- Sex Trafficking is part of human trafficking.
- It is defined as “the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor [or sexual act in the case of sex trafficking].”
- For victims under the age of eighteen, force, fraud, or coercion is not required.
- It is a form of gender-based violence and part of the #MeToo movement.
- Many of us don’t realize the widespread complexity of sex trafficking and how the purchase of sex and viewing of pornography are often connected to and fuel violence against the young girls, boys, and adults trapped in the abuse.
Why Sex Trafficking?
- Human trafficking is the world’s third largest criminal enterprise, after drugs and weapons, and is the fastest growing.
- Sex trafficking alone produces an estimated $7 billion annually.
- The International Labor Organization (ILO) of the United Nations estimates that there are 12.3 million adults and children at any given time in forced labor or commercial sexual servitude worldwide.
- Most victims of sex trafficking in the US are women and children, particularly girls under the age of 18.
- While trafficking is often seen as a problem that occurs in other countries, more than 100,000 American children are estimated to be part of the sex trade every year here in the U.S., with an additional almost 300,000 youths at risk of becoming victims.
- Most trafficking victims have experienced extreme violence, pimps using illegal substance abuse as a method of control, homelessness, have long term health problems, and struggle with mental illness.
Trafficking in Chicago
- In the Chicago area, 16,000 to 24,000 local women and girls are “sex trafficked” on any given day.
- Feb, 2017: In one month, 723 people were arrested including 108 in Illinois who tried to purchase sex as part of national paid sex sting. Click to Read More.
- Connection to legal businesses including massage parlors. Click to Read More.
- August, 2017: Chicago teen rescued in Texas sex trafficking raid. Click to Read More.
- 2017- Sex trafficking ring shut down in Skokie, Optima building. Click to Read More.
- “Countries with legalized prostitution are associated with higher human trafficking inflows than countries where prostitution is prohibited. The scale effect of legalizing prostitution, i.e. expansion of the market, outweighs the substitution effect, where legal sex workers are favored over illegal workers. On average, countries with legalized prostitution report a greater incidence of human trafficking inflows”
- “When large populations of workers migrate for employment, especially to isolated locations, such as mining, logging, and agricultural camps, the incidence of sex trafficking in those areas may increase.”
- This report also mentions sex trafficking in “Extractive industries” here’s an example in North Dakota: “in the oil industry, individuals are sometimes recruited with false promises of work opportunities, but instead are exploited in the sex trade. Service providers in areas near camps surrounding large-scale oil extraction facilities, such as the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, report that sex traffickers are exploiting women in the area, including Native American women.”
- “The physical, emotional and economic damages that human trafficking victims experience can be difficult to measure in terms of monetary awards. The value of sex services is also much greater than what one earns working for minimum wage, but again, the work is illegal. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 thus provides a formula to calculate the mandatory restitution and counter the effects of being trafficked. The formula is derived from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and requires that awards in sex trafficking cases must include whichever is greater: the value of the work under the FLSA or the value to the defendant of the victim’s forced or induced services. Section 1593 requires that the recovery must come from the defendant, so the defense would have to present a compelling reason to successfully argue against the order.”