Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human sex trafficking still exists today, globally and throughout the United States, when traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control other people for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex.
The US Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT) is a leader in the global fight to eradicate human sex and intends to eliminate human sex trafficking in the United States through prevention, combating demand, the rescue of victims, and providing safe refuge for the restoration of survivors.
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The TraffickingFree Zone™ program’s success is credited with establishing a holistic approach – a multi-sector partnership involving law enforcement, government, businesses, schools and community-based organizations.
County-by-county the TraffickingFree Zone™ program is implemented with the focus on arresting and prosecuting sex buyers instead of those who are being sold, educating community members on sex trafficking and implementing numerous other demand reduction techniques.
Establishes community baselines regarding the demand and supply of commercial sex in the local area, as well as compares local data to national and other community data. Baseline Research also includes determining what initiatives are in place in a community and what the level of awareness is about human trafficking prior to the TraffickingFree Zone program implementation. Some measurables include; estimated number of sex buyers, number of websites that sell sex, ads on “John” review boards, how many local massage parlors and strip clubs exist, local law enforcement initiatives, existing local anti-human trafficking organizations, laws, policies and the enforcement thereof, etc.
Objectives for the Criminal Justice module are; encourage law enforcement to stop charging exploited individuals with prostitution and instead focus on the sex buyers, request regular public stings on sex buyers, perform cyber investigations and provide training to all components of the criminal justice system. In addition, the TraffickingFree Zone program trains judges, prosecutors, probation and parole officers, pretrial services officers and all law enforcement personnel on human trafficking awareness, encouraging the referral of buyers to a “John” school, stricter penalties for convicted buyers, and for conviction records to be sent to the National John Registry database.
The TraffickingFree Zone program seeks to secure the support of all local government officials and agencies, with public resolutions and proclamations to end human trafficking completed by all commissions, councils and agencies. Objectives also include to educate all government agencies’ employees with human trafficking awareness training and to ensure availability of high quality services for those who are sexually exploited and trying to get help, and availability of “John” school and rehabilitation programs. Additionally, the TraffickingFree Zone program encourages the use of court-appointed diversion programs for those arrested for prostitution as well as identify laws, policies and best practices that will help propel this movement forward.
With over 87% of human trafficking victims reporting that they’ve been in contact with a healthcare provider at some point during their victimization, awareness training, including victim and buyer referral information for local healthcare providers is a must. Additionally, brochures are placed in healthcare clinics where men are likely to go for STD testing, offering information on the availability of help for those with a sex buying addiction.
The TraffickingFree Zone program uses online advertising and social media campaigns to reach online sex buyers through the internet, using ads which offer education and help to buyers. The TraffickingFree Zone program employs numerous disruption techniques in order to interrupt the online sex buying process. In addition, campaigns targeting potential victims, parents of potential victims and professionals who work with children run throughout the TraffickingFree Zone program.