Antislavery Efforts Must Focus on Demand — A Post from Siddharth Kara

Siddarth KaraSiddharth Kara, author of Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery, continues his posts for Take Part with a new essay, “Antislavery Efforts Must Focus on Demand.”

In the essay, Kara applies a business and economic analysis to understand the supply and demand aspects of sex trafficking. He argues that by understanding this aspect of the sex trade, we put ourselves in a better position to eradicate it. As he shows in both the post and in his book, sex trafficking provides enormous profits and has few risks for both traffickers and consumers. Kara writes, “The absence of real risk is largely due to poorly enforced laws, very low prosecution and conviction levels, systemic corruption, poor victim-witness protections, and insufficient economic penalties in the law.”

Thus, Kara argues that “the most effective efforts to eradicate sex trafficking are those that reduce aggregate demand by drastically increasing the costs and risks associated with the exploitation of trafficked sex slaves. In the post he lays out some tactics that can be undertaken by individual citizens to help end sex trafficking:

1. Initiate media and outreach campaigns to lawmakers demanding a more aggressive demand-side approach to contemporary slavery (details of what this means are in my book);

2. Initiate media and outreach campaigns to corporations whose products you purchase demanding they certify their supply chains are free of slave labor, under threat of migrating your consumption to competitors who do;

3. Liaise with local law enforcement through a system of community vigilance committees (CVC’s) to seek out signs of slave exploitation for the purpose of proactive, human-rights intervention in such establishments;

4. Support NGO’s with victim-witness shelters or empowerment programs through financial or volunteer contributions. For example: Free the Slaves, Polaris Project, International Justice Mission, and ASSET.

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