Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
P.A.S.S. would like to acknowledge the research and commentary of Dr. Melissa Farley, Ph.D, founder of www.prostitutionresearch.com in providing much of the textual content of this FAQ.
- What is the definition of Human Trafficking?
The United Nations definition of human trafficking is “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation".
It is also important to understand that, the HEART of the concept of TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS is the DENIAL of the LIBERTY of another. In a word, slavery.
- What are some statistics on Human Trafficking?
Worldwide Trafficking including children: An estimated 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked annually in the United States alone. According to U.N. estimates, approximately 2.5 million people are being trafficked around the world at any given time, 80% of them women and children. According to UNICEF, an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. Around the world between 50-60% of the children who are recruited or forced into sexual slavery are under age 16.
U.S. Citizens including children: Currently, it is estimated that at least 300,000 American children are trapped in the U.S. sex industry. INS officials recently counted 250 brothels in 26 U.S. cities staffed with trafficking victims.
U.S. Clientelle: 25% of all child sex tourists around the world are U.S. citizens.
$$$: Prostitutionresearch.com cites that the sex industry generates some $32billion annually. However, estimates of income generated from prostitution in one city, Las Vegas, are as high as $5billion. Human trafficking is the #2 leading criminal industry in the world, surpassing illegal arms dealing, making trafficking second to only the selling of drugs.
- What is the link between Sex-Trafficking and Prostitution?
Sex-trafficking and prostitution are extremely similar except in seldom cases where a woman willingly chooses to pimp herself to clients for money. The reality, though, is that most prostituted persons (over 90%) do not want to be involved in prostitution but feel that they are trapped by their pimps or their dire financial situation.
Sex-trafficked persons are not willing to prostitute themselves and have been either forced or manipulated into prostitution. It is also important to note that all prostituted minors are automatically defined federally by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) as sex-trafficked victims.
In both sex-trafficking and prostitution, pimps/traffickers often have control over the prostituted person in terms of movement, eating habits, earned income, fashion, social life; essentially, the pimp controls the freedom of the prostituted person who is seen as nothing more than his commodity.
- What is the difference between Legalizing/Regulating Prostitution, Decriminalizing Prostitution, and the Abolition of Prostitution?
Decriminalized Prostitution: No regulation by government. Pimps/Traffickers remain in total control of their prostituted persons and the income generated by the buying and selling of women and children. Any abuses happening as a result of Decriminalized Prostitution are not regulated by government as nothing related to prostitution is seen as a crime. Decriminalization of Prostitution is often intentionally confused with Decriminalization of Prostituted Persons. This intentional confusion is a common tactic used in lobbying efforts, by pimp/trafficker friends, to make the decriminalization of prostitution into law. Don't be confused. They are diametrically opposing concepts as the former (Decriminalization of Prostitution) allows for the freedom of patrons and pimps/traffickers and the latter (Decriminalization of Prostituted Persons) allows for the removal of the persecution of prostituted persons while prosecuting pimp/traffickers and patrons of trafficking victims.
Decriminalization of prostitution means that all laws regarding prostitution would be removed. Buying a prostituted person would be socially and legally equivalent to buying cigarettes. Prostitution in all its forms- street, brothel, escort, massage- would be legally welcomed. Pimps/Traffickers would become Hawaii’s new acknowledged legitimate businessmen, regardless of how they conduct their business behind closed doors.
Legalized/Regulated Prostitution: Sets a dangerous precedent for the goverment to legalize a crime where the rights and voices of the majority of those involved (prostituted persons) are overlooked and not heard. The state would legally recognize the only vocation in the world whose occupational hazard is rape, murder, torture, sexual harrassment and gender inequity.
The pimps/traffickers pay taxes on income earned from prostitution and must abide by state health regulations and labor laws with their "employees." Health benefits after rape, assault, and transmission of veneral diseases would be covered under a "sex-worker" health plan. U.S. states would reliquish the federal acknowledgement of past, present and future trafficked persons as the status of the extreme abuse the victims experienced would be deemed part and parcel to the new legal profession of Prostitution.
