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The Dynamics of Sex Trafficking: Victims, Perpetrators, Solutions


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Title: The Dynamics of Sex Trafficking: Victims, Perpetrators, Solutions

The Dynamics of Sex Trafficking Victims,
Perpetrators, Solutions
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
Prostitution Sex Trafficking Dignity
House October 5, 2006
Donna M. Hughes, PhD Professor Carlson Endowed
Chair Womens Studies Program University of Rhode
The Trade in Women and Children
  • Based on supply and demand from sending and
    receiving countries, regions, or cities

Supply of Victims
  • Sending/Source countries, regions, or cities
  • Kidnapping and raids during armed conflict
  • Traffickers target cities, regions based on the
    ease of recruiting/capturing victims

Lords Resistance Army Uganda Pader, giugno 2005
- Centro di riabilitazione per l'accogllienza di
vittime del conflitto - Disegni di bambini - (c)
Supply of Victims
  • Easy recruitment of women and girls
  • Poverty
  • Unemployment
  • War
  • Lack of opportunity or a promising future
  • Love and security
  • Eager for Western lifestyle

Domestic Victims in the U.S.
  • 25 grew up without a mother in the house
  • 59 grew up without a father in the house
  • 40 someone died in their home while they were
    growing up
  • 22 the person who raised them leave for more
    than one year
  • 33 someone in the household incarcerated

Domestic Victims in the U.S.
  • 27 someone in the home had a major illness or
  • 62 someone in the home was frequently hit,
    slapped, pushed
  • 40 someone in the home was kicked, beaten,
    raped, threatened and/or attacked with a weapon

Domestic Victims in the U.S.
  • 83 drug or alcohol abuse in home
  • 86 used drugs or alcohol themselves
  • 56 ran away from home at least once, mean age 13
  • 28 were told to leave home by parent or
    guardian, mean age 15

Domestic Victims in the U.S.
  • 33 someone in home in prostitution regularly
  • 71 people in the neighborhood or friends in
    prostitution regularly
  • 71 someone suggested to them they should become
    a prostitute

Domestic Victims in the U.S.
  • 65 - 80 victims of child sexual abuse, rape, or
  • 50 - 75 victims of physical abuse as a child

Memories of a Child Prostitute, Judith
Schaechter, 1994
Recruiting the Supply of Victims from Abroad
  • Offers for jobs abroad
  • Friend, family member, boyfriend or
  • Operate though employment and tour agencies
  • Previous trafficked woman return to recruit new
  • Marriage agencies
  • Most crucial factor Activity of traffickers
  • Traffickers take advantage of poverty and desire
    for a better future

Recruiting the Supply of Domestic Victims
  • Pimps prey on emotionally vulnerable girls
  • Groom girls with attention, gifts, and
  • Give them drugs, alcohol
  • Create an emotional bonding/loyalty
  • Become violent when girls resist

The Demand Side of Sex Trafficking
  • Receiving/destination countries, regions, cities
  • Legal or tolerated sex industries and
  • Sex trafficking process begins with the demand
    for victims
  • Few women will enter prostitution if they have
    other choices
  • Pimps cannot recruit enough local women

Political Criminal Nexus
  • Extends from the highest levels of government to
    lowliest criminals
  • Government officials, law enforcement personnel,
    legal and illegal businesses, individual
    criminals, organized crime groups, foreign
    governments, nongovernmental organizations

The Global Sex Trade
  • Turnover of victims is high
  • Steady supply of victims needed

Demand for Victims
  • Victims have a limited useful life
  • Poor physical health disease, infection, or
    injury emotional collapse addiction

St. Petersburg Florida Police Department
Demand for Victims
  • Victims are murdered

Tiffany Mason, San Francisco, murdered by john
at age 15 (August 2001)
The Global Sex Trade
  • Victims are deported

Nigerian deportees from Italy
Demand for Victims
  • Victims are lost due to illness, loss of
    appearance, and death from AIDS
  • Mortality rate is 40 times that of persons of
    similar age and race

Myrna Balk
Ador , 23, Akha Hill tribe in Thailand
Demand Factors
  • 1) Men who purchase sex acts
  • 2) Exploiters who make up sex industry and
    supporting services Profiteers
  • 3) States (countries) that profit, particularly
    the destination countries
  • 4) Culture that glamorizes, eroticizes
    romanticizes the sex trade

