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The Exploitation of Trafficked Women

Guide No. 38 (2006) by Graeme R. Newman

The Problem of Exploiting Trafficked Women

This guide begins by describing the problem of exploiting women who have been trafficked into the United States, and the aspects of human trafficking that contribute to it. Throughout the guide, the word "trafficked" shall mean internationally trafficked, unless otherwise stated. Additionally, the guide's focus is on the final period in the process of trafficking at which women are further exploited by those into whose hands they are passed. This is the point at which human trafficking becomes a problem for local police and so the guide identifies a series of questions that can help analyze local problems related to trafficking. Finally, it reviews responses to the exploitation of trafficked women and examines what is known about the effectiveness of these responses from research and police practice.

Concern about the exploitation of women who have been trafficked into the United States derives from the international issues of human trafficking and slavery.† The characteristics of international human trafficking, including the profits, resemble those of the international drug trade.[1] In the United States, until the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in 2000, human trafficking was approached as an immigration problem, which meant that police viewed trafficking as a federal rather than a local responsibility. The TVPA clarified the definition of human trafficking-a particularly difficult problem, as will be seen below-and introduced a number of important protections for trafficked individuals (see BOX 1). The TVPA defines two forms of severe human trafficking:

† The trafficking of women within the United States is an old concern, dating back at least to the Mann Act of 1911, which criminalized taking persons across state lines for the purpose of prostitution. This law was directed towards prostitution in particular, without regard to immigration issues.

  1. "...sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age;"
  2. "...the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery." [2]

Because some 70 percent of internationally trafficked women end up in the sex trade, the effect of the TVPA is to define many such women as crime victims rather than criminals. Whether pressed into forced labor or prostitution, the exploitation of these individuals is continued upon entry into the United States, whether in the same hands of those who trafficked them, or whether passed on to others who profit from commercial sex or cheap, often forced, labor.

The TVPA does not require that a trafficked person be actually transported anywhere; it simply requires that the victim's freedom be constrained by force, fraud or coercion. The focus of this guide, however, is on those women who are transported into the United States for the purposes of commercial sex or forced labor. The operational elements of forced labor, such as occurs in domestic service, agriculture, and sweatshops, [3] are similar to those of forced prostitution: in both cases women may be kept in slave-like conditions, exploited for their labor and are physically and mentally abused. They also share the same trafficked experience: a system built on fraud, coercion, and false promises, which is meant to ensure that the women remain under the control of their traffickers from the moment they are recruited continuing indefinitely through forced labor or the commercial sex trade. [4]

BOX 1: THE TRAFFICKING VICTIM PROTECTIONS ACT 2000 (TVPA) [5]

  1. Established a task force comprising the U.S. Secretary of State, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Director General of the CIA, and the Attorney General.
  2. Required the establishment of programs designed to increase public awareness of human trafficking, including sex trafficking, forced labor and domestic servitude.
  3. Required an annual report from the U.S. Department of State on human trafficking
    around the world.
  4. Threatened economic sanctions against countries that failed to act against trafficking.
  5. Substantially increased punishments for offenses involving involuntary servitude and extended definitions to include traffickers or others who knowingly benefit from human trafficking.
  6. Defined victims of severe forms of trafficking and gave them refugee status.
  7. Removed the threat of deportation for those trafficked into the United States illegally, provided these victims cooperated with law enforcement.
  8. Provided protection for victims in federal custody and provided government housing, detention centers, shelters, medical care, and other services commensurate with victim status.
  9. Deemed victim consent irrelevant in determining trafficked status.

Related Problems

Exploiting internationally trafficked women is only one of a number of problems that are related to or are examples of, human trafficking. Other related problems not directly addressed by this guide include:

Extent of the Problem

Statistics concerning human trafficking are necessarily unreliable because of the clandestine nature of the activity and the difficulties in defining it. [6] The U.S. State Department estimates that between 600,000 and 800,000 persons were trafficked across national borders worldwide between April, 2003 and March, 2004. Eighty percent of these were female, 70 percent of whom were trafficked for sexual exploitation.† In 2003, between 14,500 and 17,500 were trafficked into the United States.[7] Most originate in poorer countries, where human trafficking has become a significant source of income;†† these include states in Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Commonwealth of Independent States of the former Soviet Union, and Central and Eastern Europe. Most women are trafficked to developed countries, with the United States being the most popular country of destination. [8] Human trafficking is reportedly as highly profitable a business as are arms smuggling and drug trafficking.[9]

† Sixty to seventy-five percent of trafficked women in prostitution have been raped; 70 to 95 percent have been physically assaulted (U.S. Department of State 2005).

†† In some countries, the sex trade has become an important economic development strategy and source of income, with profits amounting to 14 percent of gross domestic product (Raymond and Hughes 2001).

In fiscal year 2003, the number of victims certified or eligible for refugee benefits under TVPA was just 151. [10] When this figure is compared to the estimated 14,500 females who were trafficked into the United States in 2003, it becomes clear that either the estimates are enormously exaggerated or trafficking victims are simply hidden from view. The answer is probably somewhere in the middle. Those who exploit trafficked women work hard at keeping their activities hidden from the authorities by constantly changing the locations and telephone numbers of their businesses and by isolating trafficked women from the public. In addition, because the requirements for meeting the TVPA are quite narrow, the collection of the appropriate information concerning the victim may take considerable time and resources. Thus, an important response for local police is to locate and identify trafficking victims who are hidden† in their communities.

† While sweatshop workers may be hidden from the community, exploited women in the sex trade are not hidden in the same way, since their services are often openly advertised. They are only hidden in the sense that the public turns a blind eye to their existence.

Trafficking causes serious trauma to exploited women and adds to existing public health problems. Trafficked women in the sex trade are so isolated from the community that their clients and handlers physically abuse them with impunity, subjecting them to repeated rape and assault. They also deny them prenatal care or medical care in case of pregnancy, infections or injury, and force them to have abortions. Having no recourse, the women are forced to comply with client demands, the majority of whom, research has shown, refuse to use condoms.† Thus, the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted disease is more likely.†† Furthermore, women are induced into heavy alcohol and drug use as a means of ensuring their continued dependency on their traffickers. [11] Needless to say, their illegal status makes it difficult or impossible for trafficked women to receive the social and health benefits that might otherwise be available to them. [12] They are understandably reluctant to seek medical attention for fear of being turned over to immigration authorities.

† Historically, trafficked women have been looked upon as transmitters of HIV and AIDS, rather than as victims of the disease. Measures, including forced HIV testing and medical examinations, have been implemented in order to protect the customers and the larger community—not the trafficked victims themselves (HumanTrafficking.com 2004).

†† In some communities, up to 86 percent of sex workers are infected with HIV (Willis and Levy 2002).

Because they are out of sight of the authorities (though often in plain view of local communities), sweatshops and other forms of forced labor invariably fail to meet health and safety regulations. Sub-standard housing and working conditions are associated with increased illness and injury in these populations.[13] In addition to being beaten and starved, women may be made to work long hours without breaks, or forced to work in hazardous or polluted environments. Even in locations where the presence and employment of undocumented immigrants is known, enforcement of health, safety, and labor regulations is at best sporadic.[14] Language and cultural limits may prevent victims from understanding and appreciating both the risks in the workplace and the use of preventive measures. Injury and death rates of foreign workers have been shown to be higher than normal in some work environments.[15]

The illegal status of trafficked women also makes them ready victims of other crimes. For example, undocumented immigrants are often easy and lucrative robbery targets, because those few who manage to earn any money at all are often fearful of opening bank accounts, lest their illegal status be discovered. And when victimized, many are too fearful to report the incident to the police. [16] Furthermore, traffickers in the sex trade tend to concentrate their activities in immigrant communities that are often neglected by local government, which results in a higher incidence of crime. [17]

The Four Stages of Human Trafficking

Table 1 displays the typical stages of human trafficking and the techniques used at each stage. These techniques are listed as examples and may differ depending on the particular recruiting locality ("catchment area") and the constraints or opportunities that may arise in moving humans across borders. Depending on the organizational sophistication of the traffickers, the third or even the fourth stage of exploitation may be directly linked to the initial stage of recruitment; that is, recruiters who are organizationally linked to the delivery end of the process may select women specifically for particular tasks, such as domestic servitude, escort services, brothels that specialize in providing very young women, or cheap labor for garment industry sweatshops. Although the extent to which all stages of trafficking are linked is unknown, it is usually assumed that where gangs or criminal syndicates are involved, considerable linkage exists.

