The Demand-Side in Anti-Trafficking: Current measures and ways forward
In the last decades, considerable efforts have been made to eradicate trafficking in human beings. In this context, the role of demand has gained prominence in public and political debates. Activists had lobbied for a reference to demand in the UN Anti-Trafficking Protocol, mainly with the aim to criminalise ‘the demand’ or purchase of sexual services. What was eventually agreed upon was something different and above all vague. Indeed, the Protocol asks signatory states to ‘discourage the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation of persons, especially women and children, that leads to trafficking’, as do the 2005 Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and the 2011 EU Anti-Trafficking Directive (2011/36/EU). This demand-clause triggered a search for meaningful interpretations in a range of fields. The project DemandAT had the task of mapping what was understood as demand-side measures, to suggest a consistent conceptual and theoretical framework for the analysis of demand-side and alternative policies, and to contribute to a better understanding of the working of selected ‘demand-side’ measures. This policy brief summarises main research results and formulates recommendations for European and national policy makers.