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Debunking The Myths: Myth #2 – “Webcam Sex Chatting Isn’t Human Trafficking”

It should come as no surprise that there are so many people in Romania and all over the world who aren’t aware that what they refer to as “webcam chatting,” or more commonly, “webcam modeling,” is actually a deceptive and modern form of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. That’s a major aspect of the important mission driving the 9 Months In Romania project forward, teaching the facts. Over the course of this series, Debunking The Myths, we will present you with some of the most common myths surrounding this human rights atrocity and then debunk them by providing you with the facts. So, please, come along with us on this journey toward the truth!

A Definition Is Born

It’s only fair to provide a consistent definition for human trafficking if we are going to accuse an entire industry of participating in the human rights violation, and we will. We will certainly be defining human trafficking herein. Before we do, it should be understood that when we say “defining human trafficking,” we aren’t going to give you a definition that we’ve created for our own purposes. Why would we do that? So you can accuse us of changing the human trafficking narrative to suit our “biased objective,” declaring that this is just “our opinion?” Please. That argument is one that is most-commonly used in an attempt to undermine and devalue the work we are doing through the 9 Months In Romania human rights project and fundraiser. So, save your breath if you are one of these pitiful naysayers, because we aren’t going to provide you with a definition we’ve made up. Instead, we’re going to use the definition that is found in the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

Debunking The Myths: Myth #2 – “Webcam Sex Chatting Isn't Human Trafficking” 1
The United Nations headquarters, located on Manhattan island in New York City, New York, United States.

The protocol in question was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 12 December 2000. It was then put into force on 25 December 2003 (what a wonderful Christmas gift for all of humanity). Now, we realize that many of you are still skeptical about the definition we are going to provide because you take issue with the United Nations for one reason or another. That’s fine! In all honesty, there are those on our team who would probably agree with you on some of those issues. However, we are not merely suggesting that this definition is valid because it comes from the United Nations. If you do a bit of research you’ll discover that when it was adopted in December 2000, it had 117 signatures on it. There are only 195 nations in all of the world! Of that number, 193 are member States of the United Nations, and 117 of them signed the Protocol before it was even voted on. For you number lovers out there, the number of nations who immediately adopted this document account for roughly 61% of the total number of nations in the world and those which make up the United Nations. As of the date this blog article was written, the number of signatures on the Protocol is at 173. That’s roughly 89% of the total number of nations in the world and those which make up the United Nations. And if you are wondering, yes, Romania signed the document as well, on 14 December 2000, and then they ratified it as a nation on 4 December 2002, over a year before the Protocol was even officially put into force. It might also interest you to know that Romania’s good friend and neighbor, Moldova, also signed the document on the same day that it too signed it, and then went on to ratify it as a nation on 16 September 2005. We’re not certain why Moldova took so long to nationally ratify the Protocol, but better late than never! Then again, don’t believe a word we’re saying and do your own research. For the record, here’s where we got our information, directly from the United Nations Treaty Collection website.

Debunking The Myths: Myth #2 – “Webcam Sex Chatting Isn't Human Trafficking” 2
The flags of each of the 193 member States of the United Nations are flown outside of its headquarters as a sign of unity among these nations. (Photo courtesy of freecomputerdesktopwallpaper.com)

We’ve provided you with all of that information just to conclude, once again, that the definition we are going to provide you with for human trafficking is not our own opinion, it’s THE definition of human trafficking, which is accepted and enforced (at least, it’s supposed to be) by a majority (173 or, roughly, 89%) of the world’s nations, and those who are member States of the United Nations.

Defining Human Trafficking

Without further delay, here is the definition of human trafficking found in the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children:

“Trafficking in persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs… The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth [above] shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth [above] have been used.

2000 UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

There are a few things that must be noted about the definition, especially since there seem to be so many misconceptions floating around about what is and is not human trafficking. For starters, many people inaccurately believe that sex trafficking, a specific form of human trafficking, is limited to people, namely females, being violently forced or coerced into sexual activity. However, that is not the case, “sex trafficking is more than just girls chained to beds,” as the saying goes. This is a misconception that many organizations, including The Zoe’s Publishing Foundation, the non-profit organization behind the 9 Months In Romania human rights project and fundraisier, are trying to eliminate. In fact, we recently released an animated meme through our social media channels that illustrates this point. As the official definition points out, trafficking in humans also includes the recruiting, harboring, or receiving of persons by means of fraud, of deception, of taking poor advantage of a person’s position of vulnerability, or of giving or receiving payments or other benefits in order to achieve consent of a person having consent over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. So, you see, it’s not limited to just the very horrible stuff people imagine it to be. It can also include a seemingly less-horrible case of deceiving someone, who may be vulnerable and desperate because of their personal financial situation, into consenting to being knowingly or unknowingly exploited for money or other benefits. This makes things seem a lot less serious. After all, if a woman is of legal age and consents to taking part in the sexual activities that occur during a webcam sex chat session, then she is not a victim of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Right? Wrong! The definition is also very careful to point out, “The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth [above] shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth [above] have been used.” Putting it in simpler terms, as indicated by the U.S. State Department on their web page, Human Trafficking Defined, “[Regarding legal adults] victim consent is irrelevant if one of the Means is employed.” Even if someone is of legal age, and even if they consent to partake in an exploitative activity, such as webcam sex chatting, if they were recruited through means of deceit, fraud, or by taking poor advantage of a state of vulnerability or desperation, such as in connection with their personal financial situation, then human trafficking and sexual exploitation have undeniably taken place, and the individual(s) who facilitated it are guilty of committing a horrible violation against fundamental human rights.

Up Next…

Stay tuned for the next installment of Debunking The Myths, when we’ll consider the claim that webcam sex chatting isn’t sexual exploitation if the performer willingly participates and is compensated for that participation. Thank you for indulging us with your time and attention, and we’ll see you next time!

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As we’ve indicated, it is very important that people are made aware of the truth about webcam sex chatting, and that’s where you can help. Tell your friends, family, and neighbors what you’ve learned here. Share this article with them via your social media profiles, which you can do using the convenient sharing buttons provided within this article. In addition, we encourage you to consider making a minimum donation of $5 USD to the 9 Months In Romania human rights project and fundraiser. Your contribution is vital to the success of our mission to combat the terrible human rights violation known as webcam sex chatting, and we cannot carry out this mission without your generous contributions. Please, donate today! Thank you!

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