People paying for sex don't get sentenced to full extent of the law, study says

PHOENIX - A new study called "Demanding Justice" conducted by Shared Hope and ASU reveals people who pay for sex don’t get the maximum penalties allowed by law.

The study was conducted to show the struggles that law enforcement deals with when encounter human trafficking.

"I thought I met the man of my dreams. I thought I was going to get married.  But that wasn't the case at all," said Rebecca Bender, human trafficking victim.

Her dream guy turned into her pimp forcing her into a life of prostitution for six years.

Only to be saved during a raid by federal investigators.

"He got sentenced to 1 year for tax evasion. Because none of us would talk. We were too afraid of him,” said Bender.

Years later, Bender is still scared. "I'm too afraid. I'm married with children now," said Bender.

And she won't identify the man that forced her to become a sex slave -- who she says is still out there selling women for money.

"I feel guilty for the woman he's trafficking now," said Bender.

She said most girls won't turn on their pimp. So the only way to hurt the human trafficking industry is to hurt the customers. A strategy the state of Arizona is taking on. The study looked at the time “johns” spend behinds bars – the maximum sentence is 24 years but the average people actually spend behind bars is 3 months.

"They knowingly buy and pay for sex and we want to make sure that we stop that cycle.”

Law enforcement and prosecutors are also looking at charging johns federally. They look at if anyone or any products used in the exchange of services crossed stated lines.

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