Protection of the Child Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States

Zbigniew Lasocik


According to international human rights standards and European regulations, children who provide paid sexual services are considered victims of the crime of human trafficking and should receive special protection. In the United States, however, such children are also treated as perpetrators of the crime of prostitution and are often arrested. In Europe, there is a non-punishment clause, expressed in Article 8 of the European Union Directive of 2011. Since in the US such a clause does not exist, therefore some states are looking for other ways to protect child victims from arrest. One of the instruments of such protection is the institution of “safe harbor”. This legal regulation allows to avoid negative criminal consequences of a violation of the law. Typical for economic and financial regulations, this institution is nowadays used by some states to protect child victims “from law enforcement”. The article examines the process of creating legislation relating to children who are exploited in the sex business and who are victims of modern slavery. Analysis of such legislation in Colorado serves as a case study. Despite negative attitudes of some policymakers and part of the society, under pressure from experts and non-governmental organizations, the relevant law was prepared only in 2019. Ultimately, the legislative procedure could be finalized thanks to the agreement between the Republican and Democrat representatives, and the law came into force thanks to the firm stance of a progressive Governor of the state.


child victims of human trafficking; special protection; paid sexual services; non-punishment clause; safe harbor; international human rights standards; legislation; the United States

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Date of publication: 2021-12-17 19:45:20
Date of submission: 2021-06-05 15:11:24


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