increased risk of abuse with deleterious consequences for their physical and psychological state of health. Physically, this includes complaints of the musculo‐skeletal system, reproductive organs as well as chronic pain conditions. The prevailing psychological manifestations include anxiety, depression, cognitive dysfunction, insomnia and lack of energy. The need for the implementation of international human rights laws is pertinent and provision for protection of the health of women should be guaranteed, including the urgent need for adequate and culturally sensitive care for such women.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Health, Mental Health, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Slavery

Year: 2004

On the Battlefield of Women’s Bodies: An Overview of the Harm of War to Women


Hynes, H. Patricia. 2004. “On the Battlefield of Women’s Bodies: An Overview of the Harm of War to Women.” Women’s Studies International Forum 27 (5–6): 431–45.

Author: H. Patricia Hynes


By the 1990s, 9 of 10 people who died in war from direct and indirect effects were civilians. Bombs and weapons of modern war kill and maim civilian women in equal numbers to civilian men. A unique harm of war for women is the trauma inflicted in military brothels, rape camps, and the growing sex trafficking for prostitution and by increased domestic violence, all of which is fueled by the culture of war, male aggression, and the social and economic ruin left in the wake of war. Widows of war, women victims of landmines, and women refugees of war are particularly vulnerable to poverty, prostitution, the extortion of sex for food by post-war peacekeepers, and higher illness and death in the post-conflict period. While problems exist with definitions and methods of measurement, a full accounting of the harm of war to civilian women is needed in the debate over whether war is justified.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Domestic Violence, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking

Year: 2004

How Conflict and Displacement Fuel Human Trafficking and Abuse of Vulnerable Groups. The Case of Colombia and Opportunities for Real Action and Innovative Solutions


Nagle, Luz Estella. 2013. “How Conflict and Displacement Fuel Human Trafficking and Abuse of Vulnerable Groups. The Case of Colombia and Opportunities for Real Action and Innovative Solutions.” Groningen Journal of International Law 1 (2): 1-53.

Author: Luz Estella Nagle


Disaffected, impoverished, and displaced people in weak and failing states are particularly vulnerable. Human trafficking exploits social and political turmoil caused by natural disasters, economic crisis, and armed conflict. The exploitation and forced servitude of millions of trafficking victims take many forms. Women and children are trafficked into becoming child soldiers and concubines of illegal armed groups, men, women and children are trafficked into forced labor and sexual slavery, forced to sell drugs, steal, and beg money for the criminals controlling them, and thousands are coerced or forced into a growing black market trade in human body parts. The growth in illegal mining operations by illegal armed groups and organized crime is also fueling conditions for forced labor. Trafficking victims are dehumanized and suffer grave physical and mental illness and often die at the hands of their captors and exploiters. Colombia is particularly afflicted by the scourge of human trafficking. All the elements of modern-day slavery and human exploitation are present in this Latin American state that is struggling to overcome decades of internal armed conflict, social fragmentation, poverty, and the constant debilitating presence of organized crime and corruption. Women’s Link Worldwide recently reported that human trafficking is not viewed as an internal problem among Colombian officials, despite estimates that more than 70,000 people are trafficked within Colombia each year. This article examines human trafficking in its many forms in Colombia, the parties involved in trafficking, and the State’s response or lack of response to human trafficking. The article also presents innovations that might be effective for combating human trafficking, and proposes that Colombia can serve as an effective model for other countries to address this growing domestic and international human rights catastrophe.

Keywords: Colombia, human trafficking, trafficking of women and children



“Of the estimated 70,000 Colombian women and children who fall prey to human trafficking each year, many enter one of about 560 trafficking pipelines within Colombia, and about 254 of trafficking pipelines out of Colombia into Ecuador and Venezuela, and into Europe (Spain, Germany and Holland), Asia (China, Japan, and Singapore), North America and Central America, and the Middle East (particularly Jordan and Iran).” (26)

“Coincidentally, [the county/district] Sucumbios encompasses most of the 30 crossing points for weapons smuggling, drug trafficking and human trafficking, and establishes the link between the products trafficked and the routes used to transport different types of illicit goods and trafficking victims.” (28)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Corruption, Displacement & Migration, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Girls, Boys, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2013



Hepburn, Stephanie, and Rita J. Simon. 2013. HUMAN TRAFFICKING AROUND THE WORLD: HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT. New York: Columbia University Press.

