Protection from sexual slavery

There is a strong need to improve international protection against sexual slavery, according to Christina Akrivopoulou of the Greek Refugee Appeals Authority writing in the International Journal of Human Rights and Constitutional Studies.

Sexual violence against women reflects one of the most serious systematic in character human rights violations that have marked both the 20th and the 21st century. Akrivopoulou discusses the problem of sexual slavery from the idea of “comfort women” during World War II to the trafficking of sexual slaves today in the context of a special issue of the journal. She suggests that the trapping and raping of hundreds of thousands of females during WWII represents the origin of the modern sexual slave trade. She points out that no apology nor reparation has ever been given from that notorious period of history. At the same time concentrations camps and military brothels represented sites of similar atrocities.

“It is estimated by the United Nations in its Global Report on Trafficking in Persons of 2012 that 2,400,000 are considered to be the victims of trafficking at any given moment,” explains Akrivopoulou. “Sex trafficking,” she adds, “can be divided in various subcategories, such as sex tourism, domestic minor sex trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation of children and prostitution whereas also forced marriages are a form of sexual slavery.”

The roots of sexual slavery lie in socio-economic and political factors in the countries of origins of the victims, cultural discrimination against women and children, lack of information, poverty and survival. However, the solution lies in encouraging the national and international communities to address the problem more directly with more fitting punishments for the perpetrators and raising awareness of the issues among the public and those other than the traffickers who are part of the problem to improve prevention. In the context of such reparations should be made to the survivors among those exploited in WWII as “comfort women”, Akrivopoulou suggests. “Sexual slavery is an atrocity against any nation and the international community should take immediate action,” Akrivopoulou urges.

Dr Akrivopoulou holds the post of Committee President in the Greek Refugee Appeals Authority in Athens and is a specialist in human and constitutional rights, the protection of the right to privacy, data protection, the private-public distinction, asylum and citizenship.

Christina M. Akrivopoulou (2016) ‘Editorial: From World War II sexual slavery to 21st century sexual trafficking: the need for enhanced international protection against sexual slavery’, Int. J. Human Rights and Constitutional Studies, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp 93-94.

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.