Trafficking in Prostitution

I was reading the Poppy report on the sex industry in London and found myself being referred to another report to get the definition of trafficking. So here it is.

For the purposes of this report, trafficking will be defined using the United Nations Protocol To Prevent, Suppress And Punish Trafficking In Persons, Especially Women And Children, Supplementing The United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (2000), commonly known as the Palermo Protocol. Article 3 of the Palermo Protocol states that : (a) \’Trafficking in persons\’ shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs, (b) The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) have been used.

Now I\’m not all that good at bureaucratese but "the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person" sounds to me like "go and sell your body in London, you\’ll make lots of money" is defined as trafficking. And that even if somone agrees to do so, this consent doesn\’t count.

Hmm, wonder how many people actually would include that in their own definition of trafficking?

3 thoughts on “Trafficking in Prostitution”

  1. Not quite.

    You base the argument on only part of the key (and admittedly obscurely drafted) passage:

    “… or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”

    To any reasonable person it seems that there has to be plenty of consent involved in all this, hence why should it be a crime?

    The reality (as I saw for myself in former Yugoslavia) is that in many cases the women concerned may offer some degree of consent to start with (not always made clear to them what they are consenting to) but then get physically confined, drugged, passports seized and the rest. Consenting to a process which leads to substantive brutalisation and loss of will/resolve does not really count?

  2. “the consent of a person having control over another person ” – means, you are involved in trafficking if you pay someone who has control over the trafficked person – at second remove, in fact.
    So if you instigate the process by payment to a middleman, you are just as involved.
    That’s how I read it anyway; it’s not bribing someone to be a prostitute, it’s paying her pimp to pass her over to you.

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