Table 1: The Four Stages of Human Trafficking
Stage Strategies Techniques
ONE
Recruitment
  • Select vulnerable women—usually poor, young, and uneducated—who are easy to trick and will believe promises of future employment
  • Hide behind an apparently legal business, such as an employment or travel agency
  • Get client into debt † or find a debt-ridden family
  • Traffic from countries that benefit from foreign exchange resulting from export of trafficked women ††
  • Offer services as “coyote” or smuggler
  • False promises of work and well paying jobs
  • False promises of work visas and passports
  • Offer of safe passage to destination country
  • Use person from victim’s culture to recruit
  • Use of tourist visas without work visas
  • Recruiter buys young girl for small sum
  • Arrange marriage to American men including serviceman
  • Advertise for women needed for “housekeeping” work
  • Kidnapping
  • Trafficker convinces the woman he loves her
  • Pay for client travel, give loan
TWO
Transportation and entry
  • Provide a service such as all necessary documentation and travel arrangements
  • Use a tourist or employment agency as a front [18]
  • Provide guide service
  • Search for weak points of entry into the United States
  • Document forgery
  • Stolen passports and visas
  • Bribery of border officials
  • Transportation in concealed vehicles
  • Provide recruits with tourist visas
  • Employers manipulate special visas [19]
  • Handlers (e.g. “coyotes” on Mexico/U.S. border) guide individuals across borders or over difficult terrain, [20] sometimes providing transportation
THREE
Delivery and marketing
  • Make contact with clients using standard marketing techniques
  • Prearrange deals through legal or illegal businesses, such as domestic employment agencies, entertainment agencies, and escort services
  • Market through organized crime rings for sex trade
  • Keep trafficked woman dependent on trafficker until delivery
  • Advertising in pornographic magazines and websites and in the ethnic media
  • Establish matchmaking websites to advertise women
  • Deliver to farm labor, sweat shops; domestic service agencies etc.
  • Mail order brides and matchmaking camps
  • Retention or confiscation of travel documents
  • Traffic women domestically by constantly moving them between cities and states to satisfy demand for new women and to keep the women isolated

FOUR
Exploitation

  • Exploit alien status
  • Threaten violence against woman’s relatives in home country
  • Use actual violence to ensure compliance and silence
  • Create and maintain debt
  • Create and maintain alcohol and drug dependency
  • Exploit ambiguities in and lax enforcement of sex trade laws
  • Keep in isolation
  • Retention of passports and visas
  • Threaten to turn over to authorities
  • Keep imprisoned in the place of employment
  • Sex trade: forced prostitution, off street prostitution, night clubs, exotic dancing, escort services
  • Forced labor: bonded labor, virtual imprisonment, indentured labor, coercion and violence; labor intensive manufacturing (e.g. clothing trade) or rural farm labor
  • Massage parlors, nail salons, employment agencies as fronts for illegal activity
  • Move from place to place

† Fees to traffickers and recruiters range from $2,000 to $47,000 and often vary by countries of origin:
e.g., $40,000 to $47,000 for Chinese women, $35,000 for Korean women, and $2,000 to $3,000 for Mexican women (Raymond and Hughes 2001).

†† In the Philippines, overseas workers are required to send back a percentage of their wage as a condition of permission to travel abroad (Gatmaytan 1997). The Dominican Republic depends on more than 100,000 women working abroad as a source of foreign exchange (Wijers and Lap-Chew 1999)

Recruitment

Although there are many reported cases of kidnapping for trafficking purposes-as well as reports of parents selling their daughters to traffickers-it is likely that the majority of trafficked women are recruited through fraud, deception, and other enticements that exploit real social and financial needs. [21] A typical human trafficking scheme begins not with violence or coercion but rather as a confidence game-the young woman is convinced by traffickers that a desirable job awaits her in a foreign country. At that point, she believes that she is going to voluntarily participate in a smuggling scheme, in which she will incur a debt in return for being brought into the destination country. In the case of individuals trafficked for forced labor, the victim may enter into a "contract" with the trafficker that is very much against her interests.† The woman may be enticed by the offer of a "loan" for travel to the United States or of aid in finding employment. The complicated interplay between trafficking and smuggling is very much at work here (see BOX). Employment agencies are used as a front for these deceptions, as are agencies for mail order brides. Mail order bride agencies, [22], †† exploit the blurred line between deception, trickery, and the voluntary attitudes of would-be brides.‡ However, human trafficking charges under the TVPA must always involve forced labor or commercial sex of some kind. Abuses of mail order bride situations may or may not include these elements. Nonetheless, it is clear that numerous mail order bride agencies utilize the same kind of deception that traffickers do in luring foreign women to come to the United States.

† In one excellent study of women recruited in the Philippines, all women stated that they had willingly agreed to be transported to the country of destination; some even paid the travel costs up front. All those interviewed, however, subsequently fell into heavy debt and became enslaved in the sex trade (Aronowitz 2003).

†† The United States is the number one importer of mail order brides and the number one importer of Philippine women. One company charges men a modest sum for its catalog of Russian women and holds a "mixer" in Russia to which U.S. men travel; the company charges the women a substantial amount, often their life savings, to travel to the mixer, the catch being that there are many more women at the mixer than there are men (Caldwell et al. 2001).

‡ Traffickers find marriage agencies and mail order bride services attractive because as legal businesses they can recruit women openly; they are also virtually unregulated (Lloyd 2000). However, the overall extent to which traffickers use such businesses is unknown (Hughes 2004b:13).

Transportation

Research suggests that the main means of trafficking into the United States is by air. [23] Most often, women are trafficked according to a previously planned route, often using the services of a tourist agency that may or may not be linked to trafficking. Trafficked women may be transported across borders with or without legitimate documentation. The use of forged or stolen passports and visas and the use of tourist visas is common.† Again, the interplay between smuggling and trafficking (see BOX 2) is evident at this stage of the process. In locations where borders are porous or stretch across inhospitable or isolated territory, smugglers may offer safe passage across established or known routes. In locations where border security is tight, traffickers may help individuals conceal themselves in trucks or trains in order to enter the country illegally. Military bases are also popular points of entry.

BOX 2: Trafficking vs. Smuggling

Smuggling and trafficking are closely connected. Generally, smuggling does not involve coercion, but rather is performed at the request of the alien, who pays a fee for safe, albeit illegal, passage. In its simplest form, it involves only the second stage of trafficking: transportation. However, trafficked women who begin their trip voluntarily may become victims at the delivery stage, when their illegal status is exploited by those seeking cheap labor. If the smuggling is part of an organized activity, the smuggler may deliver the smuggled individual directly into the sex trade or another form of forced labor. In this case, the individual is both smuggled and trafficked. [24]

Trafficking Smuggling
  • Crime or violation against a person
  • Contains element of coercion (cannot consent to enslavement)
  • Subsequent exploitation and/or forced labor
  • Trafficked persons seen as victims by the law
  • Unauthorized border crossing
  • No coercion
  • Facilitated illegal entry of person from one country to another
  • Smuggled persons seen as criminals by the law

† One study found that over 50 percent of trafficked women entered the Unites States with tourist visas and overstayed their visas (Raymond and Hughes 2001).

