POP Center Home Problems Trafficked Women 2nd Ed. Summary

Appendix A: Summary of Responses to the Exploitation of Trafficked Women

                                                                                                                                                 previous page next page

The table below summarizes various responses to the problem of the human trafficking of women, the mechanisms by which they are intended to work, the conditions under which they should work best, and factors that should be considered before a particular response is implemented. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances and that you can justify each response based upon reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve several different responses, because law enforcement alone is seldom effective in reducing or solving the problem.

Response No.


How It Works

Works Best If…


Preparatory Responses


Locating trafficked women

Police are trained in identifying trafficking venues and marketing practices

… police know their localities well and can obtain information from informal networks

Not all illegal immigrants are trafficked and vice versa


Identifying trafficked women

Police interview victims looking for signs of trafficking

… police are well trained in interviewing victims of trafficking and NGOs are brought into the interviews

Victims may not talk to police because of fear of arrest or reprisals from captors


Protecting trafficked women

Police protect the victim from immediate violence, report the case to the national trafficking hotline, and inform the victim of her rights under TVPA

… police have a close working relationship with local community groups that can provide refuge

Police must be skilled interviewers to overcome the victim’s fear of authorities


Working with service organizations

You educate local community groups and health agencies concerning the plight of trafficked women so that they will help identify them and provide support

… you gain their confidence, make use of their support services, and refer victims to them

Requires long-term commitment to develop enduring partnerships; some community groups may be reticent to inform police of illegal immigrants in the community


Educating the public

Public support makes possible changes needed in enforcement and prevention of trafficking

… you use available materials and sources concerning human trafficking

Outreach programs with schools and community groups and use of the media for publicity will help

Enforcing Laws Against Traffickers and Men Who Purchase Sex


Directing enforcement at pimps and purchasers

Denies traffickers the opportunity to deploy trafficked women in your neighborhood

… you have the cooperation of both local government and the general public

Depends on changing the attitudes of public officials towards prostitution


Working closely with immigration officials

Smoothes the process of protecting the victim and obtaining witness testimony

… carefully worked out policies and procedures are agreed upon by both parties

Conflicting laws and practices work against local police enforcement of federal immigration law, especially in sanctuary states and cities


Using RICO

Lawsuits and ordinances are used to raise the cost of doing business, thus pressuring sweatshops and brothels to relocate

… you have close relationships with labor and business organizations, as well as the prosecutor’s office

When lawyers become involved, expenses escalate

Reducing Demand


Punishing the purchasers of sexual services

Serious punishments are used to deter men from buying sex

… criminal justice personnel are committed to the view that the purchase of sex is a form of male violence

Depends on the extent to which the public supports the policy


Changing the attitudes of prostitution customers

Offenders submit to psychological and educational programs that teach the exploitative nature of their acts

... judges and prosecutors are convinced of the effectiveness of these programs

Studies have shown these programs to be very effective in reducing recidivism, although their effectiveness in overcoming ethnic or cultural values condoning prostitution have not been tested


Notifying those with influence over the purchaser’s conduct

Creates meaningful consequences for the purchaser

… purchasers are influenced by informal social controls

Some penalties (e.g., termination from employment) may be harsher than some believe is fair

Making the Local Environment Inhospitable to Exploitation of Trafficked Women


Enforcing zoning laws, nuisance abatement ordinances, and licensing regulations against properties used for prostitution

Restricts the availability of locations for sexual activities; discourages the use of motels and hotels for prostitution

… sexual transactions or forced labor take place on properties subject to regulation

Civil law processes can be cumbersome and are unfamiliar to police; requires support from government lawyers


Warning property owners about the use of their premises for prostitution or forced labor

Increases property owners' willingness to prohibit prostitution or forced labor on their property

… forced labor takes place on those properties

Some property owners may feel they are being unfairly accused


Establishing a highly visible police presence

Discourages both prostitutes and clients from negotiations

… followed by changes to the environment where street prostitution occurs

Labor intensive; creates the perception that the area is unsafe


Redeveloping the area economy

Promotes legitimate activity to displace illegitimate activity

… improvements will substantially change the conditions that allow prostitution or forced labor to flourish

Costly in the short term; potential displacement to more vulnerable areas

Responses with Limited Effectiveness


Legalizing or otherwise tolerating prostitution

Creates a black market for cheap trafficked prostitutes


Rests on debates concerning public morality, which police departments cannot solve on their own


Punishing prostitutes

Leads to inconsistent and ineffective enforcement


Drives trafficked women into the clutches of traffickers, making investigation and prosecution difficult

                                                              previous page next page