For the past two decades,  efforts to fight the global phenomenon of sex trafficking have long emphasized the need for victim care and recovery, as well as law enforcement measures aimed at arrest and prosecution of sex traffickers. Such efforts have been, and continue to be, invaluable. Countless victims the world over have found paths toward healing, personal autonomy, and wellbeing, because of those who have pioneered victim recovery programs and who have advocated for legal reforms to bring their traffickers to justice. These approaches, victim services and criminal prosecution of sex traffickers, have addressed two sides of the triangle of activity that comprises sex trafficking— supply i. The irony of this situation can scarcely be overstated, since demand is the fulcrum on which all sex trafficking rests. Thus, failure to combat demand guarantees not only the survival of sex trafficking, but also the creation of future generations of victims.
Human Trafficking: A Supply and Demand Problem
Human Trafficking: A Supply and Demand Problem | Men Ending Trafficking | Canada
At the U. Institute Against Human Trafficking, we see sex trafficking as a supply answer to a demand problem. The reality is that the problem lies in the demand to purchase a human being for sex. Because the demand exists, the traffickers are filling an economic equation, and filling the supply with victims.
Beyond policy change and improving access to resources for victims, Clinical Professor Annalisa Enrile believes that curbing rates of sex trafficking requires a reexamination of the social norms that allow it to proliferate. Of those, it is estimated that some 16 million are exploited for labor, while nearly 5 million are exploited for sex. According to Enrile, some statistics report that , children in the United States are commercially sexually exploited every year. For example, runaways and children who are part of the foster care system tend to be at an elevated risk. Of sex trafficking victims, more than 99 percent are women and girls.
There are so many great people, and organizations, out there doing their best to fight human trafficking. In most cases, this means offering some level of support to those whom have been victimized by traffickers; or in the case of police agencies, prosecuting the traffickers. These are great things, and a very important part of what needs to be done. However, the further we go with these focusses, the clearer it becomes: this will not end human trafficking.