Sex Trade Industry
Sex Trade Industry
Throughout the course of current events there have been several growing issues being highlight which the American Criminal Justice system needs to take notice of. These issues are closely related to the area of sexual assault and sexual violence toward women and children. This report will be focusing on defining sex trafficking, statistics of the industry, and what the United States is doing to prevent trafficking from occurring.
Sex trafficking can be defined as “a modern-day form of slavery in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is under the Age of 18 years.” (Sex trafficking fact sheet, n.d.) As unsettling as the idea that women and children are being trafficked and forced into the commercial sex industry, the even more frightening fact is that “more than 700,000 people are being trafficked each year worldwide, some 50,000 to the United States (Savino, & Turvey, 2011).
The main establishments which are included in the sex trade industry are the massage parlors, and strip clubs which could include prostitution of women. There are women who do choice to become prostitutes, sexual massage therapists, or strippers; there are also women who are forced into these lines of work. Patrons and police alike need to have a clear understanding of how to recognize signs of trafficking and how to intervene on behalf of the victim. This may be difficult due to the fact that victims may be mistrustful of the police and may be brainwashed through repeated abuse and/or sexual assault that the trafficker is the only person that the victim has to rely on. It is unlikely that victims will voluntarily contact law enforcement or even be willing to assist law enforcement after they have been liberated.
In addition, not only is this an international crime problem, it is also a problem that affects America and American citizens. Not all of the individuals being trafficked in America are foreign nationals brought to the United States by promises of a better life, some individuals being forced into the commercial sex industry are American nationals. “In 2009, a University of Pennsylvania study estimated nearly 300,000 youth in the United States were at risk of being sexually exploited for commercial uses- "most of them runaways or throw-away," said Ernie Allen, president of the NCMEC.” (International Crisis Aid, n.d.) In addition “Almost 300,000 American children are at risk for trafficking into the sex industry. (U.S. Dept of State) There are girls as young as 5 and 6 years old in the U.S. that are forced to do sexual acts for economic gain by their pimp (USDOJ)” ( International Crisis Aid, n.d.). Victims are vulnerable to this sort of exploitation for several reasons.
The primary reason behind the issue of sex trafficking of U.S. citizens is the idea of the less dead that is proposed by serial crime expert Dr. Steven Egger, victims are marginalized in life, they continue to be marginalized even in death, law enforcement agencies do not expend much time, or resources to the investigation of marginalized citizens such as prostitutes or street people, this is the same with trafficking victims, the young victims have been marginalized by society, a large percentage of these individuals have been abused at home by a family member or close family friend end up turning to the streets to escape the abuse, instead of escaping the abuse they become involved in the nightmare of forced inclusion into the commercial sex industry.
“The U.S federal government formally recognized human trafficking as a growing global problem often found in association with other forms of organized crime during the 1990s:
· This acknowledgement resulted in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. The TVPA criminalized coerced labor of any kind defining it as:
o Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force fraud or coercion or in which the person induced to perform such acts has not attained 18 years of age or
o The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud of coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, debt bondage or slavery.
· Coercion is explicitly defined in the TVPA as:
o Threats of services harm to or physical restraint against any person
o Any scheme, plan or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person.
o The abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process” (Savino, & Turvey, 2011)
The primary method used by traffickers against victims of trafficking is use of force and/or violence. The trafficking victims are often coerced into agreeing to leave their place of residence (for U.S. nationals) or their country of residence (for international victims) with the promise of employment. Once the victim is under the control of the traffickers, said traffickers will use whatever means necessary to maintain that control, one of the methods commonly employed is systematic ritualistic type sexual abuse that is meant to demoralize the victim in an attempt to get her to comply with the wishes of the trafficker. This is somewhat similar to the concept of Stockholm syndrome “The Stockholm Syndrome comes into play when a captive cannot escape and is isolated and threatened with death, but is shown token acts of kindness by the captor. It typically takes about three or four days for the psychological shift to take hold.” (Stockholm Syndrome, n.d.) The victim is consistently demoralized and lead to believe that no one cares about the victim, rescue is not coming and the only person the victim has to rely on is the trafficker. This is one reason why victims of trafficking do not attempt escape even when the opportunity presents itself and is a reason that victims are mistrustful of law enforcement upon liberation.
“The U.S. Department of Justice reports the following regarding incidents of Trafficking:
· 83% of human trafficking involves sex trafficking
· 48.5% forced prostitution
· 32% child sex trafficking” (Savino, & Turvey, 2011)
While there are other forms of trafficking such as forced manual labor and/or forced domestic labor, the largest percentage of victims are being trafficked and forced into the commercial sex industry. In many parts of the world, women and children are the largest export commodity.
International Crisis Aid. (n.d.). www.crisisaid.org. Retrieved January 9, 2012, from www.crisisaid.org/ICAPDF/Trafficking/traffickstats.pdf
Savino, J., & Turvey, B. (2011). Rape Investigation Handbook (2nd ed.). San Diego: Academic Press. Kindle edition
Sex trafficking fact sheet. (n.d.). www.hhs.gov. Retrieved January 8, 2012, from www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking/about/fact_sex.pdf
Stockholm Syndrome. (n.d.). sniggle.net: The Culture Jammer’s Encyclopedia. Retrieved January 9, 2012, from http://sniggle.net/stock.php