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International News Coverage of Human Trafficking Arrests and Prosecutions: A Content Analytic Study
Unformatted Document Text:  consumer regarding the possibility of a prostitute being a victim of human trafficking may yield positive results in the reduction of male consumers in the sex trade, it is unlikely that the demand for sex will cease. The bigger issue is that by demonizing the client as part of the problem a situation is created where men are unlikely to report cases of exploitation because of the repercussions of reporting their involvement with a prostitute. It is important that feminist discourse of the global sex trade do not overwhelm the literature on human trafficking because its male/female dichotomy blinds us to other issues, such as the female offender, pertinent to human trafficking. Further complicating this issue is the possibility that those involved in the human trafficking debate are unwilling to question the authenticity of a trafficking individual’s claim. If a young woman is forced or coerced, or voluntarily agrees to prostitution in order to repay her debt to her trafficker (debt-bondage) and then claims exploitation, it is more likely that she will be treated as a victim of human trafficking. However, a double standard is evident in this study: a young man who is forced or coerced, or voluntarily agrees to drug trafficking in order to repay his debt to his trafficker, is less likely to receive either victim status or sympathy like that garnered for his female counterpart. Situations like this suggest that the issue with human trafficking is not exploitation but rather prostitution and rape. This is further exemplified in the Toronto Peel Region (Canada) case where a young woman was gang raped at an acquaintance’s home, and the young men involved in the rape were charged with human trafficking offences. Law enforcement added a charge of human trafficking to the original rape charges 65

Authors: Denton, Erin.
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consumer regarding the possibility of a prostitute being a victim of human 
trafficking may yield positive results in the reduction of male consumers in the 
sex trade, it is unlikely that the demand for sex will cease.  The bigger issue is 
that by demonizing the client as part of the problem a situation is created where 
men are unlikely to report cases of exploitation because of the repercussions of 
reporting their involvement with a prostitute.  It is important that feminist 
discourse of the global sex trade do not overwhelm the literature on human 
trafficking because its male/female dichotomy blinds us to other issues, such as 
the female offender, pertinent to human trafficking.
Further complicating this issue is the possibility that those involved in the 
human trafficking debate are unwilling to question the authenticity of a trafficking 
individual’s claim.  If a young woman is forced or coerced, or voluntarily agrees to 
prostitution in order to repay her debt to her trafficker (debt-bondage) and then 
claims exploitation, it is more likely that she will be treated as a victim of human 
trafficking.  However, a double standard is evident in this study: a young man 
who is forced or coerced, or voluntarily agrees to drug trafficking in order to repay 
his debt to his trafficker, is less likely to receive either victim status or sympathy 
like that garnered for his female counterpart.  Situations like this suggest that the 
issue with human trafficking is not exploitation but rather prostitution and rape. 
This is further exemplified in the Toronto Peel Region (Canada) case where a 
young woman was gang raped at an acquaintance’s home, and the young men 
involved in the rape were charged with human trafficking offences.  Law 
enforcement added a charge of human trafficking to the original rape charges 
65


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