Authors: Stephanie Hepburn, Rita J. Simon


An examination of human trafficking around the world including the following countries: United States, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Colombia, Iraq, Syria, Canada, Italy, France, Iran, India, Niger, China, South Africa, Australia, United Kingdom, Chile, Germany, Poland, Mexico, Russia, and Brazil. (WorldCat)


Table of Contents:


Part I: Work Visa Loopholes for Traffickers
1) United States
2) Japan
3) United Arab Emirates

Part II: Stateless Persons
4) Thailand
5) Israel & The Occupied Palestinian Territories

Part III: Unrest, displacement, and Who is in charge
6) Colombia
7) Iraq
8) Syria

Part IV: Conflation
9) Canada

Part V: Conflicting Agendas
10) Italy
11) France

Part VI: Gender Apartheid
12) Iran

Part VII: Social Hierarchy
13) India
14) Niger
15) China

Part VIII: Muti Murder
16) South Africa

Part IX: Hard-to-Prove Criterion and a slap on the wrist
17) Australia
18) United Kingdom
19) Chile
20) Germany

Part X: Transparent borders
21) Poland

Part XI: Fear Factor
22) Mexico

Part XII: Poverty and Economic Boom
23) Russia
24) Brazil


*Each Chapter follows the following format with some variations:

As a destination
Internal trafficking
Trafficking abroad
What happens to victims after trafficking
What happens to traffickers
Internal efforts to decrease trafficking



"Devestation from a natural disaster...creates a sudden high demand for low-wage and largely unskilled labor. Disruption of the traditional labor supply leaves room for illicit contractors to move in, and new workers can be brought in unnoticed." (19)

"There continue to be more criminal convictions of sex traffickers than of forced-labor traffickers [However, this number of individuals victimized by forced labor may be increasing]." (32)

"Many experts state that the yakuza (organized crime) networks play a significant role in the smuggling and subsequent debt bondage of women--particularly women from China, Thailand, and Colombia--for forced prostitution in Japan. Determining the exact extent of yakuza involvement is difficult because of the covert nature of the sex industry. Consequently, the yakuza are able to minimize people's direct knowledge of their involvement...The yakuza networks work with organized crime groups from other nations, such as China, Russia, and Colombia." (49-50)

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Men, Girls, Boys, International Law, International Human Rights, Multi-National Corporations, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Labor Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Africa, West Africa, Americas, Central America, North America, South America, Asia, East Asia, Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Oceania Countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Niger, Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories, Poland, Russian Federation, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America

Year: 2013

Cross-Border Trafficking in Nepal and India—Violating Women’s Rights


Deane, Tameshnie. 2010. “Cross-Border Trafficking in Nepal and India—Violating Women’s Rights.” Human Rights Review 11 (4): 491-513.

Author: Tameshnie Deane


Human trafficking is both a human rights violation and the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. This article examines cross-border trafficking of girls and women in Nepal to India. It gives a brief explanation of what is meant by trafficking and then looks at the reasons behind trafficking. In Nepal, women and children are trafficked internally and to India and the Middle East for commercial sexual exploitation or forced marriage, as well as to India and within the country for involuntary servitude as child workers, domestic servants, circus entertainment, and factory workers. Nepal and India are both signatories to international conventions and bound by domestic law to combat trafficking, and yet, this scourge continues. There are many laws in place, both in Nepal and India, which regulate the trafficking and prostituting of girls and women. This article looks at how effective these laws and regulations actually are and will look at the reasons for the continuation of trafficking. Despite the formal recognition of girl trafficking as a major problem and the existence of laws to curtail it, trafficking continues. The major problem with Nepal’s and India’s domestic laws is in the lack of enforcement. Finally, this article will look at ways to fight trafficking and make the governments of India and Nepal more effective in their fight against trafficking.

Keywords: Trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, slavery, sale of humans, human rights


  • Article is mostly devoted to descriptive coverage of the specific international conventions, international and domestic (Nepal & India) laws, and protocols that relate to trafficking as well as penalties and the failures of the Indian and Nepalese governments to appropriately comply and implement international standards.

Topics: Corruption, Gender, Women, Girls, Governance, Rights, Human Rights, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India, Nepal

Year: 2010

Shan women and girls and the sex industry in South Asia; political causes and human rights implications


Beyrer, Chris. 2001. “Shan women and girls and the sex industry in South Asia; political causes and human rights implications.” Social Science & Medicine 53, 543-50.

Author: Chris Beyrer


The human rights abuses which occur during civil conflicts pose special threats to the health and lives of women. These can include rape, sexual violence, increased vulnerability to trafficking into prostitution, and exposure to HIV infection. The long-standing civil conflict in the Shan States of Burma is investigated as a contributing cause to the trafficking of ethnic Shan women and girls into the Southeast Asian sex industry, and to the subsequent high rates of HIV infection found among these women. The context of chronic human rights abuses in the Shan states is explored, as well as the effects of recent forced population transfers on the part of the Burmese Military Regime. Rights abuses specific to trafficked women may further increase their vulnerability to HIV and other STD. The need for a political resolution to the crisis in Burma is discussed, as are approaches aimed at preventing trafficking, empowering women already in the sex industry, and reducing the risks of HIV and other STD among these women and girls.

Keywords: Shan, Burma, Trafficking, human rights, HIV/AIDS, sex industry



“Given the chronic state of poverty, uncertainty, and threats to life and well-being, it should not be surprising that so many Shans have fled the Shan States, as refugees and as migrant or contracted workers to Thailand. Nor should it be surprising that trafficking networks have developed to move these workers from Shan areas into Thailand and onward to work sites throughout the country. (Beyrer, 1998?) The Thai government’s bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 375,000 Burmese, at least 2/3 of whom are Shans, were working illegally in Thailand in 1997. The Thai government and NGOs all agree however, that the actual figures are much higher, and typical estimates ranged from 900,000 to 1.2 million in 1997. During Thailand’s long economic “boom” period, these workers were tacitly welcomed, and did a significant portion of Thailand’s manual labor, on construction crews, road building, as agricultural and forest workers, and for women, as domestics and in the sex industry. In all of these industries, including sex work, Shan workers are illegal, vulnerable to exploitation, and subject to harassment and arrest by the Thai authorities.” (544-545)

“Although abduction happens, as does outright sale of daughters among the poorest of the poor, the trafficking road usually starts with a job offer. A girl is offered work as a waitress, a domestic, or in manual labor. Her family usually gets some money as an advance payment charged against future labor…This payment is the start of the debt-bondage. There are a limited number of trafficking routes into Thailand and all require bribes along the way. The three principal trafficking routes have been established through interviews with trafficked women. They include the Kengtung-Tachilek-Mae Sai-Chiang Rai route, a river route from eastern Shan State on the Kok river, to Mai Ai at the northern end of Chiang Mai Province, and down to Fang, and a route slightly further south, which crosses from the Shan hills to the Thai Province of Mae Hong Sorn. The bribes required to cross these borders are added to the women’s debt.” (546) 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Gender, Women, Girls, Health, HIV/AIDS, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Myanmar, Thailand

Year: 2001

Women’s International Tribunal on Japanese Military Sexual Slavery


Chinkin, Christine M. 2001. “Women’s International Tribunal on Japanese Military Sexual Slavery.” The American Journal of International Law 95 (2): 335-41. doi:10.2307/2661399.

Author: Christine M. Chinkin

Topics: Gender, Women, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan

Year: 2001

The Transnational Campaign for Redress for Wartime Rape by the Japanese Military: Cases for Survivors in Shanxi Province


Terazawa, Yuki. 2006. “The Transnational Campaign for Redress for Wartime Rape by the Japanese Military: Cases for Survivors in Shanxi Province.” NWSA Journal 18 (3): 133–45.

Author: Yuki Terazawa


This article discusses cases of sexual violence committed by the Japanese Army in China during the Asia-Pacific War and the redress movement for Chinese rape survivors started in the 1990s. I focus particularly on campaigns launched by women in rural Shanxi province in the People's Republic of China. Unlike survivors of wartime rape and sexual slavery by the Japanese Army in other Asian and European nations, Shanxi women had to develop their movement without strong government and grassroots support in their home country. The ambivalent attitude of the Chinese government regarding individual Chinese citizens' demand for redress from the Japanese government and corporations responsible for the wartime atrocities led women in Shanxi and their supporters in the People's Republic of China and Japan to form a remarkable transnational alliance.

Topics: Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Slavery Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: China, Japan

Year: 2006

Deterring and Preventing Rape and Sexual Slavery during Periods of Armed Conflict


Reynolds, Sarnata. 1998. "Deterring and Preventing Rape and Sexual Slavery during Periods of Armed Conflict."  Law and Inequality 16: 601. 

Author: Sarnata Reynolds

Topics: Armed Conflict, International Law, International Criminal Law, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Justice, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Slavery

Year: 1998


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