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Sexism courses pervasively through every legal and cultural system humanity is subject to, and thus sex trafficking is not unscathed by the ravages of misogyny. At the core of this crime exists a fundamental issue: pervasive patriarchal and traditional gender roles. Sex trafficking relies on the foundational perception of women as objectified and dehumanized sex objects. Therefore, countries that prioritize women in domestic roles are more likely to source trafficking. Research corroborates this claim, arguing that less developed, wealthy, and politically stable countries often serve as source countries. Thus, despite no legal restrictions against Pakistani women, a rigid conservative culture exposes them to risk of trafficking. Further, international attempts to address trafficking maintain binary and exclusive conceptions of it, often failing to recognize the nuance of these issues. My research intends to address how cultural values, which predominantly prioritize women in traditional domestic roles, fuel sex trafficking, especially the “mail order bride” industry. My research question seeks to address what are the different cultural roles and expectations of women in Pakistan? How do those roles and expectations relate to the public and legal discourse around sex trafficking? Do traditional gender roles increase the likelihood of sex trafficking? To answer these questions, I am researching legal and cultural obstacles that increase the likelihood of sex trafficking, including nuanced scholarly articles that address patriarchy in traditional communities. Despite the reality that legal restrictions against women are declining, cultural and social norms often serve as deciders. Thus, only through actively combating both cultural and legal obstacles will women at last be free from the relentless and suffocating burden of the patriarchy.



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The Deleterious Consequences of Pakistani Patriarchy: Sex Trafficking