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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Demand Factor in the Global Sex Trade: Human Trafficking as a Human Rights Crisis

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - 10:30am
2255 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on how the demand for commercial sex fuels the global human trafficking industry, perpetuating a human rights crisis.

International sex trafficking represents a serious human rights crisis affecting millions of people, primarily women and girls. It is a nefarious enterprise that generates nearly $100 billion in revenue annually worldwide.

The sexual exploitation that undergirds the industry is perpetrated by two key players: the trafficker (“pimp”) and the buyer (“john”). To downplay the role of either is a failure to grasp the basic dynamic of human trafficking. Yet, the buyer is often viewed through a lens of tolerance or even ignored, his actions tempered by cultural permissiveness or protected by outright legalization. Research has revealed that legalization or decriminalization of the purchase of commercial sex serves to drive the demand for sex trafficking and encourages buyers. By removing criminality along with the associated stigma, buyers experience few consequences and thus perpetuate their actions. A flourishing market in the trafficking of women and children develops to meet unsatisfied interests of buyers in the legal realm. Demand for commercial sex drives human trafficking and presents a dire human rights crisis for those who are violated and exploited.

The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime of 2000, expressly addresses the requirement that nations make serious efforts to reduce demand for trafficked persons. Article 9, addressing prevention of human trafficking specifically directs that, “States Parties shall adopt or strengthen legislative or other measures, such as educational, social or cultural measures, including through bilateral and multilateral cooperation, to discourage the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation of persons, especially women and children, that leads to trafficking.”

Please join us to hear from experts on the frontlines in the fight against human trafficking as they discuss the danger caused by purchasers and purveyors of commercial sex and successful efforts employed to combat demand.

Hosted by:

Joseph R. Pitts
Co-Chair, TLHRC
Randy Hultgren
Executive Committee
James P. McGovern
Co-Chair, TLHRC


Opening Remarks

  • Rep. Randy Hultgren, Executive Committee, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission 
    Written remarks


  • Taina Bien-Aimé, Executive Director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW)
  • Ernie Allen, Allen Global Consulting
    Written statement
  • Tina Frundt, Founder and Executive Director, Courtney’s House and trafficking survivor
  • Marian Hatcher, Senior Project Manager and Human Trafficking Coordinator, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois
  • Sam Olens, Attorney General, Georgia
  • Kubiiki Pride, Advocate and Mother of Survivor


  • Rep. Randy Hultgren, Executive Committee, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission 



114th Congress