Human trafficking is a serious human rights violation.
This article also provides an overview of federal and Texas anti-trafficking laws and how these laws address demand within their texts. Finally, the article provides an overview of some common demand reduction techniques. For many years, human trafficking was primarily understood as an international problem; however, it has become increasingly clear in the recent years that this is a domestic issue as well.
Texas is believed to be a particular hotspot for human trafficking due to its large cities, international airports, busy interstate highways, and shared border with Mexico. Texas was the second most common origin of calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center inwith 9. While trafficking is a serious problem in Texas, the state was also an early adopter of anti-trafficking legislation. Init became one of the first states in the country to codify human trafficking language.
As the anti-trafficking movement has grown over the past decade, understandings and approaches have evolved considerably. This article primarily addresses an approach known as combatting sex trafficking by addressing demand, which has been on the horizon in recent years and is quickly building momentum.
We examine this issue by first providing a context for understanding the different actors in the market for sex trafficking and illegal commercial sex, then addressing the federal and Texas state legislative responses to combatting this problem, and last, providing a brief overview of commonly used tactics to combat demand. According to basic principles of economics, market prices are determined by the intersecting forces of supply and demand [ 3 ].
Both forces are necessary to sustain any market, including, in this case, the market for illegal commercial sex.
In the market for illegal commercial sex, there is no demand for trafficked individuals per sealthough there is a demand for particular types commercial sex that can only be provided by trafficked individuals, such as children. This is because demand for the service provided by a trafficked individual could, in many instances, just as easily be met by a non-trafficked individual.
Any demand for illegal commercial sex is therefore inextricable from a general demand for sex trafficking. The tangled relationship between demand for sex trafficking and demand for illegal commercial sex has led to the importance of demand reduction being recognized by the U. Inthe U. On the local level, this has resulted in increased efforts by law enforcement to target buyers in some jurisdictions.
Other terms for such an individual include manager and market facilitator. Additionally, a pimp who facilitates commercial sex transactions with a minor is always engaged in trafficking [ 78 ].
Research about pimps and traffickers has been limited and difficult due to the illegal nature of their work. According to a sample of incarcerated pimps, they are mostly, but not always, male and diverse in terms of race and level of education [ 6 ].
Although African-American offenders appear to constitute a disproportionately large percentage of arrested and convicted pimps and traffickers [ 6 ], it is unclear whether they are representative of all pimps or whether African-American offenders are more likely to be arrested and convicted. Reported entry points into pimping are varied and include family experience with pimping or prostitution, neighborhood context and community influence, transitioning from drug dealing, recruitment by women in prostitution, and mentorship by other pimps [ 40 ].
Female pimps can enter into pimping from formerly being prostituted individuals themselves [ 40 ]. Traffickers are similarly diverse and have no standard profile, ranging from strangers to boyfriends to family members.
Trafficking can range from a small, local operation to an organized crime operation involving a large of victims [ 9 ]. While transnational trafficking rings do exist, the prevalence of organized crime involvement in transnational sex trafficking is currently not known. Gangs are sometimes involved in pimping, providing protection for individuals in prostitution and sex trafficking.
The overall frequency of gang involvement in pimping and trafficking is not known. While gangs and cartels have been identified as key actors in trafficking activity along the border, pimping is generally not considered to be a crime most commonly perpetrated by gangs or organized crime networks [ 6 ].
Instead, many pimps are organized in an informal social network, sharing or exchanging employees, resources, and information to avoid detection by law enforcement [ 6 ]. Some pimps manage massage parlors or other sexually oriented businesses, using them as fronts for underground prostitution.
Additionally, pimps can have relationships with legal businesses, such as hotels, which facilitate their criminal behavior [ 6 ]. Pimps vary in the age and demographics of the individuals they recruit into prostitution.
Some pimps recruit minors, while some avoid recruiting minors, citing ethical or pragmatic i. Pimps frequently impose rules and quotas on their workers and can punish rule-breaking through violence or other forms of coercion [ 6 ]. However, levels of coercion and exploitation can vary widely among pimps and managers [ 101139 ].
Individuals in prostitution comprise a diverse population. Age of entry and race vary considerably, as do reasons for entry into a life of prostitution.
Reasons include economic need; homelessness; encouragement of family members, friends, or acquaintances; support for substance abuse habits; desire for social and emotional acceptance particularly for transgender individuals ; and continuation from other forms of commercial sex such as stripping [ 12 ].
Some individuals enter prostitution due to an inability to find any other job, others have ly held legitimate employment but found their wages insufficient to live on, and still others have legitimate employment and use prostitution as a supplemental source of income [ 13 ]. Some individuals in prostitution work for pimps, while others work independently, and individuals in prostitution can transition from working with pimps to working independently, or vice-versa [ 6 ].
Individuals in prostitution are generally divided into indoor prostitutes and street-based prostitutes. Indoor prostitution is characterized by solicitation and sexual exchange occurring off the street and includes individuals who work in brothels, in massage parlors, independently in their own homes, and as escorts.
