Prostitution and Sex Trafficking

Prostitution or sex trafficking occurs when someone uses force, fraud or coercion to cause a commercial sex act with an adult or even a minor. A commercial sex act includes prostitution or any sexual performance done in exchange for any item of value, such as money, drugs, shelter, food, or clothes. This industry thrives in the state of Texas due to the number of individuals being trafficked across the border and into U.S territory. Individuals seeking love, adventure, opportunity, protection, or even a home lean towards this type of activity. There are an estimated of 313,000 victims of human trafficking in Texas and around 79,000 minors who are victims of sex trafficking in the state of Texas. Human trafficking is now the 3rd largest criminal industry in the world as it leads up to several different social and economic issues. Sex trafficking in particular has direct correlation with increased drug use, rape, assaults and sexually transmitted diseases. An estimate of $6.5 billion is spent on the lifetime cost of providing care to victims and survivors of minor and youth sex trafficking in Texas. That number almost doubles when individuals are victimized as adults.

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Sex trafficking takes place in urban communities every single day, disrupting businesses, neighborhoods and even schools. With prostitution, comes traffickers commonly known as pimps. These individuals use tactics such as violence, fear, threats, and intimidation to control the streets which generate a huge impact on the surrounding community negatively. There is not a lot of funding that goes into local law enforcement’s special trafficking unit considering the 3rd largest criminal industry in the U.S generates around $150 billion in revenue annually just from commercial sexual exploitation. This problem allows the practice of restorative justice to come into play and address these issues. Increased communication among businesses, members of the community and local law enforcement is one critical step in reducing prostitution. The idea of providing more supervision at night especially in less populated areas at night whether it be in the streets, commercial businesses, or peoples neighborhoods would play a great factor in reduction of crime. Increasing education on the psychological effects prostitution has on an individual and also providing sexual education to victims’ part of the industry. One of the major policy changes we want to enforce directed specifically for sex trafficking would be the 3-Strike-Law.

Human trafficking is one of the top criminal industries in the world. The fact that the state of Texas is neighbor to our U.S border means high volume of illegal trafficking. San Antonio in particular has been labeled as a hub or gateway experiencing more than 300,000 victims dating back since 2016. Roughly around 80% of these victims are women. In 2016 and 2017 Sex trafficking domestically reported the most amount of cases in the state compared to any other form of trafficking. Foreign or US citizenship did not matter statistically as much as gender or age. Traffickers are able to find potential victims through social network, in neighborhoods, clubs/bars, internet, and even schools. This currently creates a huge disadvantage for local law enforcement as they don’t have the necessary resources to reach out and realize who is really being effected. Out of the 300,000 victims it is estimated that about 50% of the total victim population are minors. It is also important to understand that where there is illegal activity there are also increased drug use. Studies have shown direct correlation between the two. Not necessarily does drugs make people engage in deviant behavior, but there simply cannot be one without the other. The fact victims of trafficking are spread out among local communities such as homes, schools and businesses also means those areas are most likely effected with some sort of drug dilemma. Sex trafficking and prostitution has a major underlying factor that is not emphasized enough and that has to do with the physical well-being of these victims. In a survey of female sex workers 35-55% engaged in unprotected sex while engaging in commercial sex. 47% of the female prostitutes were aware of their HIV/STD status. Lastly, each female worker on average slept with about 17 men per week. This creates an extremely unsafe environment for both victim and client engaging in this kind of activity daily. The last underlying factor that is underrepresented are the criminal penalties for prostitution. For how serious some of the consequences are for engaging in prostitution, the penalty for solicitation or prostitution usually results in a class B misdemeanor ($2,000 fine, up to 180 days in jail). Class A misdemeanor ($4,000 fine up to 1 year in jail) if perpetrator has 1 or 2 convictions. Becomes state felony (6 months-2 years and up to $10,000 fine) if perpetrator has over 3 convictions of prostitution. It costs around $2,000 for a prostitute to be jailed and convicted. San Antonio in 2016 was ranked #2 within the top 10 in number of arrests for prostitution coming in with a total of 4,506 for the year. The estimated cost turned out to be a little over 9 million dollars which comes out of tax payer’s money. There has to be a cheaper more effective way to prevent prostitutes from re-offending and roaming our streets and businesses.

Aside from arresting due to the fact of it being so costly, we also take into consideration that these perpetrators are also sometimes victims. We generated a policy alternative called the 3-Strike-Rule which results to jail/detention as the last resort. For an individual who engages in prostitution for the first time will be given a fine of $1,500 for a special form of soliciting. If the individual is caught a second time they are required to attend a 1 year rehab program focusing on either sexual education, drug use or combination of both depending on each individual’s situation. This program would include the dangers of the prostitution, drug use, and unprotected sex. Following the completion of this program requires a 6 month follow up. If the probation officer clears the individual and approves the 6-month follow-up then the individual has the opportunity for related prior charges to be expunged. We hope to see the 2nd strike be the most effective form of rehabilitation. If an individual commits the same offense the 3rd time, this is when it permanently becomes a class A misdemeanor which results in a $4,000 fine and up to one year in jail. We would also provide a safe house locally where these individuals have the ability to receive medical attention, condoms, psychological health, and even STD checks. This safe house would be more focused on services in order to help these individuals live and maintain a healthy lifestyle while searching for real job employment.

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Prostitution and Sex Trafficking. (2019, Nov 26). Retrieved January 31, 2023 , from

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