The Domestic and International Impact of the U.S. Victims of Trafficking Protection Act of 2000: Does Law Deter Crime?
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Loyola University Chicago International Law Review, Vol. 2, No. 2, Spring 2005
TJSL Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-10
Sex trafficking is a contemporary form of slavery that violates women's fundamental human rights. For many years, the United States has recognized the insufficiency of its criminal and immigration laws to protect victims of sex trafficking, to prevent trafficking, and to prosecute traffickers effectively. President William Clinton signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act on October 28, 2000, (the TVPA) in order to provide an international solution to an international problem. The TVPA established a coordinated, transnational effort to protect trafficked persons, to criminalize the conduct of traffickers, and to penalize sex trafficking as if it were a crime as serious as rape, punishable with a sentence of twenty years to life imprisonment. The TVPA has been hailed as the most significant human rights legislation of [the U.S.] Congress.
The TVPA provides desirable financial assistance, protection, benefits, services, and education to victims both here and abroad as well as the right to permanent residency in the United States and a work permit, if the victim of severe forms of trafficking cooperates in the prosecution of the traffickers. The TVPA also establishes a real threat of prosecution and severe punishment for perpetrators of this horrific crime.
The intent of this far reaching law is to treat trafficked women as victims and not as criminals, to eradicate trafficking in the United States and abroad, to influence other nations to enact or amend sex trafficking legislation, to correct weak enforcement policies, and to harmonize trafficking legislation internationally. While these goals are laudable, if they are not enforced or if they prove to be unenforceable, the TVPA will have little, if any, impact domestically and internationally on the deterrence of sex trafficking.
This study examines the extent to which the TVPA has impacted the crime of sex trafficking on the domestic and international levels, whether the law has been strictly enforced both here and abroad, and whether the law has made any progress since October 2000, to deter this international crime. Positive domestic and international impact of the TVPA could be interpreted to mean that a U.S. law and its multilateral efforts have influenced other nations by legislative example.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
Keywords: Sex trafficking, human rights, international law, international human rights, women's rights, gender law, international crime, trafficking, sex tourismAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 30, 2005 ; Last revised: March 26, 2009
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