Staff members from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, including president and CEO Patrick Trueman and Michael Shively, Ph.D. (both pictured above), were able to spend time with the Domestic Policy Council of the United States this week in order to educate them on the importance of demand reduction in the fight against sexual exploitation.
The Domestic Policy Council asked us directly what we believed the federal government should be doing to combat demand and we were able to clearly articulate the needs for them and advocate for the right solutions. We left feeling encouraged about the possibilities that could come from this opportunity.
The Importance of Demand Reduction in Fighting Sex Trafficking
Understanding and effectively combating demand for commercial sex is a crucial but often overlooked component of the fight against sexual exploitation. Efforts have long focused on—and rightly so—the need for victim care and recovery. This powerful work must continue to be a significant focus of efforts. Elsewhere, there have been many different law enforcement efforts to arrest and prosecute sex traffickers. This important work is also invaluable and must be continued.
But demand reduction cannot continue to go overlooked and under-addressed when it comes to fighting sex trafficking.
As important as it is to address the Supply side of sex trafficking (victims and survivors) and the Distribution side of sex trafficking (pimps, traffickers, etc.), if we leave the Demand side of sex trafficking out of our equation then we are ignoring significant opportunities to prevent crimes from being perpetrated in the first place. If we can begin to effectively drive down demand for commercial sex, then we can begin to drive down the number of victims being exploited and trafficked to meet that demand.
That is why, as a part of addressing the interconnected global web of sexual exploitation, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation is continuing to put resources into developing better awareness about, understanding of, and solutions for demand reduction.