Relevance of Human Trafficking to Public Policy

Several laws and regulations addressing commercial sexual exploitation, particularly prostitution, currently exist throughout the United States yet many of them are ineffective or hold loopholes in which pimps are not convicted for their crimes.

A pimp may not even be violating the law depending on the jurisdiction that [s]he is in.  Important efforts to develop comprehensive policy framework and implement legislation have been attempted but the execution of such measures have been hampered due to limited efforts in reducing the victimization of minors.  Poor coordination among federal agencies, non-government organizations and between all fifty States has also contributed to the inefficient work to reduce the commercial sexual exploitation of minors.

Amendment XIII of the United States Constitution provides legality to outlawing
prostitution, a modern-day form of slavery. It states that slavery or involuntary servitude cannot exist within the United States or any of its territories except in prison as a form of punishment towards individuals who have been convicted of a crime. Moreover, Congress is the only entity that has power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The Mann Act [18 U.S.C.A. § 2421 et seq.] was enacted and signed by President William Taft in 1910 as a federal criminal statute that deals with prostitution and child porn. It is also used to prosecute men who shuttle females across state lines for sexual activity. The intention of this specific legislation was to stop the interstate commerce of trafficking women by making it a felony to knowingly transport females across state lines or in foreign commerce for the purposes of prostitution. It was upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme court in 1913 [Hoke v. United States, 227 U.S. 308, 33 S. Ct. 281, 57 L. Ed. 523] and later, in 1917, was broadened to include noncommercial acts of immorality [Caminetti v. United States, 242 U.S. 470, 37 S. Ct. 192, 61 L. Ed. 442]. The scope of the act was changed with the interpretation that the court used when it interpreted the phrase “acts of immorality”.   The court desired to prevent the use of interstate commerce as a venue that promoted sexual immorality, such as prostitution. Additional amendments have been attached to this act in order to neutrally protect boys and girls who are sexually exploited, including child pornography.
Several other examples of federal laws that prohibit human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and involuntary servitude include: Trafficking and Sex Tourism [Title 18, U.S.C. §§ 2421-2423] which encompasses international and interstate sex trafficking for all ages and the Transportation for Illegal Sexual Activity and Related Crimes [Chapter 117, Title 18 of U.S. Code] which targets the illegal transportation of minors for sexual criminal purposes. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act [TVPA] of 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2008 are additional examples with the latter providing assistance for child victims while enhancing the ability to criminally punish traffickers.  Washington, the first state to outlaw human trafficking, makes it a felony to recruit, harbor, transport, provide, or obtain individuals for exploitation purposes in order to generate finances. The WAS legislature states that any individual entrapped in sex industry is forced against their will into involuntary servitude. Nevada requires all prostitutes to use condoms and to be regularly tested for STD‘s and HIV in addition to be licensed, registered, and pass background checks.

California‘s Pimping and Pandering Law distinguishes two separate sex crimes that simultaneously revolve around Penal Code 647(b). ―The purpose of California‘s pimping and pandering laws is to discourage people from trying to increase the number of available prostitutes‖x. Pimping and pandering laws are two separate legal vehicles, however, despite similarities. Pimping laws apply to individuals who knowingly live off the earnings of a prostitute‘s actions regardless if the former finds clients for the latter. For instance, CA‘s Penal Code 266(h) invokes guilt upon an individual when they solicit prostitution including finding customers for a prostitute, collecting a fee from the former, and/or collecting some or all of the prostitute‘s pay regardless of the fact that a pimp may not have played any part in finding the customer. This specific code is violated when an individual collects money from a prostitute while soliciting customers. Another example is AB 22 [2005] which criminalizes pimping and assisting victims with benefits.
Reversely, pandering laws target individuals who encourage or persuade another individual to engage in prostitution while making that individual available for sexual acts, such as transporting that individual to the site that the sexual activity will occur. CA Penal Code 266(i) PC, for example, criminalizes individuals who procure: giving, transporting, or making available another person for the purpose of prostitution by intentionally encouraging or persuading an individual to become [or remain] a prostitute. Pandering does not necessarily require the collection of money for a pimp‘s services. Other relevant laws include Penal Code 647(b) and SB 1560 [2007] which creates a state-funded program for non-certified victims, thereby extending eligibility for benefits and services. Furthermore, California has mandatory minimums for imprisoning individuals who are caught trafficking minors, with differentiating sentence amounts based on the age of trafficked persons.


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