The trafficking of women and girls for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation is a pervasive form of violence against women and girls and is inextricably linked with the commercial sex industry. Sex tourism, which offers men the opportunity to travel - often from Western countries to countries in the global South - for the purpose of buying sex with vulnerable women and girls, fuels the demand for sex trafficking and exploitation. Equality Now was one of the first human rights organizations to recognize and focus on the role of sex tourism in fueling trafficking and exploitation.
In 1996, Equality Now began its campaign to shut down the New York-based sex tour operator Big Apple Oriental Tours, a company organizing sex tours to Thailand and the Philippines. In 2003, Equality Now helped shut down the Hawaii-based sex tour operator Video Travel and supported the enactment of a Hawaii state law prohibiting the activities of sex tour operators. Beginning in 2005, Equality Now called on the federal government to end sex tourism, in particular, to investigate the owner/operated of G.F. Tours. Most recently, Equality Now has coordinated a civil lawsuit in a U.S. court on behalf of four Brazilian women who were allegedly exploited as minors by a U.S. citizen who ran sex tours from the U.S. to Brazil.