Moving Beyond ‘Supply and Demand’ Catchphrases: Assessing the uses and limitations of demand-based approaches in Anti-Trafficking
The need to reduce ‘demand’ for trafficked persons is widely mentioned in the anti-trafficking sector but few have looked at ‘demand’ critically or substantively. Some ‘demand’-based approaches have been heavily critiqued, such as the idea that eliminating sex workers’ clients (or the ‘demand’ for commercial sex) through incarceration or stigmatisation will reduce trafficking. In this publication, we take a look at the links between trafficking and: (1) the demand for commercial sex, and (2) the demand for exploitative labour practices. We assess current approaches used to reduce each of these types of ‘demand’ and consider other long-term approaches that can reduce the demand for exploitative practices while respecting workers’ and migrants’ rights (e.g. enforcing labour standards, reducing discrimination against migrants, supporting sex workers’ rights).