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Human Trafficking

Civil Rights Presentation

Ashley Hudson

on 4 November 2013

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Transcript of Human Trafficking

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000
22 U.S.C.A. § 7102

§ 7102. Definitions
(8) Severe forms of trafficking in persons
The term “severe forms of trafficking in persons” means

sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or

the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

(9) Sex trafficking
The term “sex trafficking” means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.
Sex Trafficking and Social Media
•"It ought to concern every person, because it's a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at the social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I'm talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name—modern slavery."

"Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it…"

--President Barack Obama, September 25, 2012
Due to the process of globalization and continued technological advances around the world, on-line sex trafficking in the United States has become an increasingly complicated problem to recognize and solve.

Traffickers use the internet and social media sites, specifically to advertise sexual service and recruit new members.

Popular social media sites used by traffickers are Myspace, Twitter, Facebook, Craigslist*, and Backpage.
Sex Trafficking and Social Media in the
United States of America
Human Trafficking
The Law: Sex Trafficking
and Social Media
1st Amendment Issues:
The United States Legal
System at its BEST???
Does the First Amendment aid or burden the initiative against sex trafficking within social media databases.
Constitutional Law
Laws restricting the government’s censorship of speech and expression creates a burden for new legislation and technologies aiding the war on sex trafficking.
Only 3 states out of the entire 50 states have laws specifically tailored to target sex trafficking.

A definite answer is not certain. But lets probe the layers of Constitutional Law and it's First Amendment to gain more insight.
Since the Sedition Act of 1978, the United States has battled with what is protected and unprotected speech.
In order to pass the courts default test of Strict Scrutiny where statutes and legislation are usually struck down law must have a compelling state interest and be narrowly tailored. The historical tradition and precedent shows that
because speech on the internet has high social value, the government is reluctant to allow laws to restrict content for two important reasons.

1) Liability and suit for content/speech on the internet will have an enormous chilling effect.

2) Lawsuits would be so numerous due to the world-wide navigation system that the court would be overburdened
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world.

The U.S. State Department estimates an even higher number: about 12.3 million adults and children "in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution around the world." It deprives people of their human rights and freedoms, it is a global health risk, and it fuels organized crime. Victims of trafficking are forced or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. Sex trafficking is one of the most profitable forms of trafficking and involves many kinds of sexual exploitation, such as prostitution, pornography, bride trafficking, and the commercial sexual abuse of children.

The number of trafficking victims around the world is a topic of debate, with recent estimates ranging from 12 million to 27 million victims worldwide.

According to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Resource Center, human trafficking is a $32 billion per year industry and is tied with drugs for the most profitable criminal endeavor, having surpassed the illegal weapons trade.
Backpage.com is owned by Village Voice Media, and is now seen as the #1 source for online sex in the United States.

From January 2011 to January 2012, Backpage made $25.4 million.

A recent study by the Advanced Interactive Media Group (AIMG) estimates that about 70 percent of the revenue generated from online sex-trafficking in the United States goes to Backpage.
Case Law

The Ct. gave a test for patently obscene speech:
1)Work as a whole, Contemporary Community Standards according to prurient intent, 2) must be patently offensive—the work must depict or scribe in a patently offensive way to the sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law. 3) It must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Ferber & People vs. Freeman
In Ferber the courts issued a two part test: 1) What is the category of speech 2) What is the criminal conduct

What if the children post themselves on websites or take pictures of themselves. What is the criminal conduct; though the category is unprotected by the 1st amendment.
Miller v. California
Ashcroft I- COPA federal statute
COPA placed an age restriction on inappropriate material irrespective to children. They took a facial challenge on substantial overbreadth grounds. Restrictive laws will make it easy to prosecute people anywhere and for almost anything closely related to inappropriate material.
Case Law
Because many Justices disagree on whether the States or the Federal government should place restrictions This could be a reason why there are only three states that have statutes in place specifically governing sex trafficking.

Also, the Courts are willing to allow statutes that create burdens and not complete bans to withstand the strict scrutiny default test. However, because technology is advancing, predators and criminals have found innovative wants to avoid the burdens. Thus, many restrictions are ineffective.

The best way many states can target sex trafficking is implementing less restrictive speech that will have less chilling effect. Their alternatives are targeting conduct and educating the public. But, how beneficial is it when those on the internet have few limits to none which covers many sovereigns and territories governed by different laws.

Because many advertisements and ads permeate many social medias sites, the Courts are very reluctant to place restrictions in fear that it will chill valuable speech.

Many states require filters and age restrictions, but have not proven successful in comparison to the amount of instances in the United States.

What would you do? What is the government’s role in the matter?
Constitutional Issues
Full transcript