Solutions to Help Stop Human Trafficking
We know what works. We can begin to defeat sex trafficking if we severely punish its national and multi-national profiteers, arrest its customers, offer a way out to its prisoners, and create self-respecting economic alternatives for girls and women who are at risk.While an adequate response to combating the crime has been historically slow, governments and NGO’s are beginning to rise to the call to combat the crime. Even the developing countries of the world are moving forward.Human trafficking is appropriately punished through the criminal justice system, although law enforcement should not be the sole focus for a solution. However, sex workers need to have their human rights protected. They need services and realistic economic opportunities if they are trying to leave sex work. Arresting people does not help them. Often it makes it more difficult to find other work and puts them at risk for removal from the country if they are immigrants, or even eviction from their homes. Ironically, Spitzer was very focused on beefing up penalties against the clients of sex workers, on grounds this would be a deterrent to prostitution. We lost this fight, and the penalty was raised from a B misdemeanor to an A misdemeanor. We and other advocates for sex workers opposed this approach, because our daily experience shows that no deterrent has yet stopped sexual desire and also because criminalization just drives everyone involved in the sex trade, including our clients who need services and safety, further underground. Abuse and trickery of sex workers does occur and must be punished. For instance, when a client or trafficker assaults a woman or implies that her family will be harmed so that she will be too traumatized and afraid to leave, he or she should be arrested and punished.