KASAMA Vol. 18 No. 1 / January-February-March 2004 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

HUMAN TRAFFIC: Sex, Slaves & Immigration

by Craig McGill, Vision Paperbacks, London (2003)

Craig McGill's journalistic style of storytelling is smooth and makes for easy reading and quick comprehension of an issue some politicians have either buried in the 'too hard' basket or consigned to a 'vote-catcher' analysis. Without resorting to melodrama or sensationalism, McGill brings to attention the hardship, the desperation, the terror in the lives of his subjects who are trapped in the business of trafficking in human beings. In researching Human Traffic, his skills as an investigative reporter served him well.

'Many Countries, One Problem: Tales of the Sex Slaves' is one of a dozen chapters in Human Traffic. Here we have the story of 24 year-old Sasha who travelled from the Ukraine with nine other young women thinking they were going to Belgium to be trained as dancers for a glamorous new dance troupe. Arriving in Brussels they soon discovered they'd been brought to work as prostitutes and, "Three years on, the only dancing she was doing was to the tune of her pimp."

The second half of this chapter is Anita's story. At 28, she was abducted and taken to India. She eventually escaped from the brothel where she was imprisoned and told her story to the police. The brothel was raided and the women freed. Anita was returned to her family home in Nepal, but she was scorned by the people of her village who would not accept her back into the community. She now lives in the city of Kathmandu separated from her children who are in the care of her husband and his new wife.

Sasha and Anita's stories are typical of the many women who are victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual servitude. McGill reports that "worldwide, up to 1 million women may have been taken or lured across the globe to be used as sex pawns for gangsters."

SHIFTING THE BLAME: A Primer on Prostitution Policies

SALIGAN and CATW-AP, Philippines, (2002)


The lives of 8 Filipino survivors of prostitution & sex trafficking

edited by Flor Caagusan, WEDPRO Inc, Quezon City, 2nd edition (2001)

"Unlike romantic fiction with a clear-cut beginning-middle-happy ending, these stories end somewhere along the women's journey from hell to healing."

Thanks to the authors and publishers for donating a review copy of these titles to the CPCA library