This section provides information on organizations and agencies focused on reducing demand for commercial sex. Here you’ll find reference materials such as Abt Associates’ 2012 report, A National Assessment of U.S. Efforts to Combat Demand, and database produced for the National Institute of Justice, videos of panel discussions and interviews on ending demand, local ordinances applied to sex buyers, and more.
Questions? Ideas? Updates? Please contact us.
Organizations and Agencies that Address Demand
There are many non-profit organizations and non-governmental programs working to reduce demand, either exclusively or in addition to providing survivor support or pursuing pimps and sex traffickers. A number of government agencies are involved in similar work. We have identified over 50 such efforts in the United States, and there are probably more. Brief descriptions and contact information for these programs, agencies, and organizations are provided below.
The lists of organizations and programs are unlikely to be comprehensive and completely up-to-date. Programs unlisted in the Organization List document certainly exist, and although we try to keep the list current, some of the programs listed may no longer operate. Please contact us if you know of programs that should be added to – or deleted from – the lists.
In addition to entities that focus on demand, we have listed at the end of the “Organization List” document over 400 programs that provide services to survivors in more than 200 U.S. cities and counties. Many of these program are led and staffed by survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. While survivor-support programs are crucially important in their own right, they often contribute to anti-demand efforts. For example, many john school programs and other initiatives are led by (or partner with) survivor-serving and survivor-led organizations. John school programs such as those based in San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Kansas City are led by organizations founded by sex trafficking survivors (SAGE, Breaking Free, and Veronica’s Voice, respectively).
Local Contact Information
The Cook County (IL) Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) has compiled contact information for police departments and other local agencies and organizations in more than 1,200 cities and counties listed on Demand Forum. In addition, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers have assembled updated contact information for the operators of 40 U.S. john schools. If you are interested in acquiring phone numbers or email addresses in communities that have implemented anti-demand tactics, please contact us.
State Laws and Local Ordinances Related to Prostitution Demand Reduction
The Cook County (IL) Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) has compiled information about prostitution laws and ordinances, as well as victim service providers, operating in the cities and counties that participate in the National Johns Suppression Initiative. Inquiries about past operations, or potential agency participation in future operations, can be made to the initiative’s coordinator: Marian Hatcher, Project Manager, Cook County Sheriff’s Office’s Women’s Justice Programs (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Documentary Film Addressing the Need to Combat Demand
Two filmmakers conducted research in ten countries in their attempt to answer the question: “How can we prevent sexual exploitation before it happens in the first place?” Though many governments are improving their prosecution of traffickers and provision of care to victims, the filmmakers explore whether those approaches can actually shrink or eliminate the markets for commercial sex that drive sex trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation.
“National Johns Suppression Initiative” led by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office
Since 2011, the Cook County (IL) Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) has been coordinating periodic reverse sting operations occurring simultaneously in multiple cities. The collaborative effort was initially called the “National Day of John Arrests,” and the present name was adopted in 2015. The coalition of agencies that participate in these coordinated enforcement efforts has grown from eight to more than 50. The most recent National Johns Suppression Initiative event occurring in 2017 involved 30 law enforcement agencies in 15 states that conducting sting operations producing the arrests of 723 sex buyers and 29 sex traffickers. The 13 operations from 2011 through 2017 have collectively resulted in the arrests of over 6,500 human traffickers and men attempting to buy sex, and have produced evidence leading to additional charges such as adult and juvenile felony sex trafficking, criminal solicitation of a minor, pimping, promotion of adult and juvenile prostitution, drug trafficking, possession of illegal firearms, and arrests for outstanding warrants. Each of the operations has also led to the rescue of child sex trafficking victims, the seizure of numerous vehicles used in the commission of crime, and the imposition of thousands of dollars in fines. In many jurisdictions, the arrested sex buyers are shown a brief video version of a “john school” presentation while they are being processed. The video was produced by the CCSO, and the production of the video and its dissemination have been supported by the Demand Abolition program.
The document below contains a bibliography of key sources encountered and used in the National Assessment research.
National Assessment Database
The database developed during our research for the National Assessment project is provided below. We have also provided the database documentation in the accompanying file. The database contains information about 856 sites known to have employed at least one type of anti-demand approach.
National Assessment Final Report
The final report of the National Assessment provides detailed information about how the research was conducted that assembled the materials for this website. One of its limitations, however, it contains information on programs collected months ago. Nevertheless, the great majority of its information is valuable and relevant.
Local Assessments of Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, and the Need to Address Demand
- Buffalo: Workable Solutions to Prostitution
- Fresno: Project PAR: Prostitution Abatement/Rehabilitation
- Memphis: Maloney, P.J., & Mobley, G. (2002). Controlling Prostitution: A Multi-Modality Approach. White paper produced by the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission. Available at: http://www.popcenter.org/problems/street_prostitution/PDFs/Maloney&Mobley_2002.pdf
Local Ordinances Covering Penalties Applied to Sex Buyers
Statutes Covering Penalties for (or Applicable to) Sex Buyers
Video Presentations about Demand
- Ran Rather Reports, January 21, 2013: Sex Workers (a report comparing Sweden and U.S. anti-demand efforts to abolish commercial sex with the Netherlands’ approach of legalizing and regulating prostitution)
- Panel Discussion entitled, Men’s Responsibility: Ending Demand for Sex Trafficking. Sponsored by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women
- CBC News Sunday interview with Victor Malarek about his book, The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy It
- Demand Documentary, Shared Hope International.
- Public Service Announcements, Atlanta’s “Dear John” Campaign