The World Day against Trafficking in Persons is held every year, because human trafficking is a thriving criminal enterprise which is expanding at an alarming rate. Millions of women, men and children end up in the hands of traffickers worldwide, and exploited in prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation, slavery or practices similar to slavery, bondage, labor, or their organs removed and sold.Read more
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Sex trafficking has increased with rise of the internet, and it’s a global issue. In the US, nearly two thirds of children sold for sex in the US are trafficked online, and a few years ago,the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children directly correlated a five-year 846% increase in child sex trafficking reports to the growing use of the internet to sell children for sex.
This was made possible by a legal loophole which had allowed websites like Backpage to publish advertisements for the sale of people for sex online, even though both sex trafficking and pimping are illegal. But in April 2018, the groundbreaking Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (“FOSTA”) was signed into law, finally holding internet companies accountable when they knowingly facilitate sex trafficking.
FOSTA needs to be protected and fully implemented--not weakened and ignored!
We've also made available a downloadable PDF of this graphic.
Sex traffickers paid an average of $7 to place ads on backpage.com. One more simple thing you can do is donate $7 today to support our campaign to end sex trafficking, and our other important work for women and girls.
Governments have committed to ending sex trafficking - hold them accountable!
A failure to address trafficking for sexual exploitation, which encompasses 54% of all human trafficking victims, would leave millions of women and girls vulnerable to continued violence and abuse.
Governments around the world have committed to stop the $150 billion trafficking industry and to enact and implement punitive measures to punish traffickers.
HOWEVER, right now, these commitments are just words on paper. Without concrete methods and systems to track how exactly these commitments will be fulfilled, it is nearly impossible to evaluate progress or to hold governments accountable. Meanwhile, women and girls continue to suffer.
Join us to make sure that governments are required to update annually on their progress and concrete enforcement methods are implemented to end sex trafficking!
"We may not always have the right soap in your bathroom….but we will have the right girl in your bedroom." - from Universal Fantasies website
Operating sex tours is illegal in the US, but right now a company in Los Angeles, California -- Universal Fantasies (also dba Global Fantasies) -- is openly offering sex tours to 16 locations around the world. Help shut them down!
Sex tourism, an estimated $1 billion per year industry, typically involves men – usually from Western countries – traveling to buy sex from women and girls who are often from poor and marginalized communities. The US’s main anti-trafficking law, the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), clearly recognizes that sex tour operators help fuel the demand for sex trafficking because they make women and girls available for purchase. In addition to the TVPA, the Mann Act makes it illegal to “knowingly transport or entice someone to travel in foreign commerce to engage in prostitution,” and the Travel Act makes it illegal to “use foreign commerce for ‘unlawful activities.’ Prostitution is listed among those unlawful activities.
Universal Fantasies (also dba Global Fantasies), which advertises "beautiful girls…between 18 and 28 years of age" and allows "guests to pre-select their companions after booking" with "additional companions for specific requests readily available," is blatantly violating US federal law.
Equally important, the US government must also be held accountable for enforcing its laws. Help make this happen by calling on the US Acting Director to the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to elevate sex tourism as a priority issue in the State Department’s 2018 US Trafficking in Persons (USTIP) Report. This annual report, “the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts,” measures how effectively governments are working to tackle the human trafficking industry. We are advocating for the US government to specifically report on its own efforts to prosecute sex tour operators such as Global Fantasies.
Equality Now’s advocacy with the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery (formerly Girlfest) led to the first US state law against sex tourism in 2004 (Hawaii), and we need your help once again to protect women and girls from being exploited in the sex trade.
- Advocate for Acting Director Kari Johnstone to include the prosecution of sex tour operators in determining whether the United States is fully meeting the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking as part of the 2018 USTIP Report.
At their convention in 2018, the Liberal Party passed a resolution calling for the decriminalization of the industry of prostitution and overturn of Canada’s groundbreaking Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA).Read more
New York’s efforts to stop sex trafficking were recently rated a D, one of 5 states with the lowest grades in the country.
New York is only one of two states (Alabama is the other) that still requires proof of force, fraud, or coercion for sex trafficking even when the victim is a minor.
Children are major targets of human traffickers because they are easier for traffickers to control and because of the growing demand for younger and younger girls.Read more
Human trafficking: how women and girls are exploited in the sex trade
Though international law and the laws of 158 countries criminalize sex trafficking, it is still legally and socially acceptable to treat women and girls as merchandise in the sex trade.
Many countries have laws that either fully criminalize, decriminalize or legalize the sex trade in harmful ways: either they punish those who are being exploited, or openly promote their exploitation by giving traffickers, pimps, brothel-owners and sex buyers a safer environment in which to operate.
End Demand: How Equality Now works to end sex trafficking
By targeting the root of the problem – the demand for paid sex – we can protect women and girls. No demand, no supply. Countless women and girls are bought and sold every year in the commercial sex trade, i.e. prostitution, which is often the end destination of sex trafficking. Without the sex trade, there would be no industry to traffic women and girls into, so efforts to address sex trafficking must also address prostitution.
Equality Now advocates for a legal framework that:
- Criminalizes those who exploit people for profit, including sex buyers, traffickers, pimps and brothel-keepers
- Decriminalizes people in prostitution, including victims of trafficking, and provides them with support services – including to leave prostitution if they wish to do so
- Recognizes that without demand (buyers), there would be no ‘need for a supply’ and therefore, criminalizes the demand for commercial sex that fuels prostitution and trafficking into prostitution