Here is a list of websites that represent the work done by some of the speakers at the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation (CESE) Global Summit that I recently attended. I hope this will serve as a reference or resource for those seeking more information about how to combat pornography, prostitution, and other forms of sexual exploitation such as the general objectification of women’s (and sometimes men’s) bodies.
The first six resources can be found here. Here are the final six:
In addition to pornography, the other major form of sexual exploitation addressed at the Summit was prostitution. I mentioned that the CESE Summit involves a fascinating coalition of social conservatives and radical feminists. However, there is a sharp divide on the Left over the issue of prostitution. One strain of thought, coming out of feminism, views prostitution as inherently exploitative and favors laws against it (albeit with the focus on punishing pimps and purchasers of sex, rather than the prostitutes who are being exploited and abused). The other strain of thought, coming as best I can tell more out of the labor movement (although also encompassing supposed “human rights” defenders such as Amnesty International) favors decriminalization or legalization of prostitution, referring to it as “sex work” and to prostitutes as “sex workers.” The CESE takes the former, “abolitionist” view—which is well represented by World Without Exploitation’s vision statement:
Getting to a world without exploitation means starting with a clear vision. This is ours.
- We believe that human trafficking and sexual exploitation are human rights issues, fueled by gender, racial, and income inequalities.
- We seek to honor the power, purpose, and inherent worth of every person. Human trafficking and sexual exploitation endanger the welfare of the individual, the family, and the community. Accepting such exploitation as inevitable is inconsistent with a human rights vision.
- We know that listening to survivors of exploitation is critical to developing just and effective social policies. We’re committed to survivor engagement. And we’re driven by survivor leadership.
- We recognize that adults and children who have been trafficked or sexually exploited should be treated as victims of a crime, not as criminals themselves.
- We realize that there can be no social justice without social services, so we’re working to ensure that all survivors of labor trafficking and the sex trade have the comprehensive support they need to exit exploitative systems and rebuild their lives.
- We understand that we won’t end sexual exploitation until we end the demand for prostitution. As long as there is a global sex trade, ours will be an unsafe, unjust world.
- We commit to eradicating the market for coerced or unpaid labor that drives the multi-billion dollar trade in trafficking.
- We advocate for laws and policies that hold those who purchase other human beings and those who profit from their sale accountable for the harms they cause.
- We know that law drives the culture even as culture shapes law. Challenging inaccurate media representations of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, while partnering with artists and writers who seek to tell a more accurate story, is central to our mission.
- We believe that true freedom means being free from violence, exploitation, and oppression.
World Without Exploitation’s website also includes a 73-page report on What We Know About Sex Trafficking, Prostitution, and Sexual Exploitation in the U.S.
This group’s slogan is “Fighting Modern Slavery by Focusing on Demand.” Their mission statement declares:
Global Centurion Foundation is a non-profit organization fighting human trafficking by focusing on the demand side of the equation – the perpetrators, exploiters, buyers, and end-users of human beings who fuel the market for forced labor and commercial sex. In this way, we seek to prevent modern slavery at its source, since it is the buyers who create and fuel the market for sex and labor trafficking.
Laura Lederer of Global Centurion gave a fascinating historical overview (dating back to 1688) of the “anti-slavery” movement, citing four separate streams:
- Faith-based (appealing to the Bible and Christianity to oppose slavery)
- Secular (appealing to U.S. founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to oppose slavery)
- Feminist (opposing “sex slavery” beginning in the late 1800’s)
- Human Rights (the unfortunate term used by Lederer to describe the labor-focused support for “sex work” and “sex workers.” These groups believe that legalization and government regulation of “sex work” are the best ways to prevent “sex workers” from being exploited.)
This group seeks to “Abolish Prostitution and Provide Real Alternatives.” Their mission statement describes them as an organization that:
conducts research on prostitution, pornography and trafficking and offers education and consultation to researchers, survivors, the public and policymakers. PRE’s goal is to abolish the institution of prostitution while at the same time advocating for alternatives to trafficking and prostitution – including emotional and physical healthcare for women in prostitution. The roots of prostitution are in the assumption that men are entitled to buy women for sex, in racism, and in women’s poverty.
Melissa Farley has been a regular speaker at the CESE events. Her website includes a valuable report on Pornography, Prostitution, & Trafficking: Making the Connections.
The last three groups I will mention here are ones which provide direct services to “survivors” of the sex trade. This Seattle-based group:
provides psychosocial accompaniment to survivors of prostitution, co-creating and sustaining efforts to heal from and end this practice of gender-based violence.
facilitates healing from the harm of prostitution by providing the opportunity for survivors to share their experience of prostitution with others and assisting them with resources and referrals to meet identified needs, goals and aspirations.
Peter Qualliotine of OPS spoke on a panel about the #MeToo movement and the “Movement to End Sexual Assault & Rape Culture.” He offered an interesting perspective on “consent” as the only prerequisite to sexual activity, warning that “‘consent’ just becomes one more thing that men have to get,” and suggesting that “mutuality” would be a better standard.
Monique Calderon of Treasures spoke at the CESE. According to its website:
Treasures is a unique, faith-based outreach and support group for women in the sex industry.
Our mission is to reach, restore, and equip women in the sex industry and victims of sex trafficking to live healthy, flourishing lives, and train others to do the same across the globe.
One unique aspect of this organization is that it is:
Located in the heart of the Adult Industry Capital of the World, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. 90% of all legal porn worldwide is filmed, distributed, and or manufactured here.
Shamere McKenzie was another speaker who gave a first-person account of having been exploited. Here is how her organization is described:
Sun Gate Foundation, a (501)(c)(3) non-profit, survivor led organization based in Alexandria, Virginia, is an independent organization addressing a critical gap in the human trafficking aftercare community by making a substantial commitment to survivors. Sun Gate Foundation funds educational opportunities provided to survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking in the United States. The ultimate goal is to equip these young girls, boys, women, and men with a solid foundation to confidently go after their dreams.