Corporate executive Kara uses his business background to analyze the global sex-exploitation industry, in an attempt to stir action to eradicate it.
A former investment banker now on the board of the abolitionist organization Free the Slaves, the author inserts into his economic analysis poignant revelations of sex-trade victims and accounts of his personal struggles to find them, talk to them and expose their plight. Beginning in 2000, he traveled within India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Italy, Moldova, Albania, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Mexico and the United States, interviewing sex workers in brothels and shelters, their families, police and attorneys, and even a brothel owner. He opens with an overview of the sex-exploitation industry and a list of the measures that he recommends be taken to do away with it. Each of the subsequent chapters focuses on a region of the globe and includes the disclosures made to him by young girls and women forced into the sex industry, his on-the-spot observations and often hair-raising experiences and his analysis of the structure of sex trafficking in that area. In India, he reports that thousands of young girls are shipped from poor villages in Nepal every year. In Europe, he finds that the trade is largely operated by organized crime, with Italy as the hub. In Eastern Europe, he cites governmental, judicial and law-enforcement corruption as the biggest hurdle to stopping the industry. The final chapter argues that longstanding global socioeconomic factors, such as extreme poverty and bias against women and ethnic minorities, determine the supply side of the industry. Therefore, he concludes, the short-term approach to abolition should focus on disrupting demand by raising the economic cost of being caught. Appendices cover other forms of slavery, such as bonded labor, and the specific economics of sex-slave establishments in various parts of the world.
Fueled by the author’s outrage, the personal passages come alive, but they’re buried in a mass of data more suited to an economics textbook.