Global Sex Trafficking & the Guy Next Door - The Need To End Demand (HuffPo)

January 11, 2013 - 18:00

1/11/2013 -- Huffington Post -- "Global Sex Trafficking & the Guy Next Door" On Human Trafficking Awareness Day, New York Office Director Lauren Hersh discusses the need to address the role of demand in the fight against sex trafficking.

Scroll through an online search of "prostitution" and "victim" and the words "victimless crime" appear often. In the year 2013, how is the sale of a human being considered victimless?

On January 11--Human Trafficking Awareness Day--we reflect on the progress made and the strategies needed to stem this multi-billion dollar industry. As awareness of trafficking grows, now is the time to be very clear about the causes, the impacts and the remedies. To effectively combat sex trafficking, a paradigm shift is necessary to recognize the definitive link between prostitution and trafficking and that those who buy sex fuel trafficking.

The commercial sex industry preys on women and girls who are particularly vulnerable. Most have experienced significant trauma and many are still children when they enter prostitution. The end destination for the majority of sex trafficking victims is prostitution, which, by its nature, is dangerous and dehumanizing.

According to the US Department of State, research in nine countries concluded that 60 to 75 percent of women in prostitution are raped and 70 to 95 percent are physically assaulted. The vast majority of prostitution results from gender inequality, racism and poverty. Lack of choice impacts women, even those who say they have chosen prostitution voluntarily. With these factors at play, coercion is common and a safe exit from prostitution is extremely difficult, if not impossible.

There is nothing victimless about this crime. [Read more...]