April 17th, 2015

Breakthrough in Canada

“I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle–victorious.” - Vince Lombardi The fight against sex trafficking is a global war that must be fought one battle at a time. While the battle rages on in many parts of the...
April 17th, 2015

The Battle in France Continues

In an effort to curb commercial sexual exploitation and protect the rights of women, the French National Assembly, or lower house, recently voted in favor of a progressive law that would criminalize the demand side of prostitution. The nation’s lawmakers representing the French population wanted to send a strong message that buying, selling, abusing, exploiting, and objectifying the bodies of women is not acceptable in a society where gender equality...
April 14th, 2015

Is Prostitution Empowering?

The cast of Pretty Woman just celebrated twenty-five years since the release of their blockbuster movie. The world applauded and the Internet was abuzz. My colleague and friend Laila Mickelwait reflected too. To mark the anniversary, she wrote a passionate blog that has now created a frenzy. In her blog, Mickelwait challenges the glamorization of prostitution in Pretty Woman. She contrasts the Hollywood fairy tale with the realistic albeit sordid...
Tijuana, Mexico
April 6th, 2015

City in Focus: Tijuana, Mexico

With a population of 1,559,683, Tijuana is the fifth-largest metropolis in Mexico1 and the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California. The city’s San Ysidro port of entry is the busiest land-border crossing in the world2. Tijuana shares approximately fifteen miles of border with its sister city, San Diego, California. More than 50 million people cross the border between Tijuana and San Diego annually, with an estimated 300,000...
Julianas Story
March 24th, 2015

MYTH VS. FACT: 6 Common Myths About Prostitution and the Law

1. MYTH: If you make prostitution illegal it will go underground. The argument that criminalizing the purchase of sex will drive it “underground” is not based on any evidence. On the contrary, in Sweden and Norway—where the purchase of sex has been criminalized—the number of men buying sex has declined. Therefore, prostitution on the whole has declined.1 “Underground” is another word for “indoor”, “out of sight”, or “below the law”....
March 24th, 2015

The Reality of Pretty Woman

Today marks 25 years since the film Pretty Woman was released, and the cast has reunited for the first time to reminisce about the making of a film that has become one of the most popular love stories for a generation of moviegoers. I have to admit that as a teenager, I too loved the story of Pretty Woman. However, as I journeyed down the path that led to my...
March 9th, 2015

The World Cup Has Come and Gone, but Liberdade Continues

Liberdade. For more than two and a half years this initiative took us to Brazil. All across this South American country, we worked to bring freedom to women and children trafficked and trapped in Brazil’s thriving commercial sex industry. Liberdade culminated during the summer of 2014; while the eyes of the nations were on the World Cup games, our focus was on the victims of exploitation. We joined our voices...
What is Human Trafficking
February 19th, 2015

Fifty Shades of Black and White: Five Alarming Concerns

In an age when sexual violence against women around the globe is at epidemic proportions and the leading cause of injury to women is violence at the hands of men, Hollywood has decided to gift us with the film adaptation of E L James’ absurdly popular book Fifty Shades of Grey. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson glamorizes the film, released to coincide with Valentine’s Day, as a “powerful and romantic love story.”...
February 10th, 2015

Psalm Sixty-Nine

There is an “I” in the drowning. Not able to stand; yet something is speaking. Weary and failing eyes still see And wait for God To save them from the water To save them from their drowning. The shadow of hate cannot fall on love. The strength of bad days still leaves the glimmer of hope. Though they make you work for what you do not owe In your soul...
Paris, France
January 12th, 2015

City in Focus: Paris, France

In the classic novel Les Misérables, first published in 1862, Victor Hugo’s depiction of Fantine offers a sympathetic portrayal of the plight of an impoverished, prostituted woman living in Paris, France in the early 1800s. In order to provide for her child, Fantine is forced to sell a prized locket, her hair, her teeth, and ultimately, her body. During her time in prostitution, Fantine contracts a fatal disease. After her...