Delivery/Marketing

Both before and after a woman has reached the United States, her services can be marketed through standard outlets, such as advertising in personal columns; but by far the most effective marketing is via Internet chat rooms, bulletin boards, and the many websites that offer matchmaking services for men and women. [25] Where a prior arrangement has been reached, the trafficked woman is handed over to her intended employer once she reaches her destination. Forced prostitution may also be confined within particular ethnic communities, where men seek to purchase sex from women or young girls of their own ethnicity. This serves to further isolate trafficked women from the broader community. [26] Recent research suggests that there is considerable trafficking of women between various U.S. cities. Frequent movement of women serves three purposes: first, it makes detection more difficult and removes the incentive for local investigative agencies to become involved; second, it provides a variety of women for customers; and third, it inhibits women from establishing ties to their communities. [27] In cases where there is no delivery to a specific person or organization, the woman is technically not trafficked, but smuggled. In this case, if she is young, without family, and without the ability to speak English, she may end up in the sex trade, and her trafficked status will be difficult to determine by local police.

Exploitation

Trafficked women are extremely vulnerable, for three reasons. First, as illegal aliens, many women who do not know they have rights are fearful of seeking assistance from police or other service agencies. Second, women and their families are often in debt to the traffickers who exploit their labor. Third, should a woman's situation, such as working in the sex trade become known back home, her family's honor may be damaged. As a result, those who "employ" trafficked women have enormous control over them. In effect, conditions of employment become conditions of slavery.† However, the definition of exploitation is difficult, because trafficked persons-and even legal immigrants-often consent to exploitation in the hope that they can improve their circumstances by doing so. [28] This creates a serious problem for local police, because victims may refuse to cooperate and may even resist attempts to improve their circumstances.

In fact, the problem of definitions of the many activities involved in the trafficking of women is considerable. Only in recent years has a definition of human trafficking been agreed upon internationally. It was not until the passage of TVPA in 2000 that the U.S. Congress defined trafficking and its associated terms in an attempt to clarify the difficult overlap between smuggling, trafficking, coercion, consent, bondage, and exploitation. The extremely complex interplay among these terms as well as their links to other crimes is displayed in Appendix B. The definitions now accepted are reproduced in the accompanying Box 3.

† In the pre-Civil War South, replacing a slave cost the modern equivalent of $40,000. Slaves in the twenty-first century can be purchased for as little as $90. For example, a family in Thailand was reported to have sold a daughter into the sex trade in order to buy a television set (Florida State University, Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, 2003:14)

BOX 3: TVPA DEFINITIONS OF TRAFFICKING
AND TRAFFIC-RELATED ACTIVITIES [29]

Severe human trafficking. (a) Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or (b) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Sex trafficking is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.

Involuntary servitude is defined as (a) a scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that, if the person did not enter into or continue in such condition, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint or (b) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.

Peonage is defined as a status of involuntary servitude based upon real or alleged indebtedness.

Debt bondage is defined as the condition of a debtor who has pledged his or her personal services in security for debt but whose services are not reasonably applied toward relieving the debt, or the length and nature of services are not limited and defined.

Smuggling is having knowingly encouraged, induced, assisted, abetted, or aided any other alien to enter or try to enter the United States [illegally]. [30]

Factors Contributing to the Problem of Exploiting Trafficked Women

Understanding the factors that contribute to local trafficking problems can help frame local analysis, identify effective remedial measures, recognize key intervention points, and select appropriate responses.

The Market for Commercial Sex

Supply. The international proliferation of trafficking has created a supply of trafficked women that is so large that it drives the market. Countries
that make no attempt to control human trafficking† use the trade as a means of importing foreign currency, especially U.S. dollars and Euros. This is
achieved both by encouraging sex tourism in the originating country and by tacitly approving the exportation of women to wealthy countries. [31]
Globalization has facilitated the movement of cheap labor from one country to another. Thus, even those women who are not trafficked into the sex trade
add to the plentiful supply of undocumented migrant labor at best, sweatshop and forced labor at worst.

† The TVPA established a set of standards for countries to combat trafficking. Countries are rated annually according to these standards and allocated to one of three tiers: (1) full compliance; (2) some compliance; and (3) no compliance or no effort to comply. As of 2005, all countries are required by U.S. law to collect and publish prosecution and conviction statistics on human trafficking. Countries making no effort to combat trafficking are subject to various U.S. sanctions (U.S. Department of State 2004, 2005).

Demand. The demand issues surrounding trafficking for forced labor are simple enough: because illegal or quasi-legal businesses can gain considerable advantage by employing cheap labor, there will always be demand for such labor. The demand issues involved in trafficking for the sex trade are much more complicated and subject to considerable debate. Some argue that human trafficking for the sex trade is simply a response to a natural need; that is, men will be men. Others argue that this is a misconception, that rather than men's sexual needs being such that prostitution must exist to fulfill them, the truth is that men's sexual appetites respond to the opportunities offered them by the purveyors of prostitution.† (See also Response No. 9 for an elaboration of this point). In other words, it is the market- the trafficking in women-that creates the demand, not the customers. If there is a plentiful supply of vulnerable women and girls, a profitable business plan follows: offer the services of young women that cater to any customer preference at a competitive price and pay the women little or nothing.††

† This is the rationale that underlies the Swedish legislation outlawing the purchase of sexual services. As its advocate says: “It is the market that is the driving force. Demand is defined by the services produced, not vice versa, which contradicts certain popular traditional market theories” (Sven-Axel Mansson, interviewed by Maria Jacobson 2002).

†† There is some evidence of a growing demand by purchasers of sex for foreign women of various ethnic backgrounds. There is considerable evidence that men’s sexual expectations are driven by ethnic stereotypes and myths (Hughes 2004a).

Customer and Trafficker Attitudes

The sex trade. The customers of the sex trade reveal callous attitudes towards the trafficked women they rent.† In the case of prostitution-whether the prostitute is trafficked or not-men adopt the view that they "own" the prostitute for the period for which they have paid and believe that they have a right to do whatever they please, including physical and psychological abuse.[32] The purveyors of prostitution, whether pimp or madam, do not demand compensation if the customer damages the woman. Indeed, they routinely abuse prostitutes themselves. [33] Here again, profit is the key. Trafficked women in the sex trade quickly depreciate in value-particularly, where beauty and youthfulness are important to the customer. Youth and beauty are cheap to replace where there is a plentiful supply of trafficked women.

Domestic servitude. Employers of domestic servants who are trafficked women display attitudes not so much indifferent as paternalistic. Interviews show that employers often treat the trafficked women in their service as children without rights, sometimes subjecting them to physical and mental abuse, and placing considerable restrictions on their movements, including low pay and little or no time off. In many cases, employers feel that they are doing the trafficked woman a favor by providing employment that would otherwise be unavailable to an illegal alien. [34] In short, because the conditions of employment within households are invisible to the authorities, working conditions that would be important outside the household are seen as irrelevant. [35]

Forced labor. Debt bondage is the most frequent type of coercion employed against women in labor trafficking situations. Rape and sexual assault are also frequently used by traffickers to “maintain” women in labor trafficking situations. Whatever the technique used to maintain debt bondage, —whether on a rural farm or in an urban sweatshop—the obvious advantage to employing trafficked women is that they are cheap, thus increasing profit and competitive pricing. Money is saved in many ways. Because these businesses are operated on premises that are hidden from public view, they can dispense with health and safety compliance. Of course wages—if any—never match the minimum wage.†† And in fact, wages are garnished to pay the “loans” that financed the trafficked individual’s transportation to the country of destination. [36]

† Sex trade customers commonly report that it is none of their concern if prostitutes are trafficked or even imprisoned in the brothel. While some feel sorry for the prostitute’s situation and may even offer help, they nevertheless continue to purchase her services and expect the same services from trafficked as from non-trafficked prostitutes (Seabrook 2001).

