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Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology
Issue 2 Winter
Of Vice and Men: A New Approach to Eradicating
Sex Trafficking by Reducing Male Demand
through Educational Programs and Abolitionist
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Iris Yen, Of Vice and Men: A New Approach to Eradicating Sex Trafficking by Reducing Male Demand through Educational Programs and Abolitionist Legislation, 98 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 653 (2007-2008) This Comment is brought to you for free and open access by Northwestern University School of Law Scholarly Commons. It has been accepted for inclusion in Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology by an authorized administrator of Northwestern University School of Law Scholarly Commons.
THE JOURNAL CRIMINAL LAW & CRIMINOLOGYOF Vol. 98, No. 2 Copyright C 2008 by Northwestern University, School of Law Printed in U.S.A.
OF VICE AND MEN: A NEW APPROACH TO
ERADICATING SEX TRAFFICKING BY
REDUCING MALE DEMAND THROUGH
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AND
ABOLITIONIST LEGISLATIONIRIS YEN* In the last few decades, trafficking in humans for the purpose of sexual exploitation has exploded into a sophisticated industry that generates billions of dollars in profit every year yet devastates the lives of millions of innocent victims. Many of the trafficked victims are impoverishedgirls and young women from economically depressed countries who are forced to work as prostitutes under brutal conditions in a foreign country. To date, most of the scholarly, legislative, and law enforcement attention has focused on the "supply" side of the sex trafficking equation, namely the traffickers and the victims. This Commentfocuses on the "demand" side of the problem, namely the male clients of the prostitutes. The Comment first explains how the male demandfor commercial sexual services sustains and grows the sex trafficking industry, and then examines various demand-side educationalprograms and legislative approaches and assesses their impact on minimizing and eradicating the demand. The Comment concludes by suggesting a comprehensive, demand-oriented approach to fighting sex trafficking.
I. INTRODUCTION At the age of four, "Andrea" was sold to a child sex-trafficking ring that operated in both Mexico and the United States. She was enslaved for twelve years, servicing mostly American men. To keep the children obedient, her traffickers frequently abused them psychologically and physically. To cater to their customers' preferences, the ring offered children of various ages from toddlers to teens. Permanently traumatized
after years of abuse, Andrea sees herself as "way too damaged... [and] no good."' There is a thriving modem-day slave trade of shocking magnitude and brutality: every year, over 700,000 people are trafficked across international borders. 23 Human trafficking affects every country in the world.3 To better understand the pandemic of human trafficking, one must first establish a clear definition of this term. In 2000, 117 nations (including the United States) adopted the United Nations' new anti-trafficking protocol, which defined "trafficking in persons" as the "recruitment, transportation and harboring of another person for the purpose of exploitation. 4 Eighty percent of the trafficked victims are women and up to fifty percent are minors.5 Impoverished women and girls from developing countries are vulnerable to all forms of human trafficking and exploitation, but they are especially vulnerable to sex trafficking. 6 "Sex trafficking" is the recruitment, transportation, and harboring of persons-primarily women and children-for the purpose of sexual exploitation into 7 prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, and other commercial sex activities.
Peter Landesman, The Girls Next Door, N.Y. TIMES, Jan. 25, 2004, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/O1/25/magazine/25SEXTRAFFIC.html.
2 Rosy Kandathil, Global Sex Trafficking and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000: Legislative Responses to the Problem of Modern Slavery, 12 MICH. J. GENDER & L.
87, 88 (2005).
3 Kara C. Ryf, Note, The First Modern Anti-Slavery Law: The Trafficking Victims ProtectionAct of 2000, 34 CASE W. RES. J. INT'L L. 45, 47 (2002).
4 United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, G.A. Res. 55/25, U.N. GAOR, 55th Sess., Annex II, at Article 111(a), U.N. Doc. A/55/25 (2000) [hereinafter 2000 Trafficking Protocol], available at http://uncjin.org/Documents/Conventions/dcatoc/final-documents-2/convention_ %20traff eng.pdf (emphasis added). Exploitation includes, but is not limited to, "prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or [similar] practices." Id. In contrast to previous protocols, the 2000 Protocol focuses on the exploitation element in trafficking, making the victim's consent to exploitation irrelevant. Id. Some commentators approve of the U.N.'s strategic decision to steer away from the victim's consent and instead focus on the exploitation element. See ANGELA
BORTEL, ENDING TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN: A VICTIM-CENTERED APPROACH TO LEGISLATION
5 U.S. DEP'T OF STATE, THE LINK BETWEEN PROSTITUTION AND SEX TRAFFICKING 1(2004), available at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/38901.pdf [hereinafter
PROSTITUTION AND SEX TRAFFICKING REPORT].
6 See Ryf, supra note 3, at 46 (noting that "trafficking in persons can take many forms, with the most prevalent and fastest growing [form] being the commerce of women and children for sexual exploitation").
7 Kandathil, supra note 2, at 88; see 2000 Trafficking Protocol, supra note 4, at art. 111(a) (defining trafficking in terms of exploitation of its victims).
OF VICE AND MEN2008] Sex trafficking is a complex global problem that has attracted much attention from legal scholars; in particular, the supply side of the problem (namely, the traffickers and the victims of trafficking) has been discussed at length. 8 Until recently, however, one critical aspect of the problem has largely evaded the scrutiny of scholars, anti-trafficking activists, and law enforcement alike: the role of male demand for commercial sexual services in perpetuating and growing the sex trafficking industry. 9 There is now an emerging consensus that strategies which solely address the supply side of sex trafficking are insufficient and ultimately ineffective.10 This Comment assumes that sex trafficking is fundamentally an economic problem, and that appropriate incentives can impact both the supply and the demand drivers." Given this premise, this Comment examines how the male demand for commercial sexual services stimulates 8 See, e.g., Jennifer M. Chac6n, Misery and Myopia: Understandingthe Failures of U.S.