Men Who Purchase Sex Acts
  • Usually faceless and nameless
  • The ultimate consumers of trafficked women and
  • Many myths about men who buy sex acts
  • They are seeking sex without relationship
  • They do not respect women
  • Seeking power and control over those they
    purchase for a short time

The Exploiters
  • Traffickers, pimps, brothel owners, mafia
    members, corrupt officials, support services
    hotels, taxi drivers
  • They make money from the sale of sex acts,
    providing rooms, transportation, services
  • Can be a significant part of the tourist industry
    of a country

The Business of Trafficking
  • Goal is to make money
  • Low risk, high profit enterprise
  • Criminal penalties are relatively low compared to
    the amount of profit made and the harm done to

Profit from the Global Sex Trade
  • 75,000 to 250,000 per victim/year (INTERPOL)

Profit from the Sex Trade Southeast Asia
  • Thailand Estimated income from prostitution from
    1993 to 1995 was 22.5 billion - 27 billion/year
  • Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines 2
    14 of the Gross Domestic Product

Profit from the Global Sex Trade - Japan
  • Japan 10,000bn (US83 billion/year
  • Estimated 150,000 foreign women in the sex
  • Many trafficked from the Philippines, Korea,
    Russia, and Latin America

Hostess Clubs
Profit from the Sex Trade - Germany
  • Germany Annual turnover of 14 billion (US18
  • Estimated 400,000 women serve 1.2 million men a
  • Majority is trafficked from Eastern Europe

Berlin Window Brothels
Profit from Domestic Sex Trafficking
  • 2002, Oakland, California
  • 218 minors prostituted by 155 pimps
  • Girls were 11-15 years old
  • Quota of 500 a day
  • 218 girls multiplied by 330 days a year at
    500/day 35,970,000/year
  • - Oakland fights to turn tide of rising child
    prostitution, Oakland Tribune, July 31, 2004

The State
  • By tolerating or legalizing prostitution, the
    state helps create a demand for victims
  • Thailand and the Netherlands sex tourist
  • Some governments tax sex businesses to make money
    from it, i.e. Germany
  • Strategies are created to protect sex industry
  • Canadian exotic dancer visa

The Culture
  • Culture, mass media play a role in normalizing

The Culture
  • Pimp culture in music video
  • Pimp celebrities

The Culture
  • Internet increased availability and amount of
    pornography, marketing of prostitution, online
    live sex shows

Approaches to Prostitution Impact on Sex
Is Prostitution Harmful?
  • No View of those who support legalization or
  • Oppose forced prostitution only
  • Yes View of those who see prostitution as form
    of violence against women, abolitionists, Bush
  • inherently harmful and dehumanizing

Trafficking Prostitution Are They Linked?
  • No View of those who support legalization or
    decriminalization, Clinton administration
  • Yes View of those who see both prostitution and
    trafficking as form of violence against women,
    abolitionists, Bush administration
  • Prostitution and related activities…contribute
    to the phenomenon of trafficking in persons

Approaches to Prostitution
  • Four approaches to prostitution
  • Prohibition
  • Regulation
  • Decriminalization
  • Abolition

  • Prostitution is a criminal activity vice
  • All activities are criminalized soliciting,
    procuring, pimping, and brothel keeping
  • All persons engaged in these activities are

Russian women
Prohibition, cont.
  • Prohibition in practice
  • Prohibition in law, but tolerance in practice
  • Gender neutral laws, but women arrested the
    majority of the time
  • Children are arrested treated like criminals
  • Less than 1 of arrests are pimps, brothel
    keepers, traffickers

  • Prostitution is legalized
  • Redefined as sex work
  • Regulations control when, where, and how of
    sexual services

  • The state collects tax revenue
  • State approach in the Netherlands, Germany, and
    some states of Australia
  • Counties in Nevada

Regulation/Legalization, cont.
  • Redefinition
  • Prostitutes sex workers
  • Purchasers of sex acts clients
  • Pimps managers
  • Brothel owners business people
  • Traffickers employment or travel agents who
    assist migrant sex workers

