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Sex Trafficking

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The selected article is from The Wall Street Journal. It pertains to Ghislaine Maxwell’s (G.M.) case and her role in selecting vulnerable, underage girls to provide sexualized massages and become victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s network of sex trafficking. In 2022, G.M. was found guilty of the counts she faced for participating in sex trafficking and was sentenced to 20 years. The article mentions how G.M., of French descent, had a difficult childhood associated with paternal physical abuse. Mrs. Maxwell’s actions were qualified as indifferent to other people’s suffering

Sex Trafficking

Sex trafficking is considered one type of human trafficking involving coercion, fraud, or force to engage a person in commercial sex, such as prostitution, pornography, and other sexual services. The involvement of minors in commercial sex is considered a crime . According to , 70% of victims of sexual slavery remain in the same country where they live, of which one in four are children.

The Office of Justice Programs (2011) reported that victims of sex trafficking were mostly white or black, 26 and 40%, respectively. In the United States, over half of the sex trafficking cases in 2018 involved children . The human trafficking mapping project in Texas identified approximately 79,618 victims of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST), these are American citizens under the age of 18 that are involved in commercialized sex. A total of $83,125 per child was estimated to be the lifetime cost of a victim of DMST for the State of Texas; these included mental and physical health care costs, foster care, and other expenses .

Social determinants of health (SDOH) are nonmedical factors that impact a person’s health and quality of life . SDOH pertinent to sex trafficking are low socioeconomic status and being part of a sexual minority. For example, LGBTQ persons experience increased rates of unstable housing, substance abuse, mental health issues, and physical or sexual abuse. Subsequently, LGBTQ that are also homeless experienced increased rates of sexual trafficking .

Social justice is the view of equal rights and opportunities for all, including the right to good health (American Public Health Association, n.d). Eighty-seven percent of survivors of sex trafficking reported having an encounter with a healthcare provider who failed to recognize them as a sufferer. Nursing is an act of social justice. Hence, the importance of nurses’ role in preventing the humanitarian crisis of sex trafficking independent of their level of education .

One of the sustainable development goals of the World Health Organization is to end abuse, exploitation, and all forms of trafficking. However, it also mentions that clinicians have recognized their need for more training on appropriately identifying and treating trafficked patients.


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