To read this content please select one of the options below:

Should sex traffickers be subject to sexually violent predator laws?

Benjamin Thomas Greer (Sacramento, California, USA)
Grace Cotulla (Folsom, California, USA)
Halleh Seddighzadeh (Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA)

Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 1 August 2016




Protecting society from sex offenders has presented a challenge for state legislatures. Recent decades have seen a significant increase in sexually motivated crimes, especially sex trafficking. Effectively combatting sexual exploitation demands a range of legal strategies. As of 2012, 20 states have passed sexually violent predators (SVP) legislation. Human traffickers may exhibit the same deplorable characteristics as SVPs and should be subject to civil commitments. Traffickers are extremely skilled at exploiting their victim’s psychological pressure-points; knowing which cultural or personal experiences they can prey upon to extract compliance. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the overlapping predatory nature of sex traffickers and SVPs; the creation and purpose of sexual predator civil commitment statutes; and to dissect two cases which could give grounds for civil commitment.


Legal research and analysis.


Repeated human sex traffickers may suffer from an underlying mental illness which would render them a continued danger to society when released from jail. They should be evaluated and civility committed if medically appropriate.

Practical implications

A potential increase in civil commits.

Social implications

Keep society safe from repeat sexual predators.


The authors have vast experience in the field of human trafficking and this topic will be a pioneering initial discussion.



Greer, B.T., Cotulla, G. and Seddighzadeh, H. (2016), "Should sex traffickers be subject to sexually violent predator laws?", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 121-133.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles