Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.” --Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

>> ITALY: Enact legislation that prevents sex trafficking and exploitation
>> INDIA: Reform anti-trafficking laws to better protect sex trafficking victims

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.

29 July 2015 Equality Now response to Amnesty International's "Draft Policy on Sex Work" to decriminalize all aspects of the sex trade

29 May 2015 Big win - Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act signed into law!

24 April 2015 Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act passes Senate 99-0!

9 September 2014 Canadian Senate hearings on Bill C-36 taking place 9 - 11 Sept

20 February 2014 Letter to Amnesty International from Equality Now founder and Honorary President, Jessica Neuwirth, on their proposed Prostitution & Sex Trafficking policy

Other Equality Now initiatives to end trafficking in women:

>> Survivor Stories

>> Campaigns to End Sex Tourism

For information about past and completed campaigns in this program area, please see the actions archive.

For additional resources on trafficking, please click here.