National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month (observed every January) is the perfect time to remember that in order to prevent sex trafficking, we must stop the demand for commercial sex and prostitution by addressing sex buying.
Putting an end to sex buying can sound like a daunting goal, but fortunately there are many research, law enforcement, and lived experience experts who have dedicated their lives to doing just that. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is honored to host the annual Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation (CESE) Global Summit, among other events, and have these experts share their testimonies, explain their research, and give advice on how to disrupt sex buying and support survivors.
If you’re ready to dive into learning how to address sex buying and prevent sex trafficking, then you’re in the right place. The following presentations are excellent primers for anyone looking to become better informed and willing to be a part of the solution.
Timber! Strategies for Uprooting Commercial Sexual Exploitation
- The Seattle/King County Model includes a twofold strategy for putting a stop to demand. One focus of the strategy is on helping exploited persons get out of the system. The other focus is on preventing, disrupting, and intervening in sex buying activities while holding exploiters accountable.
- Since sex buying is a social problem, it needs a holistic solution that approaches the different sectors of society including public health and awareness, criminal justice, government/social services, technology, education, and employers.
- It’s through a multi-faceted strategy that local communities can begin to combat the demand of sex buying and bring an end to commercial sexual exploitation.
Sex-Buying Accelerants: Pornography and Other Normalizing Forces
- There are many ways to evaluate the sex trade. One perspective is to look at who is currently in the market and who will be in the future. Other considerations are the forces that lead to the behavior including factors such as (but not limited to): the age that sex buying started, how the first sex-buying experience was introduced, and pornography consumption habits.
- The biggest factor contributing to the intent to buy sex is a normalized belief system that maintains the ideas that women “enjoy” prostitution, that it’s a “victimless crime,” that sex buying is a “normal” thing for men to do, and that it satisfies a basic male urge. Pornography consumption is strongly associated with these normalized beliefs. Other factors include sexual promiscuity and self-preservation motives.
- There are factors that decrease sex-buying behavior, as well. These include marriage, perceiving a risk of arrest, arrest history, and age.
Review Boards, Male Bonding and Commercial Sexual Exploitation
- Gender socialization starts the moment a baby’s born. If it’s not taught in a healthy way, it very easily leads to destructive behaviors. For some men, these behaviors can include repressed emotions, sexist and homophobic ideas, and the inability to have meaningful male friendships.
- When men don’t learn how to properly relate to each other, it creates unhealthy male bonding. Requirements to participate in this bonding are rooted in misogyny and objectification, and often happen on review boards (think “Yelp” for prostitution).
- A key part of stopping demand and sexual exploitation is understanding the dynamics that contribute to toxic male identities, and creating a culture that helps boys step into a healthy masculinity.
The Global Supply Chain of Sexual Exploitation & the Necessity of Combating the Demand for Commercial Sex
- Organized sexual exploitation is a result of the male demand for women’s bodies to be sold as commodities. Therefore, efforts to reduce sexual exploitation must prioritize efforts to reduce male demand for commercial sex.
- The global supply chain of organized sexual exploitation includes powerful people and systems that both directly supply the demand (pornographers, strip clubs, brothels, etc.) and profit from it (hotel operators, taxi drivers, security firms, etc.).
- It’s important to remember that any approach to combating demand must include support and assistance for those who are currently caught in the systems of organized sexual exploitation.
Learn more about tactics used to stop demand and prevent sex trafficking on Demand Forum.