Human trafficking for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation (sex trafficking) is universally acknowledged as an abhorrent violation of fundamental human rights; yet the phenomenon continues to be a pervasive problem and is present in all countries, including Canada. The Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the House of Commons Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (the Subcommittee) undertook a study on sex trafficking in South Asia, a region in which sex trafficking is particularly prevalent. The Subcommittee’s study focused on six South Asian countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The purpose of this study was to identify measures to combat sex trafficking that the Government of Canada may incorporate in its initiatives in the region. Witness testimony during the study focused in particular on India, which has the largest number of victims of sex trafficking in South Asia in absolute terms. This fact combined with India’s regional influence makes understanding the Indian experience central to combating sex trafficking in South Asia as a whole. This report begins by relaying witness testimony describing the nature, shape and size of sex trafficking networks, which range in scale from local to national, intraregional and international.
The discussion then turns to select drivers of sex trafficking, including poverty and inequality, culture and social practices, humanitarian crises, public sector corruption and private sector complicity. The report focuses on two particular areas for action: addressing significant information gaps which are currently hindering the global fight against sex trafficking, and identifying potentially fruitful partnerships at the international and national levels, as well as with non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Read the full report here.