Advocates against sexual exploitation with the US Capitol in the background
August 22, 2019

It’s Time for a National Legal Strategy to Defend Human Dignity

Until we launched the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) Law Center in 2015, there had been no voice in the courts and legislatures advocating for human dignity and against all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation.

In the vacuum of a national legal strategy on these issues, pro-sexual exploitation lobbyists have stepped in to promote radical and damaging legislation and legal precedents promoting pornography, prostitution, sexually grooming children for abuse, increasing sex trafficking, and more.

Laws are meant to instruct citizens in virtue. But, what are its lessons when . . .

  • laws against distribution of obscenity (hardcore pornography) are not enforced
  • men who buy a child for sex in 27 states can get away with it by simply saying they didn’t know the child was underage
  • predators are permitted to engage in explicit sexual conversations with children online
  • perpetrators of image-based sexual assaults (e.g., “upskirting” and “spycamming” and “revenge pornography”) remain unpunished because existing laws are insufficient to arrest them
  • communities lack the legal expertise to strictly regulate sexually-oriented businesses like strip clubs, illicit massage parlors, and so-called sexpresso-cafes
  • courts rule that online prostitution advertising platforms are immune from civil liability even when they knowingly engage in human trafficking,
  • sex buyers face less penalties if they had stolen a candy bar than if they purchase women and children for sex
  • the brutality of pimps and sex traffickers goes unchecked because prostitution is legalized?

In such circumstances, the lack of laws or failure to enforce existing laws licenses abuse, privileges the rights of the strong over the weak and vulnerable, affirms the notion of sexual entitlement and the dystopian vision of sex as a mere commodity, and proclaims that human dignity is cheap and disposable.

Against this backdrop, NCOSE believed it imperative to establish a Law Center to stand as both a sentry and bulwark against the destructive individuals and entities that deny or which facilitate sexual abuse and exploitation.

Several victories have already been achieved, but there is still much work to be done and many opportunities before us.

The tide is changing! While established in 2015, the NCOSE Law Center has recently hired additional staff, grown an incredible coalition network, and started a national education effort for young, budding attorneys which is enabling us to tackle many more of these issues.

The porn industry is fighting hard because it is feeling the tides turning against it, so it’s imperative that we work together and quickly to take more ground in the fight to end sexual exploitation in all its forms. With updates and improvements to our law center, we’re working hard and doubling down on doing just that.

Learn more about the work of the NCOSE Law Center and find opportunities to help at

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Further Reading