The US Approach to Combating Trafficking in Women: Prosecuting Military Customers. Could It Be Exported?


Noone, Michael. 2005. "The US Approach to Combating Trafficking in Women: Prosecuting Military Customers. Could It Be Exported?" Connections: The Quarterly Journal 4 (4): 81-9.

Author: Michael Noone


This paper discusses changes to the US "Manual for Courts Martial" with respect to prostitution. Whereas previous guidelines targeted suppliers rather than customers as part of an anti-trafficking effort, recent changes call for the criminalization of the patronage of a prostitute. The author discusses whether the US model could be transferred to other countries and concludes that before doing so, the respective countries should consider the peculiar legal environment in which the US proposal was developed.

Keywords: prostitution, accountability, military sexual assault, sex trafficking


Noone discusses the U.S. military’s approach to combating human trafficking by criminalizing the customers of a prostitute, rather than focusing on the suppliers. Under this law, a member of the U.S. military would be subject to criminal prosecution even if seeking sex from a prostitute in a country where prostitution is legal. Noone questions whether this same policy could be adopted by other countries, and advises that “before other countries propose similar laws, they should consider the peculiar legal environment in which this proposal was developed, and they should reflect on the difficulties that they would face if they were to try to transplant it” (82).

Topics: Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2005

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