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National Assessment of Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Efforts


  • How can we capture best practices for combatting human trafficking?
  • Abt developed an overview of more than 900 anti-demand tactics
  • We created the DemandForum website, which shares models and programs
The Challenge

The FBI calls human trafficking the third largest criminal activity in the world. Most attention is on pimps and smuggling rings—the supply side. But recently, law enforcement has attacked demand, trying to shrink the market for prostitution. Anti-demand approaches are widespread in the U.S., but there is little research on the interventions, and communities don’t share the lessons they’ve learned. Can we connect the dots to develop best practices?

The Approach

To fill the gap, Abt developed an overview of anti-demand tactics to give practitioners information about the more than 900 local tactics, including:

  • A john school that cut the re-arrest rate 40 percent
  • Reverse stings, where cops pose as prostitutes on the street or in brothels
  • Auto seizures and driver’s license suspensions
  • Survivor-led organizations in more than 100 cities that help generate greater public awareness about sexual exploitation
  • Research and development to enhance action and accountability
The Results

Abt’s study found that approaches to expand use of demand-reduction tactics could include training and technical assistance, peer networks, conferencing and web-based solutions. The study led to the creation of a website to inform practitioners about the range of models and programs implemented, problems faced and how to fix them.