The historic summit of world leaders in September 2015 finally culminated in the UN declaration of the 17 SDGs on 1st January 2016. Without any discrimination, these SDGs apply to all the countries of the world. It is envisaged that by 2030, with the collective and individual efforts of all countries, we shall be able to wipe out poverty, do away with inequalities and preserve our environment (1).
The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 10) is about reducing inequality between the countries and within the country (2).
Presently the wealthiest 10% of the human population owns 40% of the wealth, and the poorest 10% owns just 5 -7% of the wealth (3). And this gap is widening with every passing day. The financial inequality is maximum in the Middle East and the least in Europe.
SDG #10 is an attempt to address this disparity. Too much wealth concentrated with few people does not make great sense when fellow human beings die of hunger and poverty.
The financial inequality and poverty lead to very inhuman and deplorable consequences. Some of them are a shame for humanity and goes as;
The World Tourism Organisation, which is a specialised tourism agency of the UN, defines sex tourism as “trips organised from within the tourism sector, or from outside this sector but using its structures and networks, with the primary purpose of effecting a commercial sexual relationship by the tourist with residents at the destination” (5).
We have been living with this menace for quite some time now, but of late it is pitiful to see it developed into a booming trade involving multibillion dollars. Poverty and lack of alternative livelihood have forced a few countries to be labelled as sex tourism destinations. Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, from Southeast Asia, have a significant share of their GDP from sex tourism and associated trades.
To quote an example, around 500,000 tourists visit Thailand for sex, and the sex trade in Thailand is worth a whopping $ 25 billion. It contributes 12% to the GDP of Thailand. The data and findings are a result of research conducted by one of the universities in Thailand. Some 700,000 prostitutes are known to serve the sex industry there (6). And it may be kindly noted that prostitution is illegal in Thailand.
It is not difficult to guess the reasons for prevalence and the thriving sex trade in Thailand. Lack of livelihood, skill development, extreme poverty is the driving force behind this trade. A similar situation prevails in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
And SDG 10 looks at resolving such situations throughout the world.