Results of Legalization
  • The Netherlands illegal prostitution went
    underground, expanded
  • In Germany criminals have not been turned into
    tax payers
  • Big profits for exploiters
  • Organized crime activity continued
  • No reduction in prostitution or trafficking

  • All laws and regulations concerning prostitution
    are removed
  • Most popular approach supported by sex work
  • In reality A transition to regulation or
  • New Zealand

Tolerance, Decriminalization Legalization
  • Legitimizes prostitution and the sex trade
    allowed to advertise, grow, expand, market their
  • Creates a demand for victims
  • Legal sex trade increases illegal sex trade, i.e.
    the Netherlands, Australia

  • Prostitution a harmful activity
  • Distinction is made between victims and

  • Persons used in prostitution or sex trafficking
    are victims offered services
  • Johns, pimps, brothel keepers traffickers are
    perpetrators criminalized

Swedish Abolitionist Law, 1999
  • Redefined prostitution as a form of violence
    against women
  • …one of the most serious expressions of the
    oppression of discrimination against women
  • Purchasing a sex act became a crime
  • Disruptive effect on men seeking to buy sex acts
  • Reduced street prostitution by 80 percent

US Trafficking Victims Protection Acts
  • Federal laws passed in 2000, 2003, 2005
  • Supported by broad coalition of feminists,
    conservatives and faith-based groups
  • Victim-centered approach
  • Opposed by those who wanted to regulate
    trafficking and legalize prostitution

Abolition National Philosophy
  • Sweden Prostitution is seen as a form of
    violence against women (1999, Redefined
  • US at Federal level (TVPA 2000) Sex trafficking
    of minor or using force, fraud, coercion is a
    form of slavery
  • Different conceptualizations violence against
    women or slavery -- but the impact is similar

U.S. Government Action
  • 2001-2005 DOJ opened 480 new investigations
  • Assisted 766 victims remain in US to assist with
    law enforcement efforts continued presence
  • 926 victims from 55 countries eligible for
    benefits under TVPA 2000
  • Unaccompanied minors
  • Already have legal status
  • Self petitioners

U.S. Policy on Prostitution
  • Congress voted to deny funding to groups that
    advocate for the legalization or regulation of
    prostitution or support prostitution as a
    legitimate form of work for women
  • Bush administration supported enacted this

U.S. Government Action
  • March 2001 AG Ashcroft made trafficking a top
    civil rights priority
  • 2002 President Bush signed NSPD made combating
    trafficking a priority for all governmental
  • 20012005 DOJ prosecuted 287 traffickers
  • A 260 increase - 1996-2000 80 prosecutions
  • 228 traffickers charged with sex trafficking

Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization
Act 2005
  • Passed unanimously by U.S. House and Senate, Dec
    22, 2005
  • Signed into law by President Bush, Jan 10, 2006

Deborah Pryce, Sam Brownback, George Bush, Chris
Smith, Carolyn Maloney
TVPRA 2005, Title II
  • Combating Domestic Trafficking in Persons
    provides funding for research, conferences, and
    programs relating to sex trafficking as defined
    in the TVPA 2000, not just severe form of
    trafficking involving commercial sex acts
  • Provides funds to local and state authorities to
    enforce anti-pimping, pandering, procuring laws.
    These laws do not require force, fraud, coercion

Future Work of Abolitionist Approach
  • Distinguish between victims and perpetrators
  • Reduce demand factors
  • Criminalize and penalize the demand purchasers
    of sex acts exploiters
  • Eliminate state practices that facilitate
  • Education and awareness for cultural change
  • Increase awareness of harm caused by prostitution
    and sex trafficking
  • Men who purchase sex acts
  • Pimps, traffickers states who profit

Global Abolitionist Movement
  • Abolitionist movement growing around the world
  • Feminist issue
  • Human rights struggle of our time

Surviving Sexual Slavery
It is no small achievement to survive sexual
slavery. Survivors are split into pieces,
fragmented, broken, filled with despair, pain,
rage, and sorrow. We have been hurt beyond belief
… But we endure. We survive …We stay alive
because we are women in search of our lives we
are women in search of freedom - Christine
Grussendorf, 1997
Contact Details
  • Donna M. Hughes
  • 316 Eleanor Roosevelt Hall
  • University of Rhode Island
  • http//