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Reducing Sex-Buying Can Stop Sex-Trafficking, NCOSE Reveals

Photo from Nadine Shaabana via Unsplash

Reducing Sex-Buying Can Stop Sex-Trafficking, NCOSE Reveals

By Movieguide® Contributor

At a recent National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) symposium, researchers revealed their insights from a study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice.

They found that the reduction of sex-buying can effectively curb trafficking.

“No commercial enterprise, criminal or otherwise, can exist without demand for whatever it is that is being transacted,” said NCOSE researcher Dr. Michael Shively. “Consumer demand is the cause and the existence of traffickers and the exploitation of victims are its symptoms. There’s no evidence that sex trafficking can be substantially reduced by supply-side interventions.”

“It’s very important to support survivors and identify them, it’s very important to go after the pimps and traffickers,” he continued. “But they are reactive [tactics] and they are symptom management. They do not stop this. There’s no evidence that they actually bring this to a halt or even reduce it. The only evidence-based interventions are demand-reduction.”

NCOSE researcher Lisa Thompson said many oppose demand reduction approaches. And many still don’t understand how demand reduction counters human trafficking.

Some try to offer the legalization of prostitution as an alternative to demand reduction. However, researchers Dr. Marian Hatcher and Dr. Marcel van der Watt believe that would create a breeding ground for harm.

“Full decriminalization and sex buyer impunity is not a pathway for harm reduction; instead, it is the operations room for harm production,” van der Watt said.

Hatcher used Nevada, the only state that legalizes prostitution, brothels and pimping, as an example.

“Nevada has been a failed science experiment for more than 50 years…The bottom line is they have increased organized crime, they have increased child exploitation, they have increased co-occurring crimes,” Hatcher stated.

NCOSE reports that prostitution is “inherently harmful.” It creates trauma, whether legalized or not, and “affirms male sexual entitlement.”

“To prove that buying sex is not inevitable, we need only point to the fact that the vast majority of men do not buy sex,” NCOSE said.According to a 2018 study from Demand Abolition which surveyed 8,201 adult males across the US, only 6.2% of men have bought sex within the past 12 months and 20.6% do so at least once in their lifetimes.”

“As NCOSE’s new NIJ-funded study shows, even the men who do buy sex or seek to buy sex can be effectively deterred by tried and true demand reduction tactics,” NCOSE wrote. “So the bottom line is: we can move the needle on demand reduction. And in doing so, we can prevent sex trafficking.”

NCOSE’s Law Center currently represents “Jane Doe,” a sex-trafficking victim, in a suit against Nevada’s brothels.

“The brothels Jane was sex trafficked in—which included well-known, “reputable” brothels like Mustang Ranch (owned by Story County Commissioner, Lance Gilman), Chicken Ranch, and Desert Rose—were usually surrounded by high, barbed wire fences and locked gates that Jane and the other women had no key for,” NCOSE wrote.

“Jane was not allowed to leave, nor even step outside into the locked yard, without asking for permission. When permission was granted for Jane and the women to leave, they were restricted to staying in certain locations and had to disclose where exactly they were going,” the organization said.

Against her will, Doe had to open mail and medications in front of staff, and sometimes the staff withheld medication. These are just a few of the brothels’ many transgressions. NCOSE reveals more details on its website.

Movieguide® previously reported how NCOSE uses artificial intelligence to stop trafficking:

NCOSE reported on a chatbot named Gracie, who has exchanged more than 54,000 messages with people looking for access to “prostituted persons or sex trafficked children.” The chatbot has also reported more than 6,000 potential predators to law enforcement agencies.

“Every conversation that a would-be sex buyer has with Gracie is a conversation that he/she isn’t having with a real minor, and some of the conversations will result in a buyer being brought to justice,” said Jamie Caruthers, the director of Demand Reduction and Policy at Street Grace, the organization behind Gracie.

Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


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