Whether as a result of conceptual disagreement regarding what counts as sex trafficking, political disagreement regarding what should be done about it, or simply a lack of political will, there was no internationally recognized definition of sex trafficking until 2000. This is not to say, however, that the international community took no interest in sex trafficking before this time. Indeed, even before 2000, numerous instruments of international law called for the abolition of sex trafficking. The problem was, none of them offered a definition of what was to be abolished. Thus, notwithstanding widespread agreement that something should be done about sex trafficking, there seemed to be little agreement on what, precisely, sex trafficking was.
Michelle M. Dempsey, Carolyn Hoyle & Mary Bosworth,
Defining Sex Trafficking in International and Domestic Law: Mind the Gaps,
Emory Int'l L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.emory.edu/eilr/vol26/iss1/7