The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


The key to ending modern-day slavery of women and girls requires placing further support for education initiatives in origin countries. A pro-education approach has yielded the greatest return. Since the beginning of civilization to the present, people have been trafficked and enslaved. Movements to abolish slavery gained momentum at the beginning of the nineteenth century: Great Britain outlawed slave trading in 1807, the United States abolished slavery in 1865, the League of Nations enacted a treaty calling for the end of slavery in 1926, and the efforts have strengthened in modern times. The United States’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) uses a three-fold approach to sex trafficking: prevention, prosecution, and protection. Despite efforts to increase awareness and criminalize the sex trafficking of women and girls, the United Nations (U.N.) estimates that trafficking for sexually exploitative purposes accounts for 58 percent of global trafficking. The most commonly cited factors for the continuation of sex trafficking of women and girls include endemic poverty and gender inequality. Additionally, lack of education limits women from creating a healthy, positive, and productive life in their community and leaves them with few viable options for their future. Engrained gender roles in origin countries fosters an environment that limits educational opportunities for women and girls. To continue progress in sex trafficking prevention, the United States government must continue its support of education initiatives for women and girls. Failing to strengthen trafficking prevention initiatives involving education is akin to allowing continuance of a modern-day form of slavery.

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