†† “Every floor is a rabbit warren of corridors and numbered doorways, a labyrinth of iron grilles and black wire mesh reminiscent of a reform school, or a prison. Behind every one of these forbidding doors is a garment shop, where mostly undocumented immigrant workers toil away with scissors, sewing machines and industrial irons for poverty-level wages for up to 12 hours a day.” Description of a sweat shop in the south end of downtown Los Angeles (Gumbel 2001).

Divided Public Attitudes

Prostitution. Sex trafficking of women involves commercial sex where the victim's ability to legally consent to the sex act is negated through some form of force, fraud or coercion that is employed against her. There are widely differing views of prostitution and in general who is responsible for it. [37] These often conflicting opinions affect community responses and the extent of police intervention. Public ambivalence is reflected in the incredible patchwork of state and local prostitution laws and ordinances, some punishing the purchase of sexual services, some punishing its sale, some targeting pimps and brothel owners, and still others criminalizing all of the above. The result is inconsistent enforcement by local police, who carry out well-publicized crackdowns from time to time. There is growing evidence that women who are trafficked into prostitution do not differ greatly from domestic prostitutes who have not been trafficked: neither group has chosen the profession voluntarily. Many report that they do not want to work as prostitutes, would leave the profession if they could, and that they were recruited into prostitution as girls or teenagers [38]† Of course, those women who entered into the sex trade as minors, could not have done so voluntarily from a legal standpoint.

† The focus on the victimization of trafficked women has put the spotlight on all prostitutes, making it clear that the trafficked prostitutes are victims, not offenders. Thus, many now advocate that enforcement attention should be shifted to the purchasers of sex. The recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Defense that military personnel purchasing sex will face court martial is the first significant indication of this shift (Jelinek 2004).

Immigration. There are widely differing public views of immigrants, both legal and illegal. During economically difficult times, immigrants are often blamed for stealing jobs and committing crimes, even though there is no definitive evidence to prove either accusation. [39] There is good reason, therefore, for trafficked women to perceive that they are not welcome in their country of destination. In contrast, there is a tradition in some parts of the United States of public support for illegal aliens, stemming from the aid given to political refugees from Central and South America during the 1980s. There continue to be a number of "sanctuary" states and cities that have policies-and in some cases (e.g., Oregon) even laws-that prohibit state and local police agencies from using money or equipment to apprehend suspected violators of federal immigration law. [40] Even many states and cities that are not designated sanctuaries do not report illegal immigrants to the authorities simply because immigration is seen as a matter for federal rather than local law enforcement. All these conflicting views result in one thing: they make it easier for traffickers to keep their victims isolated and out of sight of the authorities.

Organized Crime

Europol [41] classifies trafficking networks into three groups:

(1) Large scale mafia-like networks such as the Russian and Albanian syndicates that control about 60 percent of prostitution in Western Europe. These networks also traffic in drugs,† but more recently have turned to trafficking in women because the profit margins are higher. Highly organized from the recruitment to the exploitation stages, these groups are well connected financially and politically and are typically cruel and brutal in doing business.

(2) Medium scale networks that specialize in trafficking women from a particular recruitment country to a particular destination country. These networks usually arrange transportation and also own their own brothels in the destination country.

(3) Informal "family" networks of individuals who have come together to reap the financial benefits of the opportunities provided by trafficking. These individuals usually have legitimate jobs in other fields and operate trafficking businesses on the side. Much of the buying, selling, and delivery arrangements take place via the Internet.

In general, these observations of the organizational aspects of trafficking have been confirmed for the United States. [42] However, the degree to which trafficking is part of well established organized criminal organizations is unknown.[43]

† Drug use is common in prostitution, serving as another weapon to keep trafficked women dependent on their pimps or managers and isolated from the outside world (Raymond and Hughes 2001).

Attractive Locations

Locations that provide cover for the deployment of trafficked women include the following.

† Military bases are magnets for trafficked women. For example, as a result of the presence of 16,000 U. N. soldiers in Cambodia between February, 1992 and September, 1993, the number of prostitutes in Phnom Penh reportedly increased from 6000 to 20,000 (Ekberg 2004: 1197). This pattern is repeated around military bases within the United States (Raymond and Hughes. 2001).

Understanding Your Local Problem

The information provided above is only a generalized description of the exploitation of trafficked women. You must combine the basic facts with a more specific understanding of your local problem, especially the cultural issues that may face potential victims in your area. Carefully analyzing the local problem will help you design a more effective response strategy. The most difficult problem you will face is the clandestine nature of the exploitation of trafficked women, which is made possible by the isolation and separation of trafficked women from the local community. In the case of forced labor, the locations and situations of trafficked women will be hard to uncover, especially in the case of domestic servitude, which occurs within families that have, by right and tradition, a measure of privacy and separation from government. In the case of the sex trade, although trafficked women are hidden from public view, there is one point of weakness: sex traffickers must break the isolation they maintain in order for their trafficked women to service their customers. In fact, prostitutes are often hidden in plain view; their presence is usually well known in a local community. However, the public may not recognize or know that they are also trafficked women.

Asking the Right Questions

Some critical questions you should ask in analyzing your particular trafficking problem are listed below. The answers to these and other questions will help you choose the most appropriate set of responses later on. The main challenge is to locate the businesses and venues where trafficked women are hidden and to identify which women are trafficked and which are not. This may be particularly difficult in regard to prostitution, because many prostitutes are coerced either into or as part of their working conditions and may also be domestically trafficked.

Police and Community Awareness

Marketing

Venues

Incidents, Offenders, and Victims

Current Responses to the Exploitation of Trafficked Women

† See Problem-Oriented Guide No. 2, Street Prostitution, for additional questions that may also be relevant to women trafficked into the sex trade.

†† See the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office for Minority Health for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) standards

Measuring Your Effectiveness

Measurement will allow you to determine the degree to which your efforts have been successful and can also suggest how your responses can be modified to produce the intended results. Measuring the extent of your problem before you implement remedial responses will allow you to determine how serious the problem is; it will also give you a baseline against which to measure the effectiveness of the responses that you choose to implement. All measures should be taken in both the target area and the surrounding area. For more detailed guidance on measuring effectiveness, see the companion guide to this series, Assessing Responses to Problems: An Introductory Guide for Police Problem-Solvers.

The following are potentially useful measures of the effectiveness of responses to the problem of the human trafficking of women. Their utility, however, will depend upon the specific conditions in your locality, and especially upon the particular aspect of trafficking that you choose to focus upon. For example, if you decide to focus on separating trafficked women from their handlers, the number of foreign women in the sex trade will probably drop. Your follow-up should show that these women have not been trafficked elsewhere and have been provided with the protections afforded them under TVPA.

Responses To The Problem Of Exploiting Trafficked Women

Analyzing your local trafficking problem will give you a better understanding of the factors that contribute to it. Once you have analyzed your local problem and established a baseline for measuring effectiveness, you can consider possible responses to the problem.

