chapter  6
26 Pages

Clients’ negligence in contributing to traffi cking: duty

In this chapter and chapters 7 and 8 I defend the imposition of negligencebased liability on clients who buy commercial sex indiscriminately, that is, without the ability to ensure that their demand is not satisfi ed by victims of sex traffi cking. The argument is that by creating demand, the client negligently contributes to the future recruitment of victims and their transfer to the site in which he buys (or bought) sex; he likewise contributes to the continuation and prolongation of the traffi cking experience of victims already exploited in that site. This risk is distinct from the risk, discussed in chapter 5, that by buying sex indiscriminately the client might commit sexual battery of any victim from whom he bought sex. If successfully defended, this cause of action will allow a victim to sue clients who did not have direct contact with her (or even with any other victim); however, it will not avail itself to nonvictims, since it is the contribution of indiscriminate demand to traffi cking (rather than to exploitation of non-victims) which makes the behaviour a breach of duty. Even within this constraint, such theory raises complex problems with respect to duty of care, breach and causation. This chapter deals with duty, chapter 7 with breach and chapter 8 with factual and legal causation. In practical terms, I suggest that liability will be limited to clients buying sex in the same city (or cities) in which the victim was exploited in the period of time ending when her exploitation ended and beginning at a date calculated by detracting the duration of the claimant’s exploitation from her date of recruitment; and that each such client will be severally liable to damages at large or a conventional award which could be set at around a £5,000 benchmark.