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Fordham International Law Journal

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This paper presents an argument for recognizing “forced prostitution” as an international of- fense in its own right for which the procurers, brothel owners and managers, and financiers as well as the women’s customers can be held criminally liable. While the international debate has at- tempted to characterize forced prostitution as slavery, the term ”slavery” fails to evoke the images of all the violations that encompass forced prostitution. Were the United Nations and regional or- ganizations to acknowledge and label forced prostitution as an international crime, their member states would be required to enact domestic legislation outlawing and criminalizing it as well as strictly enforcing those provisions. While forced prostitution could be prosecuted in most coun- tries under a variety of statutes, the international community has not succeeded in its attempts to decrease the prevalence of the practice because it lacks a universal rallying point that would focus attention on the dismal practice.


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