European Journal of Law and Economics

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 321–348

Liberal coercion? Prostitution, human trafficking and policy



Liberal prostitution policy aims at improving labor conditions for prostitutes and protecting victims of forced prostitution. Given its policy mandates, legalized prostitution should be linked to better protection policies for trafficking victims and stronger anti-trafficking measures. In this paper, I investigate empirically whether or not legalized prostitution improves protection policies for victims, as it is presumed. The results of my analysis—using data from 149 countries for the period of 2001–2011—suggest that a liberal prostitution policy does not lead to better protection and, in some cases, legalized prostitution can be detrimental to protecting victims of human trafficking.


Prostitution Victim protection Human trafficking 

JEL Classification

J15 J16 K14 K37 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Group of Empirical Institutional Economics, Faculty of EconomicsPhilipps-University of MarburgMarburgGermany

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