The following strategies provide a foundation for addressing local trafficking problems. These strategies are drawn from a variety of studies and police reports; several may apply in your community. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances and that you can justify each response based upon reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve implementing several different responses, because law enforcement alone is seldom effective in reducing or eliminating the problem. Do not limit yourself to considering what police can do: instead, carefully consider who else in your community shares responsibility for the problem and can help address it. The cooperation of local businesses, community organizations, local service providers, and-where applicable-military bases will be essential.

General Considerations for an Effective Response Strategy

Although estimates vary, it is likely that at least one-third of prostitutes are either internationally or domestically trafficked women. [46] The police response to trafficking in women will therefore likely be closely linked to its response to the sex trade. Many of the responses described in the Problem-Oriented Guide on Street Prostitution may therefore apply. However, from the point of view of human trafficking, some reconsideration of established police responses to prostitution is necessary.

The response to the exploitation of trafficked women depends on attitudes-attitudes held by the public, stereotypes held by the purchasers of sex and users of forced labor, and police attitudes towards prostitutes. As far as the sex trade is concerned, from a human trafficking point of view, prostitution is primarily an exploitative activity perpetrated against prostitutes, both by their handlers and by the purchasers of sex. Prostitutes are therefore victims, not offenders. Although controversial, this view is crucial in responding to the problem of trafficked women, because those who traffic women for sex often use the women's criminal designation as a means of exploitation and of keeping the women out of sight of the authorities. It may also provide a ready excuse for purchasers, who may believe that their culpability is lessened because the prostitutes workers are "just" illegal immigrants. In addition some researchers have argued that stereotypes of prostitutes and the failure to take the exploitive nature of prostitution seriously is stronger in the mostly male dominated field of criminal justice.[47] As far as forced labor is concerned, the public, including criminal justice personnel,[48] find it difficult to believe that slave-like working conditions still exist in the twenty-first century, even in America.

Both situations of exploitation make it very difficult to convince trafficked individuals to testify against their traffickers.† Although TVPA was designed to correct this problem, the number of individuals eligible for protection under the act is still very low, for two reasons: first, the definitions of eligibility for TVPA protection are quite restrictive; second, the police-often the first contact with exploited women-are neither trained to identify trafficked women nor to report them to the appropriate authorities according to TVPA requirements. Thus, educating police, prosecutors, and judges is central to solving the problem of exploiting trafficked women.

† A proactive approach to enforcement is necessary because very few cases will be reported to local police. “Physical and psychological control by the traffickers, fear of law enforcement, illegal immigration status, and language barriers are all factors in limiting the possibility of complaints” (National Trafficking Alert System n.d.).

In addition to the information provided in this guide, you can also draw on the resources offered by the U.S. Department of Justice,† the Department of State, and the Department of Health and Human Services to develop training courses that will introduce police to the ethnic and cultural issues embedded in this problem and to the skills necessary in interviewing and uncovering victims of trafficking.

† In conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR) has developed a detailed instructional program for trainers who can then return to their departments and train local officers (SPOG 2005). For further information, visit the IIR website at http://www.iir.com/.

Besides training, there are a number of preparatory responses that should be undertaken before attempting any of the specific responses recommended below. These are clearly necessary, because it is not possible to reduce the exploitation of trafficked women without having the skills, training, and experience to identify the problem. You should consult the earlier section called Asking the Right Questions as you read the following, which describes the steps that should be taken to prepare for the responses that are directed specifically at reducing and preventing the exploitation of trafficked women.

Preparatory Responses for Identifying the Problem

1. Locating trafficked women. [49] Illegal immigrants are not necessarily trafficked, and trafficking victims are not always illegal immigrants. Thus, although brothels are commonly placed in migrant areas, police should not assume that they will always find trafficked women in those areas. In fact, exploiters may keep victims away from areas where their languages are spoken, even while catering to customers who speak those languages †. The obvious place to begin looking for evidence of trafficking is with the vice squad, which will certainly have had contact with trafficked women, although unless they have been trained to look for them, they may not know it. Indicators of the presence of trafficked women and venues where they may be found include:

See “Overcoming Language Barriers: Solutions for Law Enforcement” PDF

If there are no visible signs of the sex trade in your area, you should investigate the informal network that exists in all localities. Word of mouth, whether from a bartender or a taxi driver, is a typical way of finding out about the underground sex trade. Remember, the purveyors of sex must advertise their services; if customers can learn about these services, so can you.

2.Identifying trafficked women. Interviewing women to determine their immigration status requires training and skill. It is particularly difficult to overcome the deep-seated fear and distrust that many such women have of police and other government officials. And in fact, until the passage of TVPA this fear was well grounded, because women who were identified as trafficked were arrested and deported. Furthermore, many trafficked women are trained in what to say to police by their exploiters. [50] They may also be fearful of reprisals by their exploiters for speaking to police, or anyone outside their organization for that matter. The following are indications of possible trafficking. [51]

3. Protecting trafficked women. How you deal with specific incidents of trafficking is important, not only to the welfare of the victim, but also to establishing relationships with other trafficked women and community groups that may be able to assist in solving the problem of trafficked women. Once you have identified trafficked women, you must protect them from their traffickers and inform them of their rights under TVPA. In cases of severe victimization, you should prevent the woman from returning to her home or workplace, because the risk is very high that the victim will be quickly trafficked to another location and will remain in constant threat of physical abuse. You can help the victim by doing the following.

BOX 4: HELP FOR VICTIMS

The toll-free Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force complaint line, at 888.428.7581 (voice and TTY), is staffed by personnel who have access to interpreters and can speak with callers in many languages. Located at DOJ, it helps answer questions, takes a case forward, and refers to prosecutors.

For translation assistance and other advice on identifying trafficking cases, call the National Trafficking in Persons Hotline: 1.866.US.TIPLINE

Other Hotlines:

Department of Health and Human Services Hotline: 888.373.7888. Provides links to service providers working with trafficked persons across the country.

U.S. Office of Refugee Settlement: 202.401.4825

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services: 202.541.3385

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services: 410.230.2725

National Korean Hotline: 1.888.9.POLARIS

National Thai Hotline: 1.866.856.THAI

National Spanish Hotline: 1.888.80.AYUDA

4. Working with service organizations. As noted, the chances of a trafficked woman revealing her status to a police officer are limited. She may, however, reach out to other groups or agencies. You should therefore:

These can be important sources of information on identifying trafficked women and for supporting and assisting trafficked women once they are identified. Do not assume that these organizations are aware of the plight of trafficked women. The idea that something like slavery still exists in the United States is difficult for most people to believe.

5. Educating the public about human trafficking. Public education through outreach programs and publicizing particular cases that have been successfully prosecuted through the media can raise awareness of human trafficking problems. Efforts to enforce laws against the exploitation of trafficked women, especially prostitution, will be severely limited without public support. Many of the responses below require money, resources, and changes in the local community environment. It will be difficult or impossible to accomplish these goals without community support.† There are many websites that provide posters, brochures, and other materials that can be useful in educating the public about human trafficking; many of these are available in multiple languages. However, probably the most effective means of publicity is informing the media when cases of human trafficking are discovered in your community or elsewhere. There are many such cases available on the web, such as those reported by the Palm Beach Post in Florida. [52]

† The learning module on Street Prostitution (available on the POP Center website at http://www.popcenter.org/learning/) provides an excellent opportunity to learn how to respond to the problem of prostitution and emphasizes especially the role of community support in accomplishing the goals of problem-oriented policing.

