The Half The Sky Movement is cutting across platforms to ignite the change needed to put an end to the oppression of women and girls worldwide, the defining issue of our time. Inspired by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book of the same name, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide brings together video, websites, games, blogs and other educational tools to not only raise awareness of women’s issues, but to also provide concrete steps to fight these problems and empower women. Change is possible, and you can be part of the solution.
With millions of women and girls bound in the international sex trade, sex trafficking has earned a fitting epithet: modern-day slavery.
It’s difficult to estimate just how many women and girls are impacted by sex trafficking, in part because you can’t easily divide sex workers into those who are working voluntarily and involuntarily. But in their book Half the Sky, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn estimate that around 3 million women and girls (and a small number of boys) worldwide are currently enslaved in the sex trade — bought, held and forced into commercial sex work against their will. This figure may even be on the conservative side, as it doesn’t account for people who were intimidated into prostitution or the millions more under 18 who can’t consent to working in brothels.
The U.S. State Department’s tally is lower, with estimates that between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year. Eighty percent of those trafficked are women and girls, mostly for sexual exploitation. But these figures overlook the millions more victims who are trafficked annually within their own national borders.
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