Examining campaign strategies in Member States to introduce legislative measures to discourage demand for sex trafficking

What is Disrupt Demand?

The project is designed to support efforts to prevent human trafficking for sexual exploitation by reducing demand, through researching successful strategies involving legal changes, and fostering cooperation among key stakeholders.

Already, campaigns in the project countries, which targeted demand by users of sex services, have had a massive impact in creating public awareness of sex trafficking, gaining a review of anti-trafficking laws and achieving strong legal models deterring users.

The partners are a representative selection of EU member states including Sweden, that has enacted such legal changes, the Republic of Ireland and France where legal change has recently been effected, Lithuania where the legal change is being considered, Finland where some legislative change has been achieved and evaluated and Cyprus where civil society is campaigning hard for legal change.

In the EU28, 3/4 of human traffickers are male.

Eurostat 2015


The objective of the project is to prevent human trafficking for sexual exploitation by reducing demand through:

  • mapping and researching legal changes targeting reduction;
  • sharing information on successful campaigning elements that achieved legal changes and resulted in activities that fostered cooperation among key stakeholders.

To this end, existing implementation strategies around new laws, and mechanisms for monitoring their effectiveness will be analysed with a view to identifying and promoting good transferable practice among member states.

96% of victims of trafficking for purposes of sexual expoitation and 75% of victims of trafficking for all purposes are women and girls.

Eurostat 2015

Key activities

Key activities include the production of a comparative research report on the various approaches and campaigns for legal change targeting demand, based on six reports from the participating countries.

Working papers from four thematic discussions inform the research on issues such as political engagement, public mobilisation, incorporating views of trafficking survivors and communications.

Transnational working meetings explore and identify best practice in two crucial areas, the NGO and law enforcement cooperation in countries with effected legal change, and implementation frameworks to monitor effective application.

A robust dissemination of the project knowledge/products ensures visibility.

Majority of men who buy sex are married or in a relationship

Stop Traffick! Tackling demand for sexual services of trafficked women and girls (2014)


  1. States with existing laws deterring demand will be able to review and improve their strategies
    States presently trying to address demand in law will assess their work to date and inform their further efforts
  2. NGOs and law enforcement agencies will improve their cooperation and new collaborations will be created, leading also to better outcomes for victims in terms of accessing services and protection as direct result of this cooperation
  3. New laws will be enacted targeting demand reduction, resulting in fewer potential victims and potential buyers
  4. Increased prevention of sex trafficking in the EU
  5. More effective implementation of new laws, with monitoring on the impact of the legal change for demand reduction.

This project is Co-funded by the Internal Security Fund of the European Union.

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