The percentage of individuals in street versus indoor prostitution is uncertain, although some have suggested that while street prostitution is more commonly studied, it constitutes a minority of overall prostitution [ 12 ]. Recent decades have seen increasing use of the Internet by individuals in prostitution in order to solicit buyers by postingand use of the Internet is likely helping to expand the underground commercial sex market by providing a new venue to solicit prostitution [ 6 ]. Risks reported by individuals in street and indoor prostitution include law enforcement and arrest including violence and assault by law enforcementviolence and coercion from pimps, and the possibility of abuse and violence from buyers [ 13 ].
Studies have suggested that non-trafficked individuals in indoor prostitution are less vulnerable to violence than individuals in street prostitution [ 12 ].
Individuals in street prostitution often face greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and problems associated with substance abuse [ 6 ]. Additionally, the stigma associated with prostitution, particularly street prostitution, is a source of stress to individuals [ 14 ].
Individuals who are trafficked for sex include both domestic individuals and migrants from other countries.
Migrants from other countries who are ultimately sex-trafficked may initially immigrate in the belief that they would find legal employment in the U. Some other migrants may immigrate with the knowledge that they would be employed in the sex industry upon arriving in the U. In order to understand the market for illegal commercial sex and the state of demand in Texas, it is essential to have an accurate understanding of the buyers of commercial sex. This position typically contends that sex buyers are men of inferior psychological or moral character who are more likely than other men to engage in other forms of criminality, believe in rape myths which are considered predictors of likelihood to commit sexual assault, or prone to actually assaulting women [ 17 ].
Methods aimed at addressing this theory of the customers often focus on their status as sick or depraved individuals.
Responses therefore often range from a focus on sexual addiction and anger management to calls for increased incarceration and incapacitation of Johns as potentially dangerous offenders. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the ordinary man perspective proposes that there are few meaningful demographic or psychological differences between buyers and non-buyers.
In this view, men who purchase sex are not necessarily troubled individuals with histories of mental illness or antisocial behavior, nor are they criminals who simply expanded their activities to the commercial sex market [ 17 ]. However, these assumptions are inaccurate because the vast majority of men both in the United States and abroad do not purchase sex.
In the United States, only 16 percent of adult men have ever purchased sex and only 1 percent of those did so in the last year [ 17 ]. These s are even lower in other countries like the United Kingdom where the percentage is as low as 7 percent [ 18 ]. The percentages seem to indicate that the acceptance and patronization of prostitution is at least somewhat culturally determined and may not an unavoidable byproduct of society.
These are buyers that purchase habitually and continually and they are the ones that purchase the highest volume of commercial sex acts and thus provide the demand necessary to sustain the market. These buyers often congregate and discuss purchasing sex on online forums and review sites [ 19 ]. When these men meet online, they trade tips on avoiding police stings, review providers, and inform each other of places to purchase sex [ 19 ].
When compared to non-buyers and even less active buyers, this subpopulation tends to be whiter, richer, older, less likely to be married, more educated, more sexually liberal, more likely to believe that prostituted individuals enjoy their jobs, and more committed to participating in the commercial sex market [ 19 ]. When these men do have wives or regular partners, there is often a mismatch in sexual desire between these men and their ificant other as they are likely to enjoy sex more than their partner or to enjoy a different type of sex [ 20 ].
Their higher social status, increased knowledge, and ability to pay for higher priced indoor prostitution largely insulates them from public shaming efforts, or criminal prosecution [ 20 ]. Although this experience is at least superficially more intimate than other types of prostitution, it is still purposefully limited by the transactional nature of the interaction.
Finally, there is another subset of customers with socially conservative attitudes that are judgmental toward prostituted individuals and more likely to enjoy violence and violent sexuality [ 1721 ]. S omewhat counterintuitively, it is not the men that have a consumerist or transaction-focused attitude toward sex that are most likely to exhibit these traits.
These men purchase sex in order to experience intimacy and to reinforce their masculinity and thus may act out through violence in order to assert control or when they become frustrated by a perceived lack of enthusiasm by the prostituted individual [ 21 ].
These men may judge women harshly for their sexuality and view themselves as good people [ 17 ].
At the same time, they are patronizing prostituted individuals. The conflict between the actions, behaviors, and self-concept of these men may lead them to blame the women they engage with for enticing them into violating their morals [ 17 ]. This anger can lead to violence against prostituted individuals and these men may for much of the violence against them [ 22 ]. Purchasing sex is not part of the self-identity of these men.
These men generally do not differ ificantly from non-buyers in their demographics, attitudes, or propensity toward violence [ 17 ]. These men are probably the most likely to be picked up in reverse stings due to their inexperience with purchasing sex and possibly the most likely to be deterred from reoffending due to the shock of arrest, shaming, and possible jail time or John schools these demand-reduction tactics will be discussed in greater detail later in this article [ 23 ].
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