This essay examines the key characteristics and contradictions of the global problem of sex trafficking and the attendant policy approaches of trafficking control and protection. By drawing on examples from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Asia, the essay examines the competing assumptions of sex work and the problem of sex trafficking. The author interrogates the ways in which the dominant discourse has facilitated and justified the pursuit of particular counter-trafficking policies and paternalistic interventions by state and non-state agencies in the global North and South. The essay highlights some of the gendered and exclusionary consequences of contemporary sex trafficking control. The author also explores the human costs of the violent logic of global trafficking control.