Saturday, October 3, 2015

Punishing Young Girls for Prostitution to Protect Them

Cynthia Goode (Brooklyn), Punishment as Protection, Houston Law Review, forthcoming


Each year, thousands of girls are prosecuted, and often incarcerated, for prostitution. Indeed, prostitution is the only crime for which girls are the majority of juveniles arrested. Why are girls below the age of consent victims of statutory rape when they have sex, yet become offenders if they are paid?
This differential treatment cannot be justified on retributive or consequential grounds, as prostituted girls inflict only self-harm, usually deemed illegitimate grounds for criminal sanctions, and punishment does not deter their conduct. Criminal sanctions are not only unjustified, but counter-productive. They result in great harms to the individual girls and have not decreased the scope of juvenile prostitution. In short, the cure is worse than the ill.
This Article examines the persistence of this criminalization model and argues that the protectionist rationale offered is pretextual, cover for moralism. Entering ‘the life’ at an average age of thirteen, most of these girls have experienced abuse or family trauma. They are also victims under trafficking and statutory rape laws. Nonetheless, studies report that police see only one in five as a victim. The men who purchase girls for sex are rarely prosecuted. Using a historical lens, this Article argues that this punitive paternalism is the current incarnation of a long trajectory of regulating adolescent female sexuality via criminalization.
This story of regulation as punishment also offers broader insights into the dynamics and dysfunctions of the criminal law. The high costs of punishment render criminal sanctions an untenable instrument for addressing self-harm or enforcing sexual norms. By punishing the victims and failing to pursue the real offenders, this institutional approach ignores, even normalizes, the commercial sexual exploitation of children. This Article concludes by considering three alternative frameworks for addressing this widespread social problem.

October 3, 2015 in Human trafficking | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Amnesty International Votes to Decriminalize Prostitution

Slate, Amnesty International Will Call for Decriminalizing All Prostitution

Amnesty International will support the decriminalization of all elements of prostitution—including paying for sex and facilitating sex-for-money transactions—after a vote of some 400 delegates at a meeting in Dublin, the New York Times reports:
The proposal about prostitution provoked an aggressive lobbying campaign by international groups opposed to sparing buyers and pimps from penalties. Competing petitions were organized by women’s groups and celebrities— including former President Jimmy Carter, who issued a letter on Monday — appealing to the group to maintain penalties for buyers and to “stay true to its mission.”

Countries including Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand already have the kind of highly tolerant policies Amnesty will now advocate for, the BBC says, while the Times notes that Sweden's and Norway's laws fall somewhere between prohibition and decriminalization; in those Scandinavian countries, prostitution itself is legal but paying for sex can be punished with "heavy fines and prison terms."

The proposed language of the new Amnesty policy cautions that sex-work practices "that involve coercion, deception, threats, or violence" should continue to be considered unacceptable before asserting that "the available evidence indicates that the criminalisation of sex work is more likely than not to reinforce discrimination against those who engage in these activities, to increase the likelihood that they will be subjected to harassment and violence, including ill-treatment at the hands of police, and to lead to the denial of due process and the exclusion from public benefits such as health services, housing, education, and immigration status."

August 13, 2015 in Human trafficking, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

$3200 for a Bride



Chinese men in rural villages are paying $3200 to families (parents, usually) to sell their daughters in rural Vietnam for marriage. 

Their marriages were arranged for cash, but some of the Vietnamese women who have found unlikely Prince Charmings in remote Chinese villages say they are living happily ever after.

 "Economically, life is better here in China," said Nguyen Thi Hang, one of around two dozen women from Vietnam who have married men in Linqi.

On the other hand, some women, finding themselves in terrible marriages, have a tough time leaving.  

August 21, 2014 in Family, Human trafficking, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Prostitution Laws: 7 voices

From the CBC (Canada)..... Among the voices, one worker with victims of human trafficking said: 

"I can't walk into a group home in Canada where [there aren't] children, and these are 14-, 15-, 16-year-old children, whom are being recruited out of there by low-level, small organized gangs and things like this. And in fact these girls are now going in using friending tactics. To go in and get their friends to help them know, 'oh, you can just make a little bit of extra money, you can do this, do that, it's not so bad,'" she said.

"I'm seeing younger and younger persons entering the sex trade."


July 17, 2014 in Human trafficking, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)