Who We Are

Our History


In summary:

  • Stop Demand Foundation (Stop Demand) was set up in 2003.
  • Its history goes back a decade earlier, to 1993.
  • Over time its mandate has evolved.  Initially focused on sexual violence and sexual exploitation of children, Stop Demand now calls for action to stop all forms of sexual violence, sexual exploitation and sexual denigration of women and children.    

For more details, read on. 


A.  Background - Identifying a gap

In 1993, Stop Demand's founder joined a growing international movement focused on combating the commercial sexual exploitation of children.  The movement laudably and successfully focused on awareness raising, law reform, law enforcement and measures to protect, rescue and rehabilitate children, with the aim of ending child prostitution, child pornography and child trafficking for sexual purposes.

Yet like all trades, the child sex trade is predicated on demand and supply dynamics.  Without demand, overwhelmingly by men, there would be no supply of children for the trade.  

Other than law reform and law enforcement, little focus was being directed towards challenging widespread attitudes and beliefs that fuel the global child sex trade.  Further, around the world calls to action were being made on governments, legislators, law enforcers and even civil society (eg. the tourism and Internet industries).  But where were the calls on men? 


 

B.  Redressing the gap - Demand impacting on children

In 2003, Stop Demand was set up to redress that gap.  Its mandate was to work at both a local and global level to address attitudes and beliefs underpinning:

  • Male demand that fuels the global child sex trade (prostitution, sex tourism, sex abuse images/pornography, and sex trafficking); and
  • Other forms of sexual violence against children -  incest, rape and sexual abuse
    • within the home, the community and institutions, refugee camps and armed conflict;
    • within cultural practices such as child brides, devadasi/temple girls; and
    • arising from distorted cultural beliefs such as sex with a virgin cures HIV/AIDS, brings good fortune or restores virility. 
Rationale:  Widely-held attitudes and beliefs underpinning the child sex trade are also at the heart of all forms of sexual violence and sexual exploitation of children, whether commercial or non-commercial.

 

C.  Stop Demand's expanded mandate - Demand impacting on women and children

Over time, Stop Demand recognised that:

  • The majority of men using children within the global child sex trade are first and foremost users of the global adult sex trade
  • The same attitudes and beliefs that underpin the buying of women and children for sex also underpin sexual violence and sexual exploitation of women and children - eg perceived male "entitlement", power, dominance, patriarchy/machismo, etc.
  • Attitudes and beliefs are further reinforced, tacitly or deliberately, through widespread sexual denigration of women - across communities, cultures and continents, spanning locker rooms to corporate boardrooms - eg. sexually denigrating talk, rape jokes, etc.

In 2008 Stop Demand formally amended its Deed of Trust to reflect its expanded mandate, which calls for action to stop all forms of sexual violence, sexual exploitation and sexual denigration of women and children.