Neglecting Demand Fuels Human Trafficking

September 15, 2014 | By Human Trafficking Search

There are many forms of human trafficking and for the past two years, Human Trafficking Search has been writing a weekly blog on the topics of sex trafficking, child trafficking, organ trafficking and forced labor yet sex trafficking remains the most common form of human trafficking in the world. The HTS blog has covered both international and domestic trafficking on all continents, but whether local or abroad, the underlying cause of all types of human trafficking stems from demand. Much like any other product or service in the free market, human trafficking follows the standard economic principal of supply and demand. When buyers demand young women and girls for sexual services, the market eagerly complies and traffickers sell their “supply” for a large profit. The men and women responsible for the perpetuation of commercial sexual exploitation must face consequences for their actions in this not so free market. This is why Human Trafficking Search encourages and supports the creation of the Shared Hope Demanding Justice website. Only when the men and women who perpetuate the commercial sexual exploitation of human beings are held accountable and feel consequences for their actions will the demand for sex trafficking stop.


For demand to decrease, the buyers of sex must be held accountable. Many buyers lead doubles lives as respectable family and businessmen and women—some are even considered pillars of their community. With the Shared Hope Demanding Justice website, these buyers will be exposed and held accountable for their actions. The shame and embarrassment the victims of commercial sexual exploitation feel needs to be transferred to the real problem—the buyer. As current legislations stands today there are very few legal repercussions for buyers of sex, but that doesn’t mean the buyer should escape all consequences. The Shared Hope website will hold buyers accountable for their actions and use social repercussions as a form of deterrence.

Social Consequences

The Demanding Justice website will expose buyers to the pain, social disconnect and humiliation that victims of commercial sexual exploitation feel each time they are sold. By showing the convicted buyer’s mug shots on the Internet, the buyers will be forced to face their peers both professionally and personally and accept what they have done. The buyers face will be on the Internet just like the faces of the women and girls who are sold online everyday. If the anti-trafficking community is serious about ending demand and the legal community won’t step up and evoke stricter laws against buyers then the best way to end demand is through social consequences to the buyers. Negatively affecting the buyers lives through public exposure will help end demand, as potential new buyers will be deterred by the threat of their mug shot posted online.

Even though sex trafficking is fueled by demand, it is one of the least researched, funded or publicized topics in the anti-trafficking community. There will always be a demand for sex trafficking unless there is public dialogue and agreement that purchasing another human being for sex is wrong and never consensual. The Shared Hope Demanding Justice website is just the catalyst the anti-trafficking community needs to change conversation from the supply side of sex trafficking to the demand side.

Written by Human Trafficking Search is a project of the OLP Foundation whose mission is to promote creative and innovative solutions to inequality, poverty, and inadequate education. First designed in 2006, Human Trafficking Search is an extensive web resource to provide knowledge and information to service providers, advocates and law enforcement personnel on human trafficking. The unique multilingual web portal is aimed at increasing public awareness and at facilitating the elimination of human trafficking worldwide. It contains information in multiple languages, on 120 countries, and is searchable by keyword, by country, by organization and by theme. The portal contains background and action-focused information as well as a broad range of articles, research studies, congressional testimony, case studies, brief videos, a data map and a daily news service, as well as our weekly blog.

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About Shared Hope

Shared Hope International strives to prevent the conditions that foster sex trafficking, restore victims of sex slavery, and bring justice to vulnerable women and children.

We envision a world passionately opposed to sex trafficking and a committed community restoring survivors to lives of purpose, value, and choice — one life at a time.

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