Efforts to Stop Human Trafficking, 74 FORDHAM L. REv. 2977 (2006); Susan W. Tiefenbrun, Sex Sells but Drugs Don't Talk: Trafficking of Women Sex Workers and an Economic Solution, 24 T. JEFFERSON L. REv. 161 (2002) [hereinafter Tiefenbrun, Sex Sells]; Susan W.
Tiefenbrun, The Saga of Susannah: A U.S. Remedy for Sex Trafficking in Women: The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, 2002 UTAH L. REv. 107 (2002) [hereinafter Tiefenbrun, Saga]; Theresa Barone, Note, The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000: Defining the Problem and Creating a Solution, 17 TEMP. INT'L & COMP. L.J.
579 (2003); Katrin Corrigan, Comment, Putting the Brakes on the Global Trafficking of Women for the Sex Trade: An Analysis of Existing Regulatory Schemes to Stop the Flow of Traffic, 25 FORDHAM INT'L L.J. 151 (2001); Kathryn E. Nelson, Comment, Sex Trafficking and Forced Prostitution: Comprehensive New Legal Approaches, 24 Hous. J. INT'L L. 551 (2002); Ryf, supra note 3; see also Mohamed Y. Mattar, Trafficking in Persons: An Annotated Legal Bibliography, 96 LAW LIBR. J. 669 (2004) (an annotated bibliography of articles related to human trafficking).
9 Mattar, supra note 8, at 671 (noting that "[a]lthough many articles on the topic [of trafficking in persons] have been published[,]... several areas have yet to receive adequate coverage. In my judgment, these areas include.., the issue of demand..."); see DONNA M.
HUGHES, BEST PRACTICES TO ADDRESS THE DEMAND SIDE OF TRAFFICKING 1-2 (2004), available at http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/demand-sex trafficking.pdf ("Over the past decade... efforts to combat trafficking have aimed to stop trafficking on the supply side.... In comparison, there have been few campaigns or efforts aimed at reducing the demand for victims.").
10See HUGHES, supra note 9, at 2. Hughes believes "the movement to abolish trafficking and sexual exploitation needs a more comprehensive approach, one that includes analyses of the demand side of trafficking, and develops practices to combat the demand in receiving countries." Id.
11See generally Tiefenbrun, Sex Sells, supra note 8 (contending that the problem of sex trafficking must be addressed from an economic perspective by increasing the cost of doing the business of sex trafficking and by decreasing the economic benefits of this lucrative industry). This Comment extends Tiefenbrun's argument to the male clients of prostitutes as well, in that the cost (e.g., incarceration, fines) of engaging in commercial sexual exploitation must outweigh the benefits (e.g., physical pleasure, "cheap" sex) in order to change the men's behavior.
IRIS YEN [Vol. 98 and sustains the mushrooming sex trafficking industry. Furthermore, this Comment argues it is both feasible and effective to fight sex trafficking through educational and legislative measures aimed at reducing the male demand for commercial sexual services. These methods include educating the men who use prostitutes, changing misguided male attitudes toward commercial sexual services and prostitutes, and enacting and enforcing legislation that criminalizes the purchase of sex.
Part II introduces and defines the problem of sex trafficking. Part III discusses the economic incentives underlying, and the human impact of, sex trafficking. Part IV assesses the most recent anti-trafficking protocol and laws adopted by the United Nations and by the United States. Part V analyzes the importance of male demand in perpetuating sex trafficking and reveals some insights on the men who use prostitutes (also known as 'johns"). Part VI discusses the efficacy of various educational programs targeted at johns. The next Part compares two different legislative approaches and their impact on curbing prostitution and sex trafficking.
The concluding section, Part VIII, recommends a more effective approach to combating sex trafficking: a comprehensive strategy that entails both educational and legislative initiatives to reduce male demand.
II. THE INVISIBLE HAND OF GREED, POVERTY, AND MISERY:
UNDERSTANDING THE SUPPLY SIDE DRIVERS AND HUMAN IMPACT OF SEX
A. ONE WAY-TICKET TO HELL: HOW WOMEN BECOME SEX SLAVES'2 Sex trafficking is often appropriately described as "sexual slavery."' Owned by their pimps, brothel owners, and customers for the "purpose of3 financial gain, sexual gratification and/or power and domination,"' trafficked victims are essentially slaves. Trafficked women typically earn little or no money for their services, and they must often acquiesce to any 12Landesman, supra note 1. In discussing four Mexican girls who were trafficked:
"They were sex slaves.... [T]hese girls weren't working for profit or a paycheck. They were captives to the traffickers and keepers who controlled their every move." Id.
" DORCHEN LIEDHOLT, PROSTITUTION: A CONTEMPORARY FORM OF SLAVERY (2004), available at http://action.web.ca/home/catw/readingroom.shtml?x=16727. Liedholt defines slavery as "the domination and control by an individual or group over other individuals or groups through violence, the threat of violence, or a history of violence." Id. However, prostitution is different from "traditional forms of slave ownership in which the person enslaved was regarded as a capital investment, to be maintained and guarded over a long period of time" in that the owners of prostitutes often view the women as a "temporary, disposable commodity, to be consumed and discarded." Id.