DEMAND AS ROOT CAUSE FOR TRAFFICKING FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
Demand as root cause for trafficking for sexual exploitation
The real source of trafficking and exploitation is demand. This have too often remained invisible and outside the scope of State’s anti-trafficking efforts. Poverty and inequality, among other, have often been considered as the cause of human trafficking: in reality, those are vulnerabilities, which can be used by traffickers to easily ensnare victims, but they are not the cause of trafficking.
Sexual exploitation is a form of human trafficking, and involves in particular forced prostitution, forced pornography and sexual exploitation of children. The demand that fuels trafficking for forced sexual exploitation is the demand for paid sex, which is often met by trafficking victims. Men typically do not seek to buy sex from trafficking victims, but rather seek to buy sex, and trafficking victims are what they are provided. As trafficking survivor Rachel Moran once said, “They don’t know and they don’t care.” This demand is thus overwhelmingly created by men and whose price is paid by women and girls. The demand of those men is faceless, nameless and consent-less. Men who pay for sex from trafficking victims not only are, and create the demand, they also form part of the trafficking chain, and are inflictors of harm upon victims through engaging in acts akin to rape.
Because buyers and traffickers can act relatively free of consequence, their likelihood of engaging in the market increases. Growing transactions is what we actually see in countries where regulation and decriminalization of approaches to prostitution apply. The only solution for impacting the dimensions of the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation is to reduce the number of buyers buying. In 1999, Sweden implemented the so-called Nordic Model (now the Equality Model), in order to combat the demand for prostitution and sexual exploitation.
Four pillars constitute the Nordic Model:
- Prostitution is violence against women
- The buying of sexual services is criminalized
- Provide protection and real help for women to exit prostitution
- Early awareness-raising in schools on the harms of prostitution
The Nordic Model thus criminalizes demand by targeting the buyers of sexual services. As Sandra Norak said in our webinar on demand for sexual exploitation (13 April 2021): “To fight trafficking and exploitation, we need to reduce demand because demand is a breeding ground for trafficking. Men will not stop buying the bodies of women, as long as it is not forbidden.”
To learn more about this issue, we invite you to click on the links below:
to watch the videos of the webinars
or the interventions of each speaker
and to download in the video descriptions, the transcripts and additional documents made available to researchers.