Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Lecture Resources


[Lecture Resources | Resources for Teachers | Country-by-Country Reports ]

Keeping Victims in Line


Brazil - Spain

The Price of a Slave in Brazil

Bernardete Toneto, [originally in Portuguese in the newspaper Brasil de Fato], February 2004

[accessed 16 February 2015]

AN ANIMAL IN A ZOO - Before leaving Brazil, I suspected prostitution but I never imagined that I would be a prisoner, threatened day and night. At the house, we were slaves. I never got anything, not money, not clothes. I didn't have my documents so I couldn't leave. We were given very little food, and we had to stay up until 5 am every day, trying to get customers.

We couldn't even leave the house without being accompanied by "security." One of the girls was threatened with death after she left for a weekend. They thought she went looking for the Brazilian consulate. We never had routine medical exams, much less tests for AIDS.

I fled when I met a Brazilian customer to whom I told my story. It seems that he had contact with other groups because nine days after I told him my story he returned, gave me a false passport and a ticket back to Brazil.  I escaped, but even today I think of my friends there who are being held prisoners, like animals in a zoo.




Human trafficking in Vancouver

Magda Ibrahim, The Westender, Vancouver, B.C., Sep 20 2007

[accessed 26 February 2015]

Women become trapped in sex trade after being lured to city with false promises.  Imagine being beaten, forced into sex work, and told you’ll be killed if you try to escape. The constant threat of violence means you’re too scared to go to the authorities, but even if you did, there’s little chance of retribution for your attacker.  This might sound like something that would happen in a third-world country, or during some bygone era, but it’s happening now in Vancouver, and is a reality for many victims of human trafficking.

“I can’t understand why Canada hasn’t successfully prosecuted a single person for human trafficking when you look at other countries like the U.S., Australia, and the U.K.,” says Perrin. “We’ve made the same commitments and been to the same conferences, but Canada has been all talk and no action. We’re just beginning to turn the corner; we’re where other countries we consider ourselves in the same league as were 10 years ago. We’ve had a decade of inaction on this and it’s allowed traffickers to profit; we need to make it more risky and less profitable for them.”




Damning report on Cyprus flesh trade [PDF]

Jacqueline Theodoulou, Cyprus Mail, December 2, 2007

[accessed 31 January 2011]

Cyprus authorities have again come under the international spotlight for their inability to effectively combat human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women.  Under the headline “The worst record in Europe for human trafficking”, the Financial Times newspaper reported on the problem in Cyprus this week, with statements by a priest from the Russian Church, father Savvas Michaelides.  The cleric claimed that the state was well aware of the sexual exploitation suffered by many women but issued ‘artiste’ entry permits without giving it second thought.

Yelena told the paper that women in the cabaret she worked at were being held hostage and under constant observation by the owner and his men.  She said she had come to Cyprus believing she was going to work in a cafeteria. But upon her arrival, she was taken straight to the cabaret and forced to have sex with customers at a price.  Painting an even grimmer picture, Yelena added that women who resisted their owners’ orders were subjected to threats and even beatings.  Finally, she claimed that the police seemed to be afraid of cabaret owners, which was why the problem was being fixed.




Prostitution in the Land of the Maccabees: Trafficking in Women in Israel

Charlotte Honigman-Smith,, Jewish Family & Life! (JFL), February 1, 2008

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

Today, the prostitute in Tel Aviv is more likely to be named Olga than Rachel, and she's not an Israeli, or in Israel legally. She's one of the more than 2,000 to 2,500 women from former Soviet republics brought into Israel by international traffickers to feed a $450 million-a-year prostitution industry centered around Tel Aviv. The money paid for her body goes to the man she's been sold to. Assault and rape are common ways of keeping "employees'"in line in this business, and the only way a woman will leave Israel's sex industry is if she comes to the attention of the Israeli authorities who will deport her, penniless and traumatized, back to Eastern Europe.




Human trafficking: victim confession to Voice of Russia

Juliet Spare, RUVR Radio Voice of Russia, Jul 6, 2012

[accessed 7 July 2012]

So he took me to a place to work and said that if I ever refused to pay him or did anything wrong he knew where my family lived and my younger brother, who was 13 at the time, would be taken. And that I would never see any of my family ever again. He took me to a lake where he showed me that if I ever did anything wrong that’s where I would end up. My passport was taken and he took everything away from me. The person I thought he was wasn’t him anymore. He became so aggressive; I have never seen anyone act this way. So on the third night I went to work and for six months a continued on working. He took me to south of France to work and then back to Italy. And even in that time he told me never to trust anyone and he would send people as a test. He said never to trust the police and never trust anyone who said they can help me because they won’t.




Spanish police rescue hostage boy

BBC News, 9 June 2006

[accessed 23 December 2010]

Spain has cracked a number of groups smuggling Nigerian women.  Two Nigerian women have been arrested in Spain accused of stealing a child and forcing his mother into prostitution to pay their ransom. The mother, also Nigerian, claims her son was snatched from her shortly after he was born four years ago. She said the women demanded 45,000 euros (£31,000) for his return and threatened her with "voodoo".

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