Abolition of Prostitution: The resurgence of the Anti-Slavery movement of the African Slave Trade made popular by the Underground Railroad, but applied a the modern-day form of slavery: Sex-Trafficking. Abolition of prostitution would require the implementation of laws focused on the harsh punishment of pimps and johns and the frequent enforcement of prosecuting pimps/traffickers. Abolition of Prostitution/Sex-Trafficking also requires the "rescue and restoration" of the prostituted persons and the continued effort to educate the public about the utmost necessity to keep prostitution illegal for the sake of enabling this "rescue and restoration" of victims.
- Doesn't the Legalization/Regulation of prostitution really work to reduce crime and abuse like it does in Germany who recently legalized prositution?
No. No reliable study exists to prove that decriminalization or the legalization/regulation of prostitution improves the lives and safety of the women and children who are prostituted by traffickers/pimps. Regulating prostitution in countries where prostitution has been decriminalized or legalized is near impossible for those countries' local law enforcement. Just as it is difficult for any local law enforcement to find a victim's killer or lost child or to merely solve a crime, it is exponentially more difficult to regulate a "vocation" which happens behind closed doors, run by criminals.
"The legalization of prostitution did not bring about what many had hoped.
We are still faced with distressing situations in which women are being
exploited. It is high time for a thorough evaluation of the Prostitution Act...
We have seen in the last years that trafficking in women is becoming more,
so in this respect the legalizing of prostitution didn't work out."
~ Mayor Job Cohen of Amsterdam, December 2007
Decriminalization or the Legalization/Regulation of Prostitution will significantly increase all types of prostitution, including child prostitution, and with it, crimes involving the physical and mental abuse of the women and children prostituted.
There is no way of making prostitution “a little bit better” any more than it is possible to make slavery “a little bit better.” Prostitution is a profoundly harmful institution. Who does it harm the most? The woman or child who is prostituted is hurt the worst. She is hurt psychologically, physically and spiritually.
Proponents of sexual slavery promote the sex industry under the cynical guise of helping prostituted persons avoid the stigma of arrest. The real beneficiaries of the sex industry are “johns,” pimps/madames, and traffickers. Should we arrest prostituted persons? No. Almost all prostituted persons are there either prostituted by force or manipulation. They don’t “choose” the “occupational hazards” of prostitution the way someone chooses a career as a school teacher. Prostitution's “occupational hazards” include: rape, gang-rape, severe assault, murder, emotional distress, debt bondage, blackmail, torture, extortion and persecution. The list does not stop there.
Over 90% of prostituted persons urgently want to escape it. Instead of setting a dangerous legal precedent with decriminalizing or legalizing/regulating prostitution, let’s offer women, men and children in prostitution healthy choices. They tell us that they need stable housing, social services, medical treatment, and job training. That’s what they should receive – not decriminalization or legalization/regulation. Should we arrest the pimps, johns, procurers and traffickers who benefit from the selling of people? Yes. These are the perpetrators of sexual exploitation and abuse who should be arrested, not the prostituted persons themselves.
- What would Decriminalization or the Legalization/Regulation of prostitution mean for Hawaii?
The Decriminalization or the Legalization/Regulation of Prositution would completely change the atmosphere of local neighborhoods, making it unlikely for families with children to venture to places where prostitution would be evident e.g. Waikiki, Downtown, Keeaumoku, Lahaina, Hilo, Kona etc.. Local businesses in these affected areas would also feel the decline of business from families as their immediate areas would be surrounded by sexually charged advertisements and the clientele they attract.
There is little difference for the prostituted person between Legalized/Regulated and Decriminalized Prostitution. Legalized/Regulated Prostitution would essentially become state-sponsored prostitution. In Legalized/Regulated Prostitution, the state acts as a passive pimp, collecting taxes. However, in Decriminalized Prostitution, the pimps remain in complete control of business and income, whether they are hostess bar owners, strip club owners, taxi driver pimps, street pimps, or organized criminals.
What should local legislation focus on?
The ideal form of legislation would focus on dissolving the business of slavery; focusing on the acute, swift, and thorough prosecution of both pimps/traffickers and "johns" while providing for adequate and thorough services for the victims of trafficking for both international and domestically trafficked victims (persons who are U.S. citizens trafficked across state lines).
Legislation must be victim centered with the underlying goal of victims' protection. Caution must also be placed on definiting the terms of "service" and "labor" so that nothing can be construed to define prostitution as a legitimate form of work/employment recognized by the state.
-read more frequently asked questions-
Also visit: Prostitution ProCon.org - Debate on Legalizing Prostitution Pros and Cons