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There is a multitude of contrasting laws and regulations applied to the profession of prostitution around the world. Laws regulating commercial sex are directly associated with sex trafficking operations since they appeal to the same clientele. This paper discusses countries that legalize prostitution or provide protections by legal statute and countries that decriminalize or prohibit the practice without any protections. It is difficult in many cases to determine when prostitutes are engaging in this profession by choice, and when they are being coerced or forced to do so. Sex trafficking and labor trafficking are forms of human trafficking, also referred to as forms of modern-day slavery. Many prostitutes do not have the option to leave their profession due to being controlled either physically or emotionally by a pimp and often do not control their earnings, making their work technically classified as sex trafficking. Alternatively, there are places in the world where prostitutes operate legally and are afforded the government protections given to any profession. Due to prostitution and human trafficking being largely hidden practices, all data used is incomplete and relies on victim, law enforcement, and witness reports, which will vary drastically by region and resources. This study uses research compiled from multiple academic sources and empirical analysis to show that sex trafficking is least prevalent in areas of the world that provide prostitutes protections by legal statute. This study also finds that countries that prohibit third-party involvement in prostitution have lower sex trafficking crimes.
sex trafficking, prostitution, human trafficking, commercial sex, sexual exploitation