Is Trafficking in Human Beings Demand Driven?

A Multi-Country Pilot Study

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This research paper reveals the findings of a multi-country pilot study carried out to investigate the demand side related to the trafficking of human beings. It focuses on employer demand for domestic workers in private homes and consumer demand for commercial sexual services in selected European and Asian countries. In both sex and domestic work, the absence of effective regulation is one of the factors that help to create an environment in which it is possible and profitable to use forced labour.



Conclusions and recommendations

Demand for both commercial sexual services and the labour of domestic workers, like demand in all markets, is very much a socially, culturally and historically determined matter. It is also intimately related to questions concerning supply or availability; indeed, we could almost say that supply generates demand rather than the other way round. There is no absolute or given level of demand for the services of lap-dancers in any society, for example, and before the relatively recent advent of lap-dance clubs, no one bemoaned their absence. Similarly, and as illustrated by the interview data from western expatriates in Thailand and Hong Kong, the availability, acceptability and affordability of live-in domestic workers can stimulate demand among people who had never before thought of themselves as “needing” to consume large quantities of paid domestic labour on a daily basis.


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