05 June 2010

HOW 2 Fight Demand

Everyday Actions

A few months ago on Facebook I was asked some questions about an article from the Chicago Tribune's Mary Schmich. The article was about sex trafficking in America and it included quotes about targeting the "demand side" of the crime. I thought the article was very interesting but the comment I received later caught my attention even more. It goes as follows:
"I read about stopping HT yet, I am flummoxed on the practical application. For instance, in the Mary Schmich article I read, ""You have to make it very expensive and unhappy for the customer," she said. "We've got to punish men who are buying sex from children. We have to stop normalizing it."
"That means going after the customer and making it clear that here in Chicago we're not going to put up with this."
How does one "go after" the customer? How does one actively "make it expensive" - fines and prison time?
My only problem with it was I didn't have an answer. After asking around I realized just how uncommon this answer really is.

So today I'm starting a series about how a normal citizen like yourself can fight the demand of sex trafficking. Before I get started I want to recognize The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. Their website provided material for this series and they are also an example for any organization to follow or join in the fight against sexual exploitation, to include sex trafficking.

Underage teen prostitute
1.Ok, the first thing a person can do is understand the role that the demand for commercial sex plays in prostitution. Be vigilant about refocusing conversations about prostitution away from blaming the woman to holding the people purchasing sex accountable for their actions. Challenge people in your friendship circle to stop patronizing sex trade venues. Highlight how practices that have become socially acceptable, such as hiring women to strip at bachelor parties or going to strip clubs, can be harmful and serve to normalize the exploitation aspects of the sex trade.

This step takes us out of our comfort zones the first day. Most of the time when we think of how we can take a stand against sex traffick, we think of someone else and not our friends. But this proves that everyone is in a position to take action. I encourage you to take the first step and watch how people realize you took a stand when they didn't. I think a lot of us are going to be surprised at the results!

"If there were no customers, there would be no prostitution."