Tag archives: Human Trafficking

Women Deserve Better (Part 4): Legitimizing Prostitution Will Not Make It Safer

by Patrina Mosley

October 17, 2019

This is Part 4 of a series on prostitution. Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Sex work” advocates say that legalization would make prostitution safer and healthier because states could require sex workers and buyers to use condoms and get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They believe that criminalizing the act of selling sex only increases stigma and causes sex workers to avoid sexual health services.

These “sex work” advocates misplace the application of justice—they are more preoccupied with overcoming stigma than with alleviating exploitation. The evidence clearly demonstrates that, contrary to what they argue, legalizing prostitution would not make those caught up in prostitution healthier or safer. The only parties who would stand to benefit are the exploiters who buy and sell human beings.

There is no reason to believe that decriminalizing prostitution would result in better sexual health. Having multiple sexual partners is not criminalized, yet STD cases are at an all-time high, according to the latest Center For Disease Control report. Undoing criminal penalties for selling sex will not reduce STDs or make persons in prostitution any healthier than those within the 2.4 million cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia recently—only abstinence and keeping sex within the confines of a committed marriage will do this. Imagine what the STD rate would be if the sex trade is legalized and new clients enter a market in which bans are lifted? A 2018 study surveyed 8,000 American men and found that over 20 percent of respondents who had never bought sex before said that they would if it was decriminalized or legalized.

Legalizing prostitution with the requirement of wearing condoms has not proven to increase the safety of persons caught up in prostitution. One study of Australian communities with legalized or fully-decriminalized brothel-based prostitution reveals that sex buyers still encourage one another, and pressure prostituted persons, to not use condoms. The study notes:

Sex buyers frame unsafe sex practices as both an expected part of the sexual encounter and as a feature of the brothel experience that women are expected to be comfortable with and acquiesce to [emphasis added]. When women are reported as showing signs that they are uncomfortable about unprotected sex, or require more payment to perform it, punters construct the experience in negative terms.

Requirements placed on exploiters (brothel owners, pimps, and traffickers) and persons caught up in prostitution would only protect the consumers, not the victims who will encounter buyers with pre-existing STDs and/or other health hazards. To think that exploiters would be transformed into law-abiding entrepreneurs complying with inspections and regulations—especially when it impedes the ability to increase profit—is dangerously naive.

An extensive evaluation of the legalization of prostitution in the Netherlands was coordinated by the Dutch Ministry of Justice. They found that licensed brothels did not welcome frequent regulatory inspections. And the Netherlands, which has some of the most liberal prostitution laws in the world, is viewed as the country “where anything goes with regard to prostitution” (pg.12)! The Netherlands is also well known for the facilitation of human trafficking. Because of the general unwillingness to comply with even liberal restrictions, the Dutch police has had to dedicate an entire unit just for inspection enforcements. “The feeling in the prostitution sector is that licensed businesses are inspected more often than non-licensed businesses. This situation undermines the willingness of owners of licensed businesses to adhere to the rules and complicates the combat against trafficking in human beings” (pg. 11).

Even countries like New Zealand must acknowledge that their decision to decriminalize prostitution did not improve “working conditions” for prostituted persons: “New Zealand’s Prostitution Law Review Committee found that a majority of prostituted persons felt that the decriminalization act “could do little about violence that occurred” (pg. 14). The Committee further reported that abusive brothels did not improve conditions for prostituted individuals; the brothels that ‘had unfair management practices continued with them’ even after the decriminalization.”

Decriminalizing or legalizing prostitution would not make those caught up in prostitution healthier or safer. It would only benefit the exploiters and make the state a collaborator in the exploitation of women and children. Such policies say to pimps and traffickers, “We’ve got your back” and to victims, “Good luck out there!” Laws are inherently meant to discourage certain types of behavior, and good laws promote the right types of behavior. Enabling organized sexual exploitation only succeeds in inviting more crime and exploitation in other forms, devaluing women and children, and legitimizing the buying and selling of human beings for pleasure.

