Human trafficking is a crime.
Sex trafficking is a crime.
Prostitution is a non-crime.
Yet time and again we see the two conflated, as in this piece. Demand for sex, food, water and shelter are the oldest market forces our species knows. And the supply of sex, food, water and shelter for fair exchange has been around as long as our species learned to trade.
The USA has one of the most confused relationships with sex and sexuality of any country on Earth. On the one hand, women are highly sexualised within the media, on the other hand, there is an abrupt demarcation – this far and no further.
A woman’s body is her own. If she wants to provide sexual services to other people for money, that is her business, no one else’s. These kinds of operation simply push prostitutes further into the shadows, where they are more at risk.
Pushing more and more women into the shadows won’t help find underage girls who have been trafficked. If you stop criminalising these women, if you let them live and work in plain sight, you will naturally make it easier to find girls and women who are being trafficked.