In fall of 2013, the State of New York established the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts to change the way courts handled those arrested for prostitution. But I know firsthand that using this model can still cause violence to sex workers, because we don’t need treatment.
The much-ballyhooed bipartisan bill has provisions that alarm civil liberties and victims’ advocates.
Texas’ GOP-dominated House of Representatives on Thursday gave its final approval to a bill that would require people who work or volunteer for Texas’ few remaining abortion facilities, and who have “direct contact with patients,” to take a state-mandated training course on human trafficking.
The bill requires abortion providers to place large signs about trafficking and “coercion,” in English and in Spanish, in public and private areas of their clinics.
The Senate passed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act in a 99-0 vote late last week, after a protracted, bitter debate over a provision restricting abortion care for underage sex trafficking victims. But some reproductive rights advocates say that the bipartisan compromise is nothing to celebrate.
The compromise on the trafficking bill, which will clear the way for a confirmation vote on Loretta Lynch, was a limited victory for pro-choice advocates.
“End demand” campaigns, like the one suggested in a recent RH Reality Check commentary, are based on the false characterization of clients of sex workers as rapists, and perpetuated by the prostitution-as-violence camp. This is nothing but misogyny, pure and simple.
Those of us fighting trafficking as part of a broader human rights movement must recognize that failing to advocate for the use of these laws to punish both buyers and sellers serves to perpetuate very serious racial disparities in who we are deeming culpable and who we are criminalizing for trafficking.
With as much emphasis as there has been on the crisis of human trafficking recently, there is almost complete disregard for the unfettered demand that is fueling this multibillion dollar industry. It’s time to collectively demand we hold all exploiters of children accountable, both traffickers and buyers of child sex.
Last month’s CNN piece on sex trafficking in Cambodia was notable because it represented a common failure of the media to report effectively on issues like trafficking in ways that do not compound the harm to those most affected.