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

A search on the web for anti-slavery and anti-human trafficking websites produces
many promotional materials

Specific Responses to the Exploitation of Trafficked Women

There are three approaches to reducing or preventing the exploitation of trafficked women:

Enforcing Laws Against Traffickers and Men Who Purchase Sex

6. Adopting an unambiguous enforcement policy. Enforcement attitudes to the sex trade are currently in flux. At the international level, some countries such as Sweden argue that trafficked prostitutes are victims rather than offender and that the purchasers of sex should be punished, not the sex workers themselves. This view was first translated into law in Sweden in 1998, and has increasingly become policy of the U.S. Department of State, and the Department of Defense. It is too early to tell whether this approach will be translated into policy or law at the local levels of criminal justice, or whether it will contribute to the reduction of trafficking in women for the sex trade, as claimed by some early Swedish research (see Response No. 8). [53] Whatever policy your department adopts, it should be clear and unambiguous, leaving no room for ambivalent enforcement, such as occasional sweeps and raids (see Response 17). The success of any policy also depends upon training officers to understand the diverse ethnic and cultural issues outlined in the preparatory responses above, and the clarity with which the policy of enforcement is applied in that setting.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Look Beneath The Surface

7.Working with immigration and Labor Department officials. Developing a close working relationship with immigration officials is essential to the successful investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases because the victim is always the key witness. It will also help in identifying trafficked women and in establishing their immigrant or refugee status. Unfortunately, there is a long history of conflict between local police and federal immigration officials in many parts of the United States. Even though local police have the legal and constitutional responsibility to enforce federal immigration law, they may lack the local authority to intervene or be concerned that enforcing immigration laws will damage their acceptance in local immigrant communities. [54] As noted, some states and sanctuary cities have even passed laws forbidding police from enforcing immigration laws. Because the situation of trafficked women is complicated by their ambiguous status as both illegal aliens and crime victims, extensive policies and procedures must be worked out between local and federal officials, especially in terms of establishing the status of one who has suffered a "severe form of human trafficking" as defined by the TVPA. Without cooperation on both sides, a trafficking victim could be deported or detained for immigration related crimes, thus losing the valuable eyewitness testimony needed to prosecute traffickers. Indeed, in fiscal year 2004, only 43 individuals were convicted of trafficking offenses under the TVPA by the U.S. Department of Justice. [55]

When potential traffickers are encountered, their immigration status can often be verified if they have been issued an Alien Number (also known as an "A number"). ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) maintains a 24/7 hotline (866-347-2423) for U.S. law enforcement officers (called the Law Enforcement Service Center) that can be called to see if a trafficker is already in the ICE system. If a trafficker is not legal, he or she can often be held on immigration charges (smuggling, transporting, or harboring illegal aliens) while a human trafficking investigation continues.

Department of Labor (DOL) officials can also be crucial allies in combating the exploitation of women through forced labor. Federal officials from the Wage and Hour Division of DOL can walk onto a worksite and immediately demand to see the I-9 forms of all immigrant workers employed there (law enforcement officials might otherwise need a subpoena to see these same documents). The DOL Wage and Hour Division can also ensure that immigrant workers are paid what they are owed under the law and can help verify subsequent victim claims for legal compensation from their traffickers for lost wages and benefits.

8. Using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1996 (RICO). Because their labor costs are minimal and they do not comply with standard health and safety regulations, the owners of brothels and sweatshops who use trafficked labor have an unfair competitive advantage over their rivals. Thus, they are ripe for civil suits aimed at their bottom line. RICO can be especially effective in that regard, as it allows for treble damages. Originally enacted by the U.S. Congress to facilitate the prosecution of organized crime, a number of significant RICO cases have found against sweatshops that benefit economically from employing illegal immigrants or trafficked labor. [56] This approach has been used successfully in prostitution cases as well.† Additionally, as recommended in Problem Specific Guide No. 2, Street Prostitution, strict enforcement of zoning laws, nuisance abatement ordinances, and business licensing regulations against properties that allow prostitution can serve to make your community inhospitable to exploiters and traffickers. (See also Responses 13-16.)

† In 2001, police and state and federal prosecutors combined their efforts to prosecute a network of competing pimps The men were convicted of extortion and involuntary servitude as well as forming a RICO conspiracy (de Baca and Tisi 2002).

9. Punishing the purchasers of sexual services and not the sex trade workers. As noted above, in 1998, Sweden passed a law prohibiting the purchase of sexual services. Although the punishment of commercial sex traffickers continued, the law made it clear that rather than being the sellers of sex, prostitutes were in fact the product that was being sold. Swedish authorities claim that as a result of the law the majority of sex purchasers have disappeared and that the number of women trafficked to Sweden has not increased, as it has in other Western European nations. [57] Sweden found, however, that although the law had widespread public support, judges and prosecutors were slow to adopt the view that they should prosecute the buyers rather than the prostitutes. The Swedish police also opposed the law when it was originally enacted.†

† The enforcement of this law has proven very difficult, not only because of attitudes of law enforcement about prostitution, but also because of serious difficulty in interpreting the language of the law, which in many circumstances seems to leave open the possibility of prosecuting prostitutes. In some cases prostitutes have threatened to expose their clients unless they were paid more money. Others have questioned the Swedish government’s claim that prostitution by trafficked women has not increased at the same rate as other more liberal European countries (Kulick 2003). It is reasonable to conclude that there are no studies of sufficient scientific quality to support either side of the argument.

Although U.S. laws that specify punishments for men who solicit prostitutes vary enormously, they usually impose fines, probation, community service, and publicity; in almost every case they constitute misdemeanors. Publishing the names of buyers of sex has been found to be effective-although there are some difficult legal issues involved [58] -and community service has been found to be more effective than fines or jail time (see the Problem-Oriented Guide on Street Prostitution). Some U.S. cities, such as Los Angeles, California and West Palm Beach, Florida have introduced car confiscation programs for men who solicit prostitutes. Other programs combine these punishments with attempts to educate offenders about the social consequences of their acts (see Response 10). The extent to which these programs have been effective in reducing the prostitution of trafficked women in the United States has not been thoroughly researched, but early indications are that they may be effective. [59] For example, in response to the recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Defense of a zero tolerance policy for military personnel who solicit prostitutes, Korea has announced that it will close all red light districts that are adjacent to U.S. military bases. [60]

10. Changing the attitudes of prostitution customers. A number of cities have introduced "john schools," in which men convicted of purchasing sex are educated about the damaging consequences that their behavior has on the lives of prostitutes. Various programs of this kind operate in cities such as Portland, Oregon and St. Paul, Minnesota. These may be applied to first time offenders only, as is the case in San Francisco, California, or to all offenders. In general, studies in the United States and Canada have found these programs to be very effective in reducing recidivism.† When enforcement is focused on the buyers, the cost of providing sexual services is increased, because johns, fearful of getting caught, demand higher levels of security, such as private escorts to the place of business. [61] However, commercial sex clients in ethnic or immigrant communities may display differences in their approach to purchasing sex. The cultural orientation of those from regions of the world where prostitution is either legal, tolerated, or encouraged may influence both their behavior and their response to arrest.

†“Of the 1512 men completing the First Offender Prostitution Program in San Francisco (from 3/95 to 3/98), only 14 men had been re-arrested for soliciting a prostitute anywhere in California” (Hughes 2004a: 40).

11. Notifying those with influence over client conduct. Employers, schools, the military, convention organizers, and other individuals and groups can often exert significant informal influence over the conduct of the clients of prostitution. This influence can be leveraged by seeking third-party cooperation to discipline clients who come to police attention. This strategy is not intended merely to shame clients; rather, it is intended to change their behavior through disciplinary systems outside the formal justice system. Keep in mind, however, that some forms of discipline, such as termination of employment, can be severe.

