Every year, millions of women and girls around the world suffer grave human rights violations at the hands of traffickers and pimps, who profit from the trade in human beings and "johns" or buyers who exploit them and fuel this multibillion dollar illegal enterprise. Some women are abducted, some are deceived by offers of legitimate work, and some are sold by their own poverty-stricken families or are themselves driven by poverty, isolation and/or abuse into the lure of traffickers who prey upon their desperation and vulnerability. Traffickers employ manipulation, coercion and deception to ensnare women and make it extraordinarily difficult for them to escape. Regardless of their route into commercial sexual exploitation, women can become trapped in a world of violence, debt bondage, abuse and isolation.
While human trafficking is difficult to identify and consistently underreported, it is a prevalent and pervasive crime that transcends international borders and occurs not only between countries but within countries, states, cities and neighborhoods. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are at least 12.3 million adults and children in forced labor, bonded labor and commercial sexual servitude at any given time. According to the UN, 79% of identified cases of human trafficking involve sexual exploitation and the majority of the victims are women and children.
Equality Now believes that the most effective way to end sex trafficking is by addressing demand for prostitution. Such a strategy would include criminalizing traffickers and buyers of sex while decriminalizing victims and providing them with rehabilitative and other services.
In this program area, we support the work of grassroots groups working to end sex trafficking. We also advocate for passage and implementation of strong anti-trafficking legislation, at the state, national and international levels.
9 September 2014 Canadian Senate hearings on Bill C-36 taking place 9 - 11 Sept
Other Equality Now initiatives to end trafficking in women:
For information about past and completed campaigns in this program area, please see the actions archive.
For additional resources on trafficking, please click here.