Reducing the Demand for Human Trafficking

"Demand reduction" strategies focus on actions designed to reduce sex buying. Through demand reduction strategies, state and local jurisdictions find ways to reduce prostitution and sex trafficking.

Researchers in a study released in June 2012 found that American localities used various strategies that focused on sex buyers, colloquially known as "johns."

These measures include:

  • Web-based reverse stings, where johns are arrested after making contact with a decoy "prostitute" who is actually a police officer.
  • Brothel-based reverse stings, where police close a brothel, make it look like it is still open, and then arrest johns who arrive.
  • Seizing automobiles of those who solicit prostitutes.
  • Suspending driver's licenses of those who solicit prostitutes.
  • Using surveillance cameras in anti-prostitution efforts.
  • "John school" education or treatment programs. A previous NIJ-sponsored study found a 40 percent reduction in recidivism (8.8 percent to 4.5 percent) in a john school program.

The "Demand Reduction" study, conducted by Abt Associates Inc., showed that localities try demand reduction after attempts to reduce prostitution have failed, or in response to community calls to do something about prostitution.

Demand reduction strategies appear to be promising, but many have not been rigorously assessed for effectiveness.

Read the full report, National Overview of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Efforts (pdf, 245 pages).

Date Created: June 13, 2012