Stay tuned for Part 5, which will take a more in-depth look at the path forward for going after the perpetrators of sexual exploitation.

Reduce the Demand for Sex Trafficking by Going After the Buyers

by Patrina Mosley

September 20, 2019

Recently, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) introduced the bipartisan Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Act, which would amend the minimum standards of combatting sex trafficking (contained in the current Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000) to include language prohibiting the purchase of sex.

This change would specifically target the buyers of sex. As Demand Abolition, a research organization dedicated to eradicating the commercial sex industry, puts it, “[s]ex buyers drive the illegal sex trade. Without their money, pimps and traffickers have zero incentives. No buyers = no business.” Demand Abolition’s research Who Buys Sex? found that U.S. sex buyers spend more than $100 per transaction on average.

As stated in the bill’s findings, “[r]esearch has shown that legal prostitution increases the demand for prostituted persons and thus increases the market for sex. As a result, there is a significant increase in instances of human trafficking.”

Thus, the bill declares that “if a government has the authority to prohibit the purchase of commercial sex acts but fails to do so, it shall be deemed to have failed to make serious and sustained efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.”

Passage of this bill would be an excellent step towards curbing the demand for paid sex. By making the purchase of sex acts illegal, it would implement a part of the Nordic model of combating commercial sexual exploitation. This model has proved successful in countries such as Sweden (which pioneered the model), Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Canada, France, Ireland, and most recently, Israel. One of the model’s aims is to change the culture’s perception of certain behaviors and actions as unacceptable. Buying human beings is one such behavior the model discourages, and it does so by creating criminal sanctions for the buying of human beings.

You can check out my previous blog, How Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Are Inseparably Linked, for more information on what research has shown us on this subject. The Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Act references a key piece of research that analyzed 150 countries and found that, on average, countries with legal prostitution experienced higher reports of human trafficking.

Efforts to combat sex trafficking should combine with efforts to combat prostitution. Both are businesses that profit through the buying and selling of human beings for sex. The Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Act is a crucial step in positively shaping our country’s culture and re-affirming the human dignity of women, boys, and girls who are being bought and sold.

Backpage’s (Rightful) Front Page Humiliation

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 17, 2016

This afternoon, the U.S. Senate voted “to hold the classified advertising website Backpage.com in civil contempt for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena into how it screens ads for possible sex trafficking. The vote was 96-0.” The vote will force Backpage to cooperate with a previously-issued Senate panel subpoena and account for its facilitation of sex trafficking.

The issue at stake is nothing less than basic decency and the commodification of human lives – in many cases, teenagers and even small children. As Senate Majority Leader McConnell said today on the floor of the Upper Chamber: “The Homeland Security Committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations … probe has revealed how trafficking has flourished in the age of the Internet. It’s also revealed how many cases of sex-trafficking — including cases involving children — have been linked to one website in particular: Backpage.com. One national group that tracks the issue has told the subcommittee this: nearly three-quarters of all suspected child-sex trafficking reports it receives from the public through its tip line have a connection to Backpage.”

As Portman and McCaskill said in a joint statement, “Backpage.com’s ongoing obstruction of this investigation will not be tolerated. Our goal is to uncover how sex traffickers get away with selling countless victims through online black markets, so that Congress can devise legislation to more effectively combat this heart-breaking crime … With estimated annual revenues of more than $150 million, Backpage is a market leader in commercial-sex advertising and has been linked to hundreds of reported cases of sex trafficking, including trafficking of children. In a bipartisan staff report issued two months ago, the Subcommittee revealed evidence that Backpage has had a practice of editing advertisements before they are posted by deleting certain words and phrases, which likely served to conceal illegality. The subpoena seeks more information about that practice, but Backpage has refused to turn over documents.”

Now a day of reckoning will come. All decent people can look forward to it, not just so that Backpage will be held up to the public disdain it deserves but so that, through appropriate legislative action, it’s conduit for the selling and buying of human beings will end.

