Soroptimists STOP Trafficking sign now

A survey of countries around the world finds that we share one common problem: treating women and girls like commodities that can be sold to gratify the sexual urges of men. In most cases, these women and girls are being held against their will and forced into sex slavery. Even when the woman is a prostitute by choice, she is often forced into that role by a pimp, poverty, addiction, or her need to support her children. The average age of entry into prostitution in the United States is 12 to 14, which hardly constitutes any sort of choice.

Although most states have laws against human trafficking, kidnapping and rape, they are not all created equal nor are they regularly enforced. The prevailing attitude continues to be that prostitution, strip clubs, massage parlors, etc. constitute an exchange between consenting adults. All too often, it is the victims who are arrested and punished by law enforcement.

The undersigned advocate for a Swedish model of legislation that punishes the buyers of sex, and assists the victims to get out of the commercial sex industry by providing social welfare programs for her and her family. In 1999, Sweden criminalized the buyers of commercial sex acts and decriminalized the sellers. Prostitution was denounced as an aspect of male violence against women and children, and the government increased funding for services to help women exit the sex trade and public education. Police and prosecutors were trained intensively and pushed to enforce the law. Within five years, Sweden drastically reduced the number of both women in prostitution and johns (men who purchase women).

If we are serious about helping the countless number of women and girls who are terrorized, tortured, held in isolated captivity and forced into sex slavery, we need to institute a federal law that punishes the buyers of sex while assisting the victims to rebuild their lives.

We know you are as outraged as we are about the state of sex trafficking in the United States and the world today. We are counting on you, as president of the United States, to do all in your power to see that traffickers and purchasers are prosecuted, and victims of trafficking are protected and given the resources they need to rebuild their lives. As long as women and girls are for sale in this country, there can be no gender equality or freedom.


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Brooke StrongBy:
Transport and infrastructureIn:
Petition target:
President Obama

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