Response to: “Legalized Prostitution Significantly Increases Human Sex Trafficking: Study”

By David H. Nguyen, Ph.D.
Some argue that legalizing prostitution is the answer to stopping human sex trafficking. This study strongly suggests otherwise. Economists call this “The Cobra Effect.” It was from a time and place in India where the local governance wanted to get rid of cobras by paying the locals for cobra skins. Turned out, the entrepreneurial locals started farmingcobras, which were eventually released into the wild after the cobra skin program was shut down.
Excerpts from “Legalized Prostitution Significantly Increases Human Sex Trafficking: Study.”

Professor Eric Neumayer of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a team of researchers analyzed data on human trafficking from a global sample of 116 countries.

Under German law, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take any available job or lose her unemployment benefit, creating a situation where women can be ‘sold’ by the state into sexual slavery.

The unemployed woman, a qualified information technologist, had indicated her willingness to take jobs outside her field and had worked in a café. After refusing an offer to work as a prostitute in the brothel, she was told by the job centre that her benefits would be cut off if she did not go into prostitution.

The legislation virtually wiped out prostitution and sex trafficking in Sweden. The Swedish government estimates that since 1999 only 200 to 400 women and girls have been annually trafficked into Sweden for prostitution, while in neighboring Finland the number is reported to be 15,000 to 17,000.

Germany legalized prostitution in 2002. The researchers found that “Germany showed a sharp increase in reports of human trafficking upon fully legalizing prostitution in 2002.”

Moreover, reports from German authorities have shown that legalization has not had the expected “workplace” benefits for prostitutes, nor has it improved the situation for German women at large.

The LSE researchers’ examination of Denmark, where “self-employed prostitution” was decriminalized in 1999, revealed that the number of human trafficking victims was more than four times that of Sweden, although the population size of Sweden is about 40 percent larger than Denmark.

David H. Nguyen, Ph.D., is Editor-in-Chief of Cancer InCytes magazine. He is also a tumor biologist who dabbles in human rights issues from the biomedical science perspective.
LifeSiteNews: Legalized prostitution significantly increases human sex trafficking: study.
Accessed 1/30/14.
Original Study:
Cho SY, Dreher A, Neumayer E. “Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking?”World Development. Vol. 41, pp. 67–82, 2013

2 thoughts on “Response to: “Legalized Prostitution Significantly Increases Human Sex Trafficking: Study””

  1. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and everything. Nevertheless imagine if
    you added some great graphics or videos to give your posts more, “pop”!

    Your content is excellent but with images and videos,
    this site could certainly be one of the most beneficial in its field.
    Terrific blog!

  2. Legalizing prostitution, is an unethical approach to stopping human sex trafficking as it would result in further exploitation of sex workers and general degrading of women as the primary workers of this trade. There cannot be any realistic parameters set to regulate this trade as it is a private affair, there is know way to determine value of service, quality of product-to put in an economical sense. The cobra effect is a brilliant example to emphasize this point, since regulation is not realistic as profit margins determine how any business is run, legalizing prostitution makes exploitation simpler and sex trafficking becomes one of the costs of doing business.


Leave a Comment