To learn more about human trafficking, watch a presentation by the Director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, Arina Grossu, on “The Link Between Pornography, Sex Trafficking, and Abortion,” and read “Modern Slavery: How to Fight Human Trafficking in Your Community,” by attorney J. Robert Flores, who has represented several anti-human trafficking organizations and served as Administrator of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the administration of President George W. Bush.

Social Conservative Review: An Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News February 12, 2015

by Lela Mayfield

February 13, 2015

Click here to subscribe to the Social Conservative Review


This week is National Marriage Week, fitting given that the week culminates in Valentine’s Day (that’s Saturday, guys; forget at your peril).

It is oddly unfitting that Valentine’s Day is also when the film “Fifty Shades of Grey” is being released and marketed aggressively. One of the marketing tools being used for the film isa little Teddy Bearholding not roses or a box of chocolates but handcuffs. Another is jewelry: For example, jeweler Janet Cadsawan is selling a “double handcuff necklace” for a mere $150.

Fifty Shades” is based on the best-selling book of the same name. The book and movie go beyond mere graphic depictions of sexual intimacy, which are, of course, pornographic and exploitative in their own right. As commentatorRichard Swiernotes, “It is a story of a girl being sexually molested, over and over again, by a male figure with all the power, all the control. It is the classic abuse scenario.” The movie features horrific scenes of violent sexual abuse, to the point that the female star of the movie, Dakota Johnson, saysshe doesn’t want her own parents to watch it.

The movie is pornography of a particularly vile type. It celebrates things – abuse, rape, violence against women, manipulation, male domination – our culture claims to protest.

Radical sexual autonomy is now society’ssummum bonum. When combined with an ethos of moral relativism animated by the denial of an infinite, personal God Who has revealed His moral will clearly and with finality, this autonomy has led to growing chaos – and growing darkness.

Inreports being released today by FRC’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute, we learn that just 46 percent of U.S. teenagers ages 15-17 have grown-up with both biological parents always married. In the African-American community, “only 17 percent of black teenagers reach age 17 in a family with both their biological parents married.”

Marriage is in crisis. Human dignity, whether through promiscuity, pornography, homosexual behavior, or whateverother deviation from God’s standard for sexual intimacy, is being degraded. Is there hope?

Yes, in part because the conscience is not wholly dead: Even Ms. Johnson, who willingly subjected herself to what Yale cognitive scientist Joshua Knobe has called“animalization,”has sufficient shame and horror at her own cinematic acts that she does not want her parents to view them.

This is good news for followers of Jesus. Christians should take note that “the works of the law (remain) written on the heart” (Romans 2:15). That should give us a clue as to how to make public arguments during an era of moral disarray, and also provide an entry point for us to share the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ.

With God, there no shades of grey, no “variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). His truth is always the same, and resonates in all but the most calloused of hearts.That’s good news for troubled marriages, broken hearts, and a wounded culture.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder
Senior Vice-President
Family Research Council

P.S. Don’t miss my colleague Jessica Prol’s wonderful meditation on meaning, marriage and singleness, “Marriage Haves and Have-Nots Don’t Have To Square Off” inThe Federalist.


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Human Trafficking: Modern-Day Slavery ¿ Here at Home and Around the World

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 20, 2014

The State Department has issued its annual report on human trafficking, “Trafficking in Persons – 2014”.  In announcing the release of the report, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that a conservative estimate places the number of trafficked persons at 20 million.

Here at home, it is estimated that up to 300,000 women and girls are at risk of being trafficked – held in bondage to sexual fiefs who use them for prostitution and/or pornography. That estimate was given at FRC by an aide to U.S. Rep. Anne Wagner (R-MO), who has introduced legislation to help combat human trafficking here in the U.S.

The relationship between abortion, pornography, prostitution, and trafficking is acute and extensive. Here are some resources to help better acquaint you with this rats’ nest of evil – and how you can work, in practical ways, to fight it, here at home and abroad (all of these resources are available and accessible at no cost):

FRC Online lecture: “Stopping Online Advertisers of Trafficking Victims: the ‘SAVE’ Act

FRC Brochure: “How to Fight Human Trafficking in Your Community

FRC Webcast: “Human Trafficking: Modern-Day Slavery

FRC Blog/Op-Ed: “How China’s ‘One Child’ Policy Fosters Human Trafficking

Five Anti-Trafficking Bills Clear the House

by Leanna Baumer

May 20, 2014

Today, the House of Representatives passed five bipartisan bills strengthening our national response to the growing crisis of human trafficking. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte summed up the issue clearly on the House floor during legislative debate. He stated that the House has undertaken this policy discussion in order to address the reality that our society allows the “rape of children by adults for profit” to go unpunished. Adults too are caught in the slavery of sexual exploitation, and the measures considered today emphasize that the coercion of either children or adults for economic gain is a fundamental assault on human rights and human dignity.

The five bills approved this evening address various aspects of this crisis, advancing reforms to our foster care system, encouraging greater federal and state coordination and partnerships in programs to provide intervention and after care for victims, giving new tools to law enforcement, and focusing on treating those trapped in commercial sexual activity as victims. These efforts are important and needed, and the bills’ sponsors, including Congresswoman Ann Wagner of Missouri, Congressman Ted Poe of Texas, Congressman Eric Paulsen of Minnesota, Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, and Congressman Dave Reichert of Washington, are to be commended for their work to craft legislative responses to problems in our justice system.

However, in the ongoing discussion about increasing penalties for pimps and predators, we cannot lose sight of the prevailing individual and cultural belief that “anything goes” and sexual fulfillment and pleasure are to be pursued at any cost. Such beliefs contribute to the rising national consumption of pornography, a product increasingly dependent on the labor of trafficked women and children. Our society by and large continues to turn a blind eye to an industry built upon the exploitation of human beings for profit because we are uncomfortable confronting the reality that our own addiction to sexual entertainment makes us culpable in this national crisis.

Fortunately, law plays a role in shaping cultural values, and today’s proposed changes to federal law clearly convey the House’s firm belief that the dehumanization of women and children through trafficking cannot ever be justified or defended. That’s a message we need to repeat over and over again. For more information about how trafficking affects your community, download FRC’s brochure “Modern Slavery: How to Fight Human Trafficking in Your Community.”

Sex Selection Abortion Hurts Living Women

by Sherry Crater

September 18, 2013

We have known for some time about China’s one child policy and the brutal consequences of that law for unborn females as well as living girls and young women. Now, Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey has alerted us to the consequences of sex-selection abortion and female infanticide in India.

In his commentary on “The Missing Girls of India” in the Washington Times on September 16, 2013, Rep. Smith informs us that India has a lopsided ratio of boys who are born to the number of girls born (126 boys for every 100 girls). The resulting shortage of females has led to increased trafficking in women, bride-selling, prostitution, child brides and even brothers sharing a woman.

It is time to connect the dots! The killing of girls in the womb and infanticide of baby girls in India has led to a shortage in the female population. That shortage of women, as Rep. Smith said, is resulting in young girls and women being trafficked, prostituted, sold, and shared to satisfy India’s disproportionately male population.

Who will defend the defenseless in the womb who are selected for death because they are girls? And, who will defend the living women who are being forced into unimaginable and horrific situations, clearly not of their choosing, because they lived and can be used? Who will speak up for the dignity, respect and intrinsic value of every woman?

How Does Your State Rank on Human Trafficking Laws?

by Krystle Gabele

August 14, 2013

Polaris Project released their 2013 State Ratings on Human Trafficking Laws today, which examined the progress that states have made in passing legislation that will combat human trafficking (sex and labor).  This report ranked states as Tier 1 (meaning they have passed significant measures to combat trafficking and should continue to persevere in upholding these laws), Tier 2 (they have passed measures, but need to strengthen them), Tier 3 (made some effort in passing laws and should work to improve them), and Tier 4 (state has not made any efforts in combating human trafficking through legislation). 

According to the report, 39 states have passed new measures to combat human trafficking since last year, while 32 states are now in Tier 1 status, which was an increase from 2012.  This is good news, as these states have worked to help with assisting victims and placing tougher measures against those who are traffickers.

Meanwhile, there are a few states that could work and improve human trafficking laws. South Dakota was ranked as a Tier 4 state, as they only have provisions against labor and human trafficking, yet has not placed measures to fund programs that could help with identifying, protecting, and providing services to victims. 

While there are 32 states in Tier 1, 11 states and the District of Columbia in Tier 2, and 6 states in Tier 3, more work needs to be done in terms of identifying victims and providing them with the resources to assist them in their recovery.  Hopefully, this report will help Washington with creating national benchmarks towards abolishing this crime against humanity.  

Free at Last: 105 Children Rescued From Prostitution Ring

by Krystle Gabele

July 29, 2013

This morning, a news headline came across the wires that caused me to pause for a second, and it was the news that 105 children were freed from the chains of modern day slavery and from being trafficked for sexual acts. USA Today and multiple news outlets shared reports that the FBI had also arrested 150 traffickers or “pimps.”

The FBI conducted the raid, Operation Cross Country, which was a massive nationwide sweep that targeted domestic minor sex trafficking. You can see some of the video below of the operation. This raid was coordinated by federal, state, and local agencies in 76 cities.

”Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, in a press release. “This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere and that the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable.”

While this is a step in the right direction, there are still traffickers in this country and around the world for those who steal the innocence of women and girls. FRC has published a booklet, “Modern Slavery: How to Fight Human Trafficking In Your Community,” which provides ways to identify human trafficking in your community. Click here to download the booklet and share it with those in your community.

Looking Towards Freedom: An End to Human Trafficking

by Krystle Gabele

July 15, 2013

Human trafficking has once again found its way into the media spotlight. Whether it is a Saudi Princess allegedly holding women against their will and forcing them to work against their will or a sex trafficking sting in Mexico City, which freed 74 women from captivity, we continue to learn more about the victims who have escaped from this horrible crime against humanity.

Whether the trafficked victim was forced into prostitution or into pornography, the psychological trauma that many victims endure has a long lasting impact. In a recent article in Verily Magazine, Mary Rose Somarriba describes the emotional toll and the need to end this crime. Somarriba interviewed several former victims, as well as organizations that assist trafficking victims, to bring awareness to the link between sex trafficking and pornography.

One theme that stood out was a victim who was trafficked, sold into prostitution and pornography. This victim, who has escaped the crime, indicated that being exploited in pornographic materials is far more damaging, as the photos still remain online long afterwards.

Other victims of trafficking who were forced into pornography also note the trauma of being exploited. Somarriba also notes an interesting statistic that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children provided:

The U.S. government considers all minors exploited in pornography to be victims of human trafficking, by virtue of their youth and inability to consent. And child pornography is a booming business. “With the advent of the Internet,” Allen notes, “the problem of child pornography has exploded … with that sense of anonymity and the ability of people to connect with each other, like-minded individuals, and trade images.”

The Department of Justice and NCMEC “both recognize that pornography is an element that adds to the serious problem of sex trafficking,” notes Elaine McGinnis in her 2004 report The Horrifying Reality of Sex Trafficking. “Many traffickers are found with filming equipment and cameras to create and sell pornography.”

This is a particularly sad statistic, and one that should outrage society as a whole. What can we do to prevent this crime from occurring? What can we do to protect the innocence of youth everywhere?

Although the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was enacted in 2000, this crime still occurs, partly because people do not recognize the signs of trafficking. Many of this could be contributed to not having the resources available to recognize those who are victims and ensuring that law enforcement is actively trying to get the traffickers off the street.

However, it is up to each state to ensure resources as well. Shared Hope International provides a valuable resource in identifying how your state ranks in preventing human trafficking. This resource tracks each state legislature and what they are doing to prevent domestic minor sex trafficking in terms of legislation.

It is time to stop girls and young women from being sexually exploited through the grim acts of trafficking. It must be the mission of professing Christians everywhere to advocate tirelessly for a society that is free of this horrible crime.

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