August 13, 2014

Victims of Sexual Exploitation Criminally Charged

In a story out of Utah, a man has been called to testify against a woman in her trial for prostitution charges. This man hired her for sexual activity, and yet he is not being charged for his involvement in her case.

Bruce Wisan, 68, allegedly argued with the woman’s pimp in a motel room where police were called. The 26 year-old woman admitted that she and Wisan had engaged in sexual activity. The police released Wisan and he has only been subpoenaed as a witness at the woman’s trial. His lawyer stated that Wisan was never involved in any criminal activity.

It is discouraging that such cases are commonplace, where influential participants of a crime are released from any responsibility, and the victim of sexual exploitation is charged. Clearly, this woman and other prostituted women are not being protected by the law and treated as the victims they are.

The sex industry draws from the most vulnerable and oppressed in society: women and children. Women who enter into prostitution often do so because of a lack of perceivable income options and/or through “force, fraud or coercion,” the legal definition of trafficking. If prostitution is the best employment option for economic reasons, surely it is not a legitimate “choice” these women are making.

The clear fact is that the marginalization of prostituted women places them on the edge of the justice system, rather than treating them as priority victims of a crime, simply due to the nature of their employment. Law enforcement officers often refuse to investigate cases against victims of rape or other violence because they know the victim engaged in prostitution. The sad reality is, it is impossible to fully protect anyone in prostitution, whose source of income regularly exposes them to rape and violence.

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