Is prostitution a choice – or are women and girls lured, and then trafficked into sex for sale?

Is prostitution a choice – or are women and girls lured, and then trafficked into sex for sale?


Humanitarian, Naomi Zacharias has travelled to red light districts around the world. She has a passion to help women and girls who are lured into the sex trade – and those working within it. Naomi is the director of Wellspring International and joins Lorna Dueck to discuss the growing number of people lured into sex trafficking. Naomi also shares what she says are the differences between prostitution by choice or being trafficked into sex for sale. This interview was recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The two issues with trafficking is that there has to be force and coercion, and the second is for the purpose of exploitation. So, that is what defines trafficking. If you are in prostitution by choice, you have to be of age. Nobody who isn’t of age can choose to do it. So it’s automatically considered trafficking if it is a minor. But someone can choose to enter the sex work industry,” said Ms. Zacharias.

Naomi has spent a lot of time with people who have chosen to enter into the sex industry. Lorna asked Naomi the complex question, “what do we need to understand about their dignity?”

“It is so important to uphold the dignity and respect of each individual woman… When I do hear some of their stories and some of things that have happened to them. I have to admit there is part of me that asks, “was there really, truly a free choice in this?” I think some of the things that have happened along the way, that end up getting a person to that place, where they’re making this choice – if we were to know all the details that led them there – I don’t think it’s always as black and white as we would want it to be.”

This interview was recorded prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Naomi Zacharias is the director of Wellspring International

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