Human trafficking: how women and girls are exploited in the sex trade
Though international law and the laws of 158 countries criminalize sex trafficking, it is still legally and socially acceptable to treat women and girls as merchandise in the sex trade.
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.
End Demand: How Equality Now works to end sex trafficking
By targeting the root of the problem – the demand for paid sex – we can protect women and girls. No demand, no supply. Countless women and girls are bought and sold every year in the commercial sex trade, i.e. prostitution, which is often the end destination of sex trafficking. 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.
- 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
Trafficking for sexual exploitation is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world, it nets $99 billion each year. 96% of victims are women and girls.