Sexual exploitation across the globe

Human trafficking ranks third among illegal businesses in terms of generated income, following arms and drugs trafficking with an annual income of approximately $ 32 billion. It is the world’s fastest growing crime and occurs in most of the world’s countries. According to the UN, citizens of 152 different states were identified as victims in 124 countries. Each year around 2 million people fall victim to this crime, of whom one-third are children.

 

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Prostitution in the Czech Republic

After 1989, the Czech Republic became known for its widespread prostitution, mainly on the borders with Germany and Austria. Due to political changes and the Czech Republic’s membership of the EU in 2004, street prostitution seemed to decrease rapidly. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that the Czech Republic is free from sexual exploitation. According to the Global Slavery Index 2018, about 31,000 people in the Czech Republic are considered oppressed or exploited. The number of sexually exploited people is between 13,000 to 20,000. Nowadays, prostitution primarily takes place in night clubs or private apartments, and there is still a remarkably high number of women and children that offer sex along secondary roads in the border area with Germany. The Czech law is very flexible when it comes to sexual exploitation and does not provide any organized protection for prostituted women. Attempts to regulate prostitution have failed over the past years, giving this industry the ideal opportunity to thrive right in the heart of Europe!

The Czech porn industry

Due to the global crisis that has affected the world since March 2020, a lot of sexual exploitation has moved to the online world of pornography. For over two decades the Czech Republic is well-known for its remarkably advanced digital infrastructure. This has encouraged approximately 12% of the world’s porn stars take up residence within its borders of which the majority is Czech. No wonder that the Czech porn industry generates an estimation of about two billion euros a year, making up 1% of the Czech GDP. Under the umbrella of Web Group Czech Republic (WGCZ) a lot of pornographic websites are joined who together attract approximately 300 million people per day. The Czech porn industry has faced some backlash over the past years as many of its websites allow the streaming and sharing of pornographic videos depicting sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and minors. A petition against Pornhub gathered more than 1 million signatures from more than 192 countries in 2020 and Xvideos has been severely investigated by the Czech authorities in 2021.

Combating sexual exploitation in the Czech Republic

The first stories of combating sexual exploitation in the Czech Republic go back to the Middle Ages. The Catholic priest John Milíč of Kroměříž was an influential speaker during the Bohemian Reformation in the 14th century. His sermons encouraged many prostituted women who worked in Prague to start a new life. His work supported about two hundred former prostitutes, helping them start a new life. Currently, sexual exploitation is a matter of minor importance in Czech politics. The Czech government just barely fulfills the requirements of the European Union regarding this matter. The organizations La Strada International, Rozkoš bez Rizika (Bliss without Risk) as well as the Magdala project from the Catholic Church carry out most of the care for sexual exploited women. None of these organizations offer long term care.