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Sex trafficking or slavery is primarily the exploitation of women and children, within national or across international borders, for the purposes of forced sex work. Commercial sexual exploitation includes pornography, prostitution and sex trafficking of women and girls, and is characterized by the exploitation of a human being in exchange for goods or money. Each year, an estimated 800,000 women and children are trafficked across international borders – though additional numbers of women and girls are trafficked within countries.
Some sex trafficking is highly visible, such as street prostitution. But many trafficking victims remain unseen, operating out of unmarked brothels in unsuspecting – and sometimes suburban – neighbourhoods. Sex traffickers may also operate out of a variety of public and private locations, such as massage parlours, nail parlours, spas and strip clubs. Adult women make up the largest group of sex trafficking victims, followed by girl children, although a small percentage of men and boys are trafficked into the sex industry as well.