International and domestic human rights instruments

The UK has multiple international and domestic human rights obligations to tackle the demand for prostitution:


-    ‘Poverty, unemployment, wars and armed conflicts’ are the main factors compelling women and young girls into prostitution and making them vulnerable to trafficking.(General Recommendation 19 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women)

-    ‘Prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and endanger the welfare of the individual, the family and the community’. (Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others)

-    ‘These practices [trafficking for sex tourism and domestic labour] are incompatible with the equal enjoyment of rights by women and with respect for their rights and dignity. They put women at special risk of violence and abuse.’ (General Recommendation 19 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women)

-    'Women who are trafficked into prostitution ‘need equal protection by law’ and state parties need to enact ‘protective and punitive measures’ to protect these vulnerable women(General Recommendation 19 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women)

-    ‘States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of the prostitution of women’. (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women)

Other relevant international human rights instruments include:

-    Council of Europe’s Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (2005)

-    Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

-    UN Slavery Convention (1926)

-    Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery (1956)

-    European Convention of Human Rights (1950)

-    International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (1966)

-    UN Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery (est. 1975)

-    UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1994)

-    UN Fourth Conference on Women (Platform for Action) (1995)

-    UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children    (Palermo Protocol) (1998)