The Key to Human Trafficking?

What if the key to combatting human trafficking is within reach?

As I studied human trafficking in grad school, I realized:

I believe our BEST chance of sustainably reducing the number of captives is by decreasing the number of customers.

That means fewer men (and women) who would PAY for forced labor or services from a sex slave.

At its core, human trafficking is a business. Which means it hinges on some classic principles, too. Like supply and demand. Traffickers rely on supply AND demand in order to profit.

As long as there are humans, there’s supply.

That’s why supply-oriented solutions can be like digging in sand:

You relocate a portion, only to have the space re-filled. (No, I’m not reducing people to sand; only using it to explain the dynamic.)

But demand? That’s where things start to get exciting and feel more possible.

What happens when a business loses too many customers? They go out of business. I believe demand is the linchpin for the business of human trafficking, too:

Without enough people willing to pay for slaves’ services, what profit is there to traffickers?

This is a simplified explanation, but by no means will I pretend it’s an easy solution. There are millions of captives because there are enough customers to justify the supply.

But maybe it’s an easier solution than we realize. The customer is the key. Which means the power — the TRUE — power is within closer reach.

We each have a piece of the power to influence demand.

It’s in our purchasing decisions. Our marriages. Our singleness. Our advocacy. Our outspokenness against sexual objectification, porn, and adultery. Our honor for one another as men and women.

It’s in our refusal to condone the commoditization of human beings on any level.

And yes, the power is absolutely — and perhaps most importantly — in the words AND actions of men, currently the largest customer base.

Men, rise up. Speak up. Love the woman you’ve already got. (Women, love the man you’ve already got.

YOUR TURN: This is far from a thorough list of possible solutions.

What other solutions can you think of, to help decrease demand?



Rebecca Halton is the author of Words from the Other Woman: The True Account of a Redeemed Adulteress (read the first chapter here). Given the opportunity, she now uses her redemption story to equip couples and singles, helping to protect hearts, defend marriages, and bring hope to anyone stuck in shame.

Rebecca also has a master’s degree in International Policy, with a concentration in Conflict Resolution.  By choice, she also used research opportunities to study human trafficking — in English and Spanish.

She’s a self-professed redemption advocate, who’s increasingly — and less apologetically — learning to embrace grace, be real, and choose faith in the midst of whatever life may bring. Facebook / Instagram | Photo by Ashley Trovato of Wishbone Photography