The National Center on Sexual Exploitation supports the bipartisan “Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Act.”
Right now, America runs an annual report that ranks and analyzes how well countries are combating human trafficking. Unfortunately, the criteria for this report does not take efforts to combat demand (sex buying behavior) into account, which reduces the incentive for countries to take this angle on combatting human trafficking seriously.
According to Representative Ann Wagner, “It has been the longstanding position of the United States to reduce the demand for sex trafficking victims. There is also a wide international consensus on the necessity of demand reduction in order to prevent human trafficking.”
So this bill amends the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 regarding the determination of whether a government has made serious and sustained efforts to reduce the demand for paid sex.
Rep. Wagner continues, “Unfortunately, the lack of rigor in addressing demand in the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) reports has negative effects on the prevention of human trafficking around the globe and inhibits progress that could be made if proper evaluation and reporting were taking place. This bill provides a simple solution by making the prohibition of the purchase of sex (which the U.S. has done itself) a requirement for meeting the TIP process’ criterion of “making serious and sustained efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex.” The Trafficking Victims Protection Act already requires TIP to look at a country’s efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts, but this bill would make it clear that these efforts should include an actual prohibition on the purchase of commercial sex acts or implementation of a policy to that end.”
Pursuant to the minimum standards for the elimination of sex trafficking, if a government has the authority to prohibit the purchase of commercial sex acts, but fails to do so, it shall be deemed a failure by this new law to make serious and sustained efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts, irrespective of other efforts the government may have made.
It is vital for our nation to recognize and properly label sex buying as a harmful act that contributes to sex trafficking, and that is what this legislation will help achieve.