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Freedom Network Questions Recent National Johns Suppression Initiative
As the largest network of service providers to the victims of trafficking in the United States, we are dismayed to see the continued conflation of sex trafficking with sex work, and the ongoing confusion between buyers of sexual services and traffickers. Such conflations and efforts perpetuate the false narrative that everyone involved in sex work is there by the hands of a trafficker, denying the reality that many individuals engage in sex work because it is the best of very limited options to meet basic needs.
We are concerned about the consequences of such tactics on sex workers and trafficking victims alike. The unintended consequences of these programs include increased isolation and vulnerability to violence and exploitation, as well as a deepening of the rift that prevents many trafficking victims from reaching out to law enforcement when they seek to escape their situation.
Moreover, absent data on the outcomes of the arrests we remain skeptical of the ultimate efficacy of such efforts. Unfortunately, information on survivors connected with services, as well as follow up information on the outcomes of the arrests is never part of these efforts, and by the time reportable data is gathered the public attention has moved on from the initial sensationalism. We encourage Sheriff Dart, the media, and the public to push for more transparency on efforts and their outcomes, to help improve responses and ensure that trafficking victims are not suffering unintended consequences.
“Time should be spent investigating identified cases of trafficking and supporting victims trying to find support. The resources it takes to conduct these operations could be better spent, and it is victims of trafficking who are going to suffer from this misallocation.”
We support anti-trafficking work which prioritizes the autonomy and self-determination of marginalized communities. We seek to promote anti-trafficking work which centers on the experiences of victims and their communities, and addresses the institutional causes of trafficking. It is unfortunate that such efforts are being prioritized, diverting scarce resources to methods with no evidence that they impact rates of trafficking.
For more information, we encourage you to access the Freedom Network statement on the use of End Demand tactics on our website at http://freedomnetworkusa.org/
Freedom Network USA