Combating Sextortion: A Comparative Study of Laws to Prosecute Corruption Involving Sexual Exploitation

Fri, 10 Apr 2015 12:00 PM
Author: Thomson Reuters Foundation, International Association of Women Judges and Marval, O’Farrell and Mairal
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Sextortion – as termed by the International Association of Women Judges - is the abuse of power to obtain a sexual benefit or advantage. It is a pervasive yet under-reported form of corruption in which sex, rather than money, is the currency of the bribe.  It is not limited to certain countries or sectors, but can be found wherever those entrusted with power lack integrity and try to sexually exploit those who are vulnerable and dependent on their power.  Examples range from government officials granting permits in exchange for sexual favors, to teachers and employers trading good grades and career opportunities for sex with students and employees.

This report is a landscape study of legal and institutional frameworks for combating sextortion in nine jurisdictions: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Kenya, Mexico, Taiwan, Uganda and the United Kingdom.

In each jurisdiction, the research identifies: (i) how sextortion manifests itself, for example in government, educational or other settings; (ii) the existing legal framework for addressing sextortion, including statutory provisions and case law; (iii) institutional and other barriers to effective prosecution, including legal gaps, resource constraints, or cultural and societal pressures; (iv) resources in the form of tools or organizations that provides support for efforts to combat sextortion.

Combating Sextortion is a co-production of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, International Association of Women Judges and a global team of law firms: Marval, O’Farrell and Mairal, Hogan Lovells, Mishcon De Reya, Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa, Simba & Simba Advocates, Torys LLP and Rakhee Ditta, among others.

We hope this study becomes a powerful tool to raise public awareness about sextortion, and to support legislators, advocates and citizens in the fight to end this shameful practice worldwide.