A new version of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TPRVA 2007/11) just passed the House (as H.R. 3887) and is now on its way to the Senate. While it contains some laudable legislation combating forced labor and child soldiering, it also, once again, targets voluntary sexual labor by conflating it with forced prostitution and sex trafficking. It contains a very sweeping section outlawing "sex tourism" (the section in question can be found on pages 69–72 of the text of the bill), which it basically defines as any movement over into or out of the United States for purposes of performing or purchasing "illicit sexual acts", which includes any and all commercial sexual services. Existing legislation prohibits traveling abroad to purchase sex with minors; the new legislation expands this to include sex with consenting adults, even in countries where this is legal. (For example, an American who buys sex in an Amsterdam brothel would be subject to Federal prosecution back in the US.) Notably, it also criminalizes travel to or from the US to sell sexual services as well. (For example, a Montreal escort who travels to an American city to sell sex would be further criminalized under Federal law, in addition to existing local law.) Basically, it resurrects the Mann Act and internationalizes it.
I don't get it. What possibly justifies this invasion into people's privacy?? I mean I understand about wanting to prosecute people who go abroad to get sex from 11 year olds, but why do law makers have to be so incredibly stupid and unspecific, lumping people like that together with all the other possibilities?!