Women and children around the globe are exploited daily for the gain of
sex buyers. These buyers care not for the human being that is being sold to them,
nor the physical, mental and emotional trauma being inflicted on such a victim.
Rather, these buyers use them up, empty them out, and find a replacement. Many
of these women and children are held captive, either economically, physically, or
mentally. They are forced to prostitute themselves out in forms of street-walking,
illicit massage parlors, strip clubs, sex videos, family and friend circles, as well as
in criminal syndicates. Yet, the States of this international community offer no
relief. While there are international and domestic laws in place that criminalize
and penalize sex trafficking, these laws are almost never enforced, creating a de
facto acceptance and endorsement of such trafficking and slavery practices.
Despite sex trafficking being a form of slavery and, therefore, jus cogens, no
international actor has taken initiative to initiate a change in the world community,
likely due to this criminal industry being at over a one-billion-dollar profit.
However, the United States is in a prime spot politically, legally, and
internationally to create this change by both beginning to enforce their own
domestic laws criminalizing sex trafficking, as well as pushing for sex trafficking
to be officially condemned as an act violating international customary law. This
would create an avenue for offending States to be held liable in international
criminal courts by other States. The laws are in place to end sex trafficking; now,
it is a matter of finding ways to enforce them, as this paper will demonstrate.
"International Punishment of Sex Trafficking Violators: Congruent Changes From the Top Down and the Bottom Up,"
Tennessee Journal of Race, Gender, & Social Justice: Vol. 12:
2, Article 3.
Available at: https://ir.law.utk.edu/rgsj/vol12/iss2/3