Sex trafficking is defined as a commercial sex act that is induced by force, fraud, threat, or coercion, or in which the person performing such act has not attained 18 years of age.

It is believed to be the second largest criminal activity in the world.

The modern concept of sex trafficking didn’t gain international attention until the year 2000.

On October 28, 2000, the U.S. Congress enacted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which set up formidable actions to combat trafficking in persons. Specifically:

1. Coordinate and monitor anti-trafficking activities through an interagency task force;

2. Prevent human trafficking through vocational training, education, and human trafficking public awareness campaigns;

3. Protect human trafficking survivors by not detaining them in correctional facilities, providing them with medical care and other assistance, and protecting them and their families from revictimization and/or deportation; and

4. Strengthening prosecution and punishment of human traffickers.

Less than two months after the TVPA was adopted in the United States, the United Nations met in Palermo, Italy, and adopted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime—colloquially known as the Palermo Protocol. The purpose of the protocol was threefold:

To prevent and combat trafficking in persons, paying particular attention to women and children;
To protect and assist the victims of such trafficking, with full respect for their human rights; and
To promote cooperation among states’ parties in order to meet those objectives.

Since 2000, there has been a substantial increase in public awareness of sex trafficking. There are more anti-trafficking task forces, hotlines, and survivor services than ever before. However, there are still critical gaps between the sex trafficking narrative, reality, and policy, which inhibit our ability to prevent new crimes, prosecute offenders, and protect survivors.

Freedom Light seeks to fill these gaps and support evidence-based anti sex trafficking interventions.