Pornography-Based Sex Trafficking: A Palermo Protocol Fit for the Internet Age

Updated: Jul 9

By: Hope Watson


PDF: Pornography-Based Sex Trafficking


The United Nations Palermo Protocol provides an international framework for regulating human trafficking with aims of increasing perpetrator prosecution and victim rehabilitation. Signatory nations implement this resolution through domestic legislation. Discrepancies across these statutes result in dangerous jurisdictional gaps and chaotically varied law enforcement approaches. Though legal scholarship rarely addresses the topic, pornography-based sex trafficking provides a clear example of this trend. The unique digital features of the internet compound these challenges. This Note seeks to close procedural gaps and alleviate policing frustrations through a proprietary examination of the Protocol’s “exploitation” definition and suggests an amendment to the Protocol that uniformly criminalizes coerced pornography across all signatory nations.