Kudos to FBI on Operation Cross Country a�� But what about the customers?

June 27, 2012Comments are closed.

Last week during a three day law enforcement operation, Operation Cross Country, 6 federal officers rescued 79 children and arrested 104 alleged pimps, the FBI announced Tuesday (here). The Operation took place over the weekend with more than 2,500 local, state, and federal officers working in 57 cities. This is an intensive law enforcement effort aimed at juvenile sex trafficking. The government should be applauded for this work. One of the FBI agents noted, “Many times the children that are taken in in these types of criminal activities are children who are disaffected, they are from broken homes, they may be on the street they are really looking for a meal, they are looking for shelter, they are looking for someone to take care of them, and that’s really the first approach that’s made.” Rescuing children is important and arresting, prosecuting, and convicting pimps and traffickers is also important, but unless we want to be doing this sort of mop-up job for decades (Operation Crossroads is a part of the larger InnocenceLost project which has spent a decade doing this work) we will need to dedicate ourselves to ending demand for commercial sex trafficking.The entire triangle of activity of human trafficking is comprised of supply, distribution, and demand. It is demand, not supply or distribution, which drives this market, and it is still largely neglected in our current law enforcement efforts to end human trafficking. Who are the men who are buying sex from women and children and what drives them? How can law enforcement better address the demand for commercial sex?Until we answer these questions and design programs to address it, we will continue to see an estimated 100,000 children (and many more hundreds of thousands of women) trafficked into prostitution to satisfy this demand.Which begs another question: there were 104 alleged pimps arrested, but how many customers have similarly been arrested? For more information on how to reduce demand for commercial sex seemy 2010 law review article here.


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