The USC Gould International Human Rights Clinic will release Over-Policing Sex-Trafficking: How U.S. Law Enforcement Should Reform Operations, on Monday, November 15, 2021. The report is one of the first comprehensive reports about U.S. anti-sex trafficking law enforcement operations, jointly coordinated at the federal, state and local levels, and often known as “raids”, “stings” or “sweeps”. They involve law enforcement working undercover or investigating private establishments to identify persons who are sex trafficked (referred to as survivors or victims), and perpetrators. The U.S. government has long used these operations as a primary means for addressing sex trafficking, presenting them as an effective anti-sex trafficking tool through compelling media releases and press conferences. Meanwhile, there is little public data about operations’ outcomes and funding, despite distressing claims that operations harm and retraumatize persons who are sex trafficked, while perpetuating systemic racism as well as discrimination against LGBTQ individuals and undocumented immigrants.
Join a discussion with experts about one of the first comprehensive reports examining the efficacy of anti-sex trafficking law enforcement operations, commonly referred to as "raids," "stings," or "sweeps." Authored by the University of Southern California Gould School of Law’s International Human Rights Clinic, the report centers the voices and perspectives of persons who have been sex trafficked to ask: 1.Whether such operations meet the goals of the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act; and 2.Whether they should remain the primary anti-sex trafficking tool used by the U.S. government.
This past academic year, in response to a call for input from Michelle Bachelete, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Laura and Ava took the lead (collaborating with partners at Access Now), in drafting a 24-page submission providing data on U.S. law enforcement’s responses to anti-racism peaceful protests across the U.S. from June-Dec. 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, including excessive, militarized and discriminatory use of force, arbitrary arrests, detention and cruel treatment, and use of surveillance tactics as well as inflammatory language against protestors, journalists, medics and legal observers. In their submission, Laura and Ava also provided an overview of federal, state and local laws and policies affecting protestors’ rights in the U.S. and the lack of accountability mechanisms for abuse of those rights. Their submission made 41 concrete recommendations for addressing systemic racism in U.S. law enforcement.