the issue: sex trade
The sex trade is not new, but its changed significantly. It is now a very profitable, normalized international industry. In addition, the increased economic inequality in the US has rendered too many women and girls vulnerable to this harmful practice. Many young women aging out of the juvenile justice and or foster care systems often face numerous challenges and hurdles that have their own gender specific lens; this population now represent almost half of those that come through our services. One thing seems clear from those of us that do front line services: not only are too many of our children and young adults failing to thrive, but their condition and their life circumstances are rendering them vulnerable here in the US. Exit services that can effectively address the complex needs of women and break intergenerational cycles of poverty, violence and exploitation is critical and needed all across the country.
Sex trafficking and prostitution is a complicated issue that requires:
Public awareness of the realities of sexual exploitation here in our communities and the normalization and increase in the demand that fuels the industry.
Strategies for intervention and prevention. The EVA Center works to prevent women and girls from becoming vulnerable through educating the community on the need to transform the systems that keep far too many women living in poverty and stuck in cycles of exploitation and violence.
Legislation that will redefine and introduce effective legislative that works to penalize the purchase of another person (buying) and abolishing the offense of solicitation (selling) while also addressing the need for exit strategies. It has now been well documented that the best way to tackle the increased demand for paid sex is the introduction of laws that target sex buyers.
Sweden, in 1999, became the first country to criminalize the buyers (i.e. traffickers, pimps, “johns”) of prostitution, while decriminalizing the selling of prostitution. They implemented the Nordic Model, which understands the connection between prostitution and sex trafficking.
Through this law, Sweden declared that is forbidden to buy or attempt to purchase sexual services. Following suit, a number of other countries have enacted similar laws, including Norway, Northern Ireland, Ireland, and France. We work to emulate this model, championing women’s equality and human rights.
We can’t address sex trafficking without working to end prostitution. We can do this by heightening demand efforts and ensuring exit services for all who need them.
- Cherie Jimenez