Making the Local Environment Inhospitable to Exploitation of Trafficked Women

While focusing on the demand side of sexual exploitation shows considerable promise, it cannot on its own eradicate prostitution from your locality. This is because the alleged demand by men for sex is not really that strong. For example, in the United States, where about 16 percent of men report having paid for a sex act, only 0.6 percent admit to doing so on a regular basis. [62] In other countries, particularly Latin and Asian countries, the percentage of men who admit to paying for sex is as high as 70 percent. It follows that the demand by men for sex is related to the opportunities and cultural norms that prevail in their respective environments. Therefore, reducing opportunities to buy sex by removing the sex trade from your area stands a very good chance of drastically reducing both prostitution and the exploitation of women.

It can be argued that such a response will merely displace the activity. Although there has been no research on displacement of prostitution, research on the displacement of other crimes suggests that sometimes displacement occurs and sometimes it does not, depending on the particular crime and environment. [63] It has also been found that other crimes may decrease as a result of successful efforts to thwart a specific crime ("diffusion of benefits"). The following responses are adapted from the Problem-Oriented Guide on Street Prostitution. We strongly recommend that you consult that Guide for further information.

Making an area inhospitable for prostitution helps discourage the exploitation of trafficked women.

Making an area inhospitable for prostitution helps
discourage the exploitation of trafficked women.

(source: http://richmondthenandnow.com)

12. Enforcing zoning laws, nuisance abatement ordinances, and business licensing regulations against the owners of properties used for prostitution or forced labor. Prostitution markets depend on other businesses to support them. The police and other enforcement agencies can exert pressure on those businesses by enforcing civil laws and business regulations. Zoning regulations that restrict the sorts of businesses that support prostitution, such as adult entertainment, can be effective. Zoning restrictions have been key in the redevelopment of Times Square in New York City, where prostitution has significantly declined.[64] The police and private parties can file nuisance abatement actions against businesses that support prostitution or forced labor. You should get advice and support from legal counsel before pursuing these options.†

† The Nassau County Police Department (New York) eliminated illegal massage parlors by targeting property owners, in partnership with the local county clerk, fire marshal, and building department (Goldstein submission). In 1999, similar results were achieved by the Chattanooga Police Department (Tennessee), which served eviction notices and initiated building condemnations (Goldstein submission).

13.Warning and educating property owners about the use of their premises for prostitution or forced labor. Many property owners unwittingly support street prostitution because they fail to appreciate how their business practices allow it to flourish.† You can remind them of their legal obligations and provide business owners and their employees with specific training to help them prevent their properties from being used for prostitution. It is also possible that owners of property that house sweatshops may not realize that the workers are trafficked. You should make sure that they know the warning signs of trafficking. Developing training programs by partnering with businesses in entertainment districts should also assist in identifying trafficked women whether into forced labor or the sex trade.

† In 1998, the South Mountain Police Precinct (Arizona) identified nuisance rental properties owned by absentee landlords as contributing to prostitution and drug dealing. To alleviate the problem, landlords were required to attend seminars that detailed the debilitating effects of property neglect and offered training on property management. In combination with considerable community support and the release of successful cases to local media, the program led to a successful neighborhood revitalization (Goldstein submission).

14. Establishing a highly visible police presence. A highly visible police presence, typically with extra uniformed officers, can discourage street prostitution and may discourage off- street prostitution as well. An extra police presence is expensive, of course, and is only effective if followed up with more permanent strategies; remember too that a heavy police presence can create the perception that an area is unsafe. Alternative methods for establishing a police presence include opening a police station in the area, such as in a storefront, a mobile office, or a kiosk, or affixing anti-prostitution warnings to police patrol vehicles. Private security forces can also be deployed to supplement a police presence.

15. Redeveloping the local economy. The exploitation of trafficked women flourishes in substandard social and economic environments: street prostitution markets thrive under marginal economic conditions; run-down apartments in impoverished neighborhoods are often all that are available to illegal immigrants, who can afford only the cheapest housing; dilapidated buildings in old industrial areas are commonly used for sweatshops. Thus, it follows that economic redevelopment is often necessary to permanently eliminate prostitution markets and forced labor. The idea is that improved economic conditions will foster the establishment of new businesses that are less hospitable to prostitution markets and sweatshops. Although economic redevelopment usually cannot occur without a substantial investment of governmental and private resources, police can play an important role in bringing the need for redevelopment to the attention of the appropriate authorities.†

† Working with local communities to change high risk areas using civil remedies, as suggested in Responses 13, 14 and 16, can be very complicated and is not always effective (Mazerolle and Roehl 1999).

Responses With Limited Effectiveness

16. Legalizing or otherwise tolerating prostitution. There are two closely-related reasons usually advanced for legalizing prostitution. First, decriminalization puts buying and selling sex on the same footing as other commercial enterprises, thereby removing both the moral stigma and the well-known criminal justice issues that surround the policing of the sex trade. Second, when the sex trade is treated like any other business, it becomes subject to all the usual health, safety, and environmental regulations, thus protecting the health and welfare of the prostitutes. The latter was the rationale underlying the legalization of prostitution in New Zealand in 2004. There is evidence, however, that because compliance with health and safety regulations increases the cost of doing business, legal prostitution can create a black market sex trade populated by trafficked women. Legalization can also lead to an increase in the demand for the sale of sex,[65] because as legitimate businessmen the purveyors of prostitution can use sales and advertising tactics to increase their market shares. A final issue, which is the crux of this policy debate, is the moral argument: that prostitution converts a woman's body into a commodity, even if she does it willingly.< [66] Clearly, this debate involves deep philosophical questions that no single police department can solve on its own, at least not without lengthy consultation with civic and community leaders.

17. Punishing prostitutes. Although in most jurisdictions of the U.S. the prostitute remains criminally liable for her actions, the levels of enforcement or punishment that are applied against prostitutes vary enormously across jurisdictions and communities. The idea that prostitutes are both offenders and victims provides excuses either for inaction or for inconsistent and ineffective enforcement practices, such as sudden sweeps and raids - perhaps the most common police response (see the Problem-Oriented Guide on Street Prostitution). Because of the highly vulnerable situation of a trafficked woman who is a sex worker, punishment will most likely drive her further into the clutches of her traffickers, ensuring that she will never cooperate with the police, making investigation and prosecution of traffickers that much more difficult. It will be necessary, therefore, for your department to have a clear policy on the levels of enforcement to be applied to prostitutes, and for the vice squad, should there be one, to be well trained in detecting the presence of trafficked women in advance of any crackdowns or raids.

Summary of Responses

The table below summarizes various responses to the problem of the human trafficking of women, the mechanisms by which they are intended to work, the conditions under which they should work best, and factors that should be considered before a particular response is implemented. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances and that you can justify each response based upon reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve several different responses, because law enforcement alone is seldom effective in reducing or solving the problem.


