Document Type


Publication Date



Arts and Humanities | Business | Ethics and Political Philosophy | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | International Business | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Policy | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Women's Studies


Sanford Moskowitz, Global Business Leadership; Jean Keller, Gender Studies; John Hasselberg, Global Business Leadership


The purpose of this paper is to examine sex trafficking as a profitable, international, and illegal industry. One goal of this paper is to explain what sex trafficking is and how it differs from other industries. Sex trafficking is an underground activity and its growth worldwide since the 1980s has had a destructive impact on global societies and economies. Beyond this, the study wants to show that, aside from moral and socio-cultural implications, that sex trafficking is indeed an industry, with a structure not so different from other industries. Understanding sex trafficking as an industry is critical to understanding how it operates, why it has the impact it has in the world, and what global strategies can be developed to effectively fight it. To do this, the paper shows how the value chain concept, so critical in analyzing other industries, is appropriate to understanding the mechanisms at work in sex trafficking. The study further shows that cultural and social differences play a major role in how the value chain operates within different countries and that these differences must be taken into account and dealt with when governments and public policy strategize ending –or at least easing—the grip of sex trafficking on society. This will be shown by examining the value chains of the United States and India respectively in order to show apparent differences in the regional functioning of sex trafficking.