End Sex Trafficking - Equality Now


Human trafficking for sexual exploitation is a growing issue globally, and an overwhelming majority of victims of the trade are female.

What is Sex Trafficking?

Sex trafficking is the illegal trafficking of humans for sexual exploitation.

It is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world, worth nearly $100 billion each year, and 96% of its victims are women and girls.

Though international law and the laws of 158 countries criminalize sex trafficking, the ultimate destination for its victims - the sex trade - is still widely legally and socially acceptable.

Many countries have laws that either fully criminalize, decriminalize or legalize the sex trade in harmful ways: either they punish those who are being exploited, or openly promote their exploitation by giving traffickers, pimps, brothel-owners and sex buyers a safer environment in which to operate.


What are we doing about it?

By targeting the root of the problem – the demand for paid sex – we can protect women and girls.

Without the sex trade, there would be no industry to traffic women and girls into, so efforts to address sex trafficking must also address prostitution.

Equality Now advocates for a legal framework that:

  • Criminalizes those who exploit people for profit, including sex buyers, traffickers, pimps and brothel-keepers
  • Decriminalizes people in prostitution, including victims of trafficking, and provides them with support services – including to leave prostitution if they wish to do so
  • Recognizes that without demand (buyers), there would be no ‘need for a supply’ and therefore, criminalizes the demand for commercial sex that fuels prostitution and trafficking into prostitution

Read more about our campaign to end sex trafficking

Sex Trafficking survivor stories

Women trafficked for exploitation in the sex trade rarely have an opportunity for their voices to be heard.

That’s why Equality Now, in collaboration with the Sophie Hayes Foundation, developed The Lion Within - a powerful audio account of the first-hand experiences of three survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.

Read more about The Lion Within

Take action to End Sex Trafficking