Examining campaign strategies in EU Member States to introduce legislative measures to discourage demand for sex trafficking.
Disrupt Demand: Examining campaign strategies in EU Member States to introduce legislative measures to discourage demand for sex trafficking was an EU-funded transnational project led by the Immigrant Council of Ireland over 2 years (2017-2018).
It was designed to support efforts to prevent human trafficking for sexual exploitation by reducing the demand through researching successful strategies involving legal changes, and fostering cooperation among key stakeholders.
The aim of the project was to prevent human trafficking for sexual exploitation through demand reduction that uses legal measures. The project was a follow-up initiative to the Council’s project Stop Traffick: Tackling demand for sexual services of trafficked women and girls, which also aimed at human trafficking prevention through demand reduction informed by studies of the buyers of sex.
This project applied two main approaches:
- Mapping and researching legal challenges targeting reduction of demand that fosters exploitation in the sex trade.
- Sharing information on successful campaigning elements that achieved legal changes and resulted in activities that fostered cooperation among key stakeholders from the State and civil society.
The participating partners were a representative selection of EU member states including Sweden (Institute for Feminism and Human Rights), that has enacted such legal changes, Ireland (Immigrant Council of Ireland - leading partner) and France (Mouvement du Nid) where legal change has recently been effected, Lithuania (Klaipeda Social and Psychological Service Centre) where the legal change is being considered, Finland (Exit Prostitution Association) where some legislative change has been achieved and evaluated and Cyprus (Mediterranean Institute for Gender Studies) where civil society is campaigning hard for legal change.
The existing campaigns in the project countries which targeted demand by users of sex services have had a massive impact in creating public awareness of sex trafficking, gaining a review of anti-trafficking laws and achieving strong legal models deterring users.
The main results of this project were as follows:
- States with existing laws deterring demand are able to review and improve their strategies States presently trying to address demand in law will assess their work to date and inform their further efforts.
- NGOs and law enforcement agencies improve their cooperation, leading to better outcomes for victims in terms of accessing services and protection as direct result of this cooperation.
- New laws are enacted targeting demand reduction, resulting in fewer potential victims and potential buyers.
- Increased prevention of sex trafficking in the EU.
- More effective implementation of new laws, with monitoring on the impact of the legal change for demand reduction.
The main resources developed through the project: