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Demand and supply

The below extracts are from a helpful article, ‘Men Create the Demand: Women are the Supply’ by Donna M. Hughes, University of Rhode Island. 2000

“Prostitution is not natural or inevitable; it is abuse and exploitation of women and girls that results from structural inequality between women and men on a world scale.

"Sexual exploitation eroticises women`s inequality and is a vehicle for racism. Black women, minority ethnic women and indigenous women suffer disproportionately.

"The global sexual exploitation of women and girls is a supply and demand market. Men create the demand and women are the supply. Cities and countries where men’s demand for women in prostitution is legalized or tolerated are the receiving sites, while countries and areas where traffickers easily recruit women are the sending regions.

"In the case of prostitution, the challenge is to end the discrimination for being in prostitution, while at the same time, ending the oppression of being used in prostitution. To do this we need to decriminalize prostitution for women, so the state is no longer punishing women for being exploited and abused. We need services that assist victims who are suffering from trauma, poor health, and physical injuries. States need to provide assistance to women and girls in the form of shelters, hotlines and advocates.

"At the same time, we have to oppose the legalization and regulation of prostitution and trafficking, which allow women to be exploited and abused under state determined conditions, and the decriminalization of pimping, trafficking and buying women in prostitution. We must focus more attention on the legitimacy of the demand by men to sexually exploit women and girls. We have to hold the criminals and perpetrators accountable for the harm they do.”

The 2009 report `Tackling Demand` provides a rapid evidence assessment of the published research literature.

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