Decriminalization of Sex Work versus Human Trafficking

It is clear that the major argument against Prop K is the idea that the decriminalization of Sex Work would facilitate human trafficking.  I have been in Belgrade, Serbia for the past week and a half, where I have met interviewed a couple of different groups dealing with issues of human trafficking and sex work.  Their experiences showed that decriminalization of sex work would potentially help minimize human trafficking.  They had some very interesting things to say.

Here are some important highlights:

(from an interview with Jelena Dordeveic, of the Anti Trafficking Center in Belgrade, Serbia)

“We stopped working with trafficking, because we saw that trafficking became an excuse for NGO’s and police to restrain women,” said Jelena Dordevic, the Deputy Director of the Anti Trafficking Center, “The whole idea of trafficking turned against us and the people we were trying to support.”

“There is this perception that there are the right victims and the wrong victims,” said Dordevic, “Sex Workers did not agree to get raped, to not be paid.”

According to Dordevic, many NGO’s do not see individuals who choose to do sex work as qualifying for their services. The Anti Trafficking center sees this as a major problem, thus their focus has turned more towards those who are excluded from trafficking arguments, but are still at risk for rape and other forms of violence.

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