Throughout this knowledge module, reference to certain provisions or sections of a piece of legislation, part of a legal judgment, or aspect of a practice does not imply that the legislation, judgment, or practice is considered in its entirety to be a good example or a promising practice.

Some of the laws cited herein may contain provisions which authorize the death penalty. In light of the United Nations General Assembly resolutions 62/14963/16865/206, and 67/176 calling for a moratorium on and ultimate abolition of capital punishment, the death penalty should not be included in sentencing provisions for crimes of violence against women and girls.

Other Provisions Related to Domestic Violence LawsResources for Developing Legislation on Domestic Violence
Sexual Harassment in Sport Tools for Drafting Sexual Harassment Laws and Policies
Immigration Provisions Resources for developing legislation on sex trafficking of women and girls
Child Protection Provisions Resources on Forced and Child Marriage
Other provisions related to dowry-related and domestic violence laws
Related Tools

Exploitation; Sexual Exploitation; or Commercial Sex Act

Last edited: January 25, 2011

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Drafters should at a minimum define the purpose of sex trafficking as sexual exploitation, which includes, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others. Drafters of existing laws have used variations of the term “exploitation” to address this critical component of sex trafficking laws. The UN Protocol uses the term “exploitation,” whereas national laws may use the term “sexual exploitation” or “sexual purposes” or “commercial sex act” and local laws may use the term “prostitution.”

Drafters should carefully consider the terms used for the purpose of the sex trafficking contained in the laws cited here and adopt a definition which provides the broadest protection for victims of all forms of sexual exploitation in harmony with national and local laws. The following language provides examples from a number of countries.     


Illustrative Examples:

  • “Whoever purchases another person, takes possession of them, accommodates them, transports them, sells them, delivers them or uses them in any other way, or acts as a broker in such operations, for the purpose of prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation….” (See: Slovenian Criminal Code, Article 113 (1), 2008)
  • “…with the aim that the person should be subjected to an offence under Chapter 6, Section 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, exploited for casual sexual relations or in another way exploited for sexual purposes….” (See: Swedish Penal Code, Chapter 4, Section 1a)
  • “…for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation.  (See:  UN Trafficking Protocol, Art. 3)
  • “…for the purpose of a commercial sex act.” (See: TVPA, 22 U.S.C. 7102, (9))  Commercial sex act is “Any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.” (See: TVPA, 22 U.S.C. 7102, (3))