Preparatory Responses
## Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
1 Locating trafficked women Police are trained in identifying trafficking venues and marketing practices … police know their localities well and can obtain information from informal networks Not all illegal immigrants are trafficked and vice versa
2 Identifying trafficked women Police interview victims looking for signs of trafficking … police are well trained in interviewing victims of trafficking and NGOs are brought into the interviews Victims may not talk to police because of fear of arrest or reprisals from captors
3 Protecting trafficked women Police protect the victim from immediate violence, report the case to the national trafficking hotline, and inform the ictim of her rights under TVPA … police have a close working relationship with local community groups that can provide refuge Police must be skilled interviewers to overcome the victim’s fear of authorities
4 Working with service organizations You educate local community groups and health agencies concerning the plight of trafficked women so that they will help identify them and provide support … you gain their confidence, make use of their support services, and refer victims to them Requires long-term commitment to develop enduring partnerships; some community groups may be reticent to inform police of illegal immigrants in the community
5 Educating the public Public support makes possible changes needed in enforcement and prevention of trafficking … you use available materials and sources concerning human trafficking Outreach programs with schools and community groups and use of the media for publicity will help
Enforcing Laws Against Traffickers and Men Who Purchase Sex
## Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
6 Directing enforcement at pimps and purchasers Denies traffickers the opportunity to deploy trafficked women in your neighborhood … you have the cooperation of both local government and the general public Depends on changing the attitudes of public officials towards prostitution
7 Working closely with immigration officials Smoothes the process of protecting the victim and obtaining witness testimony … carefully worked out policies and procedures are agreed upon by both parties Conflicting laws and practices work against local police enforcement of federal immigration law, especially in sanctuary states and cities
8 Using RICO Lawsuits and ordinances are used to raise the cost of doing business, thus pressuring sweatshops and brothels to relocate … you have close relationships with labor and business organizations, as well as the prosecutor’s office When lawyers become involved, expenses escalate
Reducing Demand
## Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
9 Punishing the purchasers of sexual services Serious punishments are used to deter men from buying sex … criminal justice personnel are committed to the view that the purchase of sex is a form of male violence Depends on the extent to which the public supports the policy
10 Changing the attitudes of prostitution customers Offenders submit to psychological and educational programs that teach the exploitative nature of their acts ... judges and prosecutors are convinced of the effectiveness of these programs Studies have shown these programs to be very effective in reducing recidivism, although their effectiveness in overcoming ethnic or cultural values condoning prostitution have not been tested
11 Notifying those with influence over the purchaser’s conduct Creates meaningful consequences for the purchaser … purchasers are influenced by informal social controls Some penalties (e.g., termination from employment) may be harsher than some believe is fair
Making the Local Environment Inhospitable to Exploitation of Trafficked Women
## Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
12 Enforcing zoning laws, nuisance abatement ordinances, and licensing regulations against properties used for prostitution Restricts the availability of locations for sexual activities; discourages the use of motels and hotels for prostitution … sexual transactions or forced labor take place on properties subject to regulation Civil law processes can be cumbersome and are unfamiliar to police; requires support from government lawyers
13 Warning property owners about the use of their premises for prostitution or forced labor Increases property owners' willingness to prohibit prostitution or forced labor on their property … forced labor takes place on those properties Some property owners may feel they are being unfairly accused
14 Establishing a highly visible police presence Discourages both prostitutes and clients from negotiations … followed by changes to the environment where street prostitution occurs Labor intensive; creates the perception that the area is unsafe
15 Redeveloping the area economy Promotes legitimate activity to displace illegitimate activity … improvements will substantially change the conditions that allow prostitution or forced labor to flourish Costly in the short term; potential displacement to more vulnerable areas
Responses With Limited Effectiveness
## Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
16 Legalizing or otherwise tolerating prostitution Creates a black market for cheap trafficked prostitutes   Rests on debates concerning public morality, which police departments cannot solve on their own
17 Punishing prostitutes Leads to inconsistent and ineffective enforcement   Drives trafficked women into the clutches of traffickers, making investigation and prosecution difficult

Endnotes

[1] Tiefenbrun (2002:136).[Full Text]

[2]US Department of State (2005). [Full Text]

[3]Bales Fletcher and Stover (2004)[Full Text].

[4] International Labour Office (2003).[Full Text]

[5] TVPA (2000).[Full Text]

[6]Salt (2000); Laczko and Gramegna (2003).

[7] U.S. Department of State (2004)[Full Text]. How these figures were computed remains unclear. The number of women assisted as a result of TVPA is substantially lower, in the hundreds Bales Fletcher and Stover (2004:10)[Full Text].

[8] Kangaspunta (2003).[Full Text]

[9] Tiefenbrun (2002:139-141).[Full Text]

[10] U.S. Department of Justice (2004).[Full Text]

[11] MacPherson and Gushulak (2004).[Full Text]

[12] Gushulak and MacPherson (2000).

[13] Gushulak and MacPherson (2000).

[14]Gumbel (2001); Bales Fletcher and Stover (2004)[Full Text].

[15] Walter (2002).

[16]Stuart Police Department (2001).

[17] National City Police Department (2000). [Full Text]

[18]Ryf (2002:50).

[19] Human Rights Watch (2001).[Full Text]

[20] Guerette (2004).

[21] Cwikel et al. (2004). Early exposure to trauma also increases the chances that a woman will be recruited.

[22] Stone (2004).[Full Text]

[23] Raymond and Hughes (2001).[Full Text]

[24] Florida State University (2003).[Full Text]

[25] Hughes (2001).[Full Text]

[26] Parrado et al. (2004).

[27] Raymond and Hughes (2001).[Full Text]

[28] United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) (2003).[Full Text]

[29] TVPA (2000).[Full Text]

[30] 8 U.S.C. sec. 1227(a)(1)(E)(i). [Full Text]

[31]U.S. Department of State (2004).[Full Text]

[32]Anderson and O’Connell Davidson (2003).

[33] Raymond and Hughes (2001)[Full Text]; Hughes (2004a).[Full Text]

[34]Wijers and Lap-Chew (1999); Zarembka (2000)[Full Text]; Anderson and O’Connell Davidson (2003).

[35] Human Rights Watch (2001)[Full Text]; Anderson and O’Connell Davidson (2003).

[36]Bales Fletcher and Stover (2004)[Full Text].

[37] Scott (2000).[Full Text]

[38]  Hughes (2004a).[Full Text]

[39] See generally Freilich and Newman (2005).

[40] Seghetti et al. (2004).[Full Text]

[41] Nordic Institute for Women’s Studies and Gender Research (2002).

[42]Raymond and Hughes (2001)[Full Text]; Ryf (2002: 20).

[43]Salt (2000).

[44] Kansas City, Missouri Police Department (2004).[Full Text]

[45]Mackenzieet al. (2003).[Full Text]

[46] Raymond and Hughes (2001).[Full Text]

[47]Hughes (2004a).[Full Text]

[48] Torrey and Dubin (2003).

[49] Hughes (2003).[Full Text]

[50] National Trafficking Alert System (no date).[Full Text]

[51] Venkatraman (2003).

[52]See http://www.palmbeachpost.com/moderndayslavery/content/moderndayslavery/

[53] Jacobson (2002).[Full Text]

[54] Edwards (2003).[Full Text]

[55] SPOG (2005).[Full Text]

[56] King (2003).[Full Text]

[57] Ekberg (2004).

[58] Persons (1996).

[59] Hughes (2004a).[Full Text]

[60] Hughes (2004a).[Full Text]

[61] Hughes (2004a:27).[Full Text]

[62]Hughes (2004a).

[63] Hesseling (1994). [Full Text]

[64] Weidner (1999).

[65] Raymond (2004).

[66] Hughes (2004a)[Full Text]; Ekberg (2004); Nordic Institute for Women’s Studies and Gender Research (2002).

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Related POP Projects

Important!

The quality and focus of these submissions vary considerably. With the exception of those submissions selected as winners or finalists, these documents are unedited and are reproduced in the condition in which they were submitted. They may nevertheless contain useful information or may report innovative projects.

Building Bridges by Mending Fences: The Revitalization of Colony Court Apartment Complex, Stuart Police Department (Stuart, FL, US), 2001

Elimination of Illegal Massage Parlors, Nassau County Police Department, 1995

Operation Focus 2000, Chattanooga Police Department, 1999

"Q" Avenue Project, National City Police Department (National City, CA, US),

The South Mountain Precinct Nuisance Abatement Program, Phoenix Police Department, 1998

Westside CAN Center: Day Laborer Project, Kansas City Police Department, 2004