A 2012 study published in World Development, “Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking?” investigates the effects legalized prostitution in high-income countries has on human trafficking. Seo-Yeong Cho, a researcher from the German Institute for Economic Research, and Axel Dreher, of the University of Heidelberg and Eric Neumayer of the London School of Economics and Political Science, analyzed data from 116 countries to determine the effect of legalized prostitution on human trafficking inflows. In addition, they reviewed case studies of Denmark, Germany and Switzerland to examine the long-term effects of both legalizing or criminalizing prostitution.
Of the findings discussed in the article by Carol Tan , two of them seem to be the most interesting. The first being that while trafficking inflows are lower where prostitution is criminalized, there are severe repercussions for those working in the industry. Criminalizing prostitution penalizes sex workers rather than the pimps and traffickers who are the ones who earn most of the profits.