The victims of the pre-twentieth-century slave trade were largely African. In the twenty-first century, the victims have all sorts of ethnic backgrounds, but most of them are women and girls. The modern slave trade is known as sex trafficking and the victims are tricked or lured into the illegal sex industry, where the owners of clubs, massage parlours and brothels make vast profits. They are moved from country to country, often across continents, to work in forced prostitution.
Writing about this horrible phenomenon poses special difficulties. Traffickers and brothel owners are dangerous people who do not welcome investigations by journalists. The women and girls who are still in the trade are mostly inaccessible, while the ones who have escaped or been rescued are terrified of the consequences of