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CT News Junkie Op-Ed: Addressing the 'Why' in Sex Trafficking

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted unanimously on legislation to address the demand side of sex trafficking, marking a major shift in the way our state addresses this crime.

Over the last 10 years in Connecticut, individuals arrested for prostitution were seven times more likely to be convicted than those arrested for buying sex. Both crimes are class A misdemeanors, but their enforcement is inequitable, as is how they are perceived. In the eyes of the law and of the public, buyers of sex are an afterthought, almost entirely absent from the public discourse over prostitution and human trafficking.

Law enforcement practices reinforce the idea that those buying sex are secondary, as evidenced by the name given to police operations targeting buyers — “reverse sting.” Even more glaring is the omission of sex buyers from cultural conversations about prostitution, which almost exclusively focus on the sex worker/victim dichotomy. By framing the issue squarely on “the prostitute,” the act of buying sex is treated as a given.

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