June 2, 2017

REPORT: Fighting Exploitation in Budapest

Speaking at the World Congress of Families to a packed standing-room-only crowd

I just returned from a week in Budapest, Hungary where I got to speak at three different events about the harms of pornography and its connection to other forms of sexual exploitation.

It was quite a moving experience! Some of you know that my journey in fighting sexual exploitation actually began because of the year and a half I spent living abroad in Hungary. Quite a few experiences there set me on this crusade, having no idea where it would lead. It has been an incredible journey, with quite a lot of ups and downs, since I decided that I wanted to stand up for the dignity of all women, children, and men. Returning back to Hungary, with the opportunity to address members of their government and other community leaders was such a blessing and something I never imagined would be possible.


Here’s a little story about one of my experiences in Hungary back in 2008.


Speaking & Connecting with Leaders

I was able to go to Hungary because of the 11th Annual World Congress on Families which was hosted in Budapest this year. I am grateful that the leaders of that event recognize the threat of pornography to the family and that they arranged for a couple of talks on the subject. I was even happier as I listened to talks on other subjects and heard the speakers also discuss the harms of pornography, including calling it a public health crisis! (We have been tirelessly trying to spread that message these past few years and it’s exciting to see it catching on across the world!)

The talk I gave at this Congress was well-attended.  I was even more motivated as I noticed the passion and urgency swelling among the crowd of listeners. After my remarks, I was able to talk with dozens of other leaders who want to address these issues more in their countries. We were even invited to speak in Croatia later this fall! Oh, it was incredible brainstorming and strategizing together with all of these good people. I can’t wait to see how the dominos fall in the coming years as this movement swells and unites.

In addition to the talk I gave at the Congress, I was able to meet incredible people! I sat down with a minister in the Hungarian government to discuss the research and harms to adolescents and then to discuss potential solutions they could employ. I got to meet with dear friends from South Africa who are seeing success after success there as they combat pornography and sexual exploitation. They are even organizing a CESE Summit (like ours) for the African Continent later this August! I met with leaders from many African countries, including government leaders, who sought out our input on how to make improvements in their areas of the world. One of the best moments was when I sat down for lunch and happened to sit next to two female members of Parliament from the country of Serbia. They seem like incredible leaders (and moms of big families at the same time!) and I was in awe of them, but when they found out what our organization does, they were just as happy to be connected to us. They said they’d been searching and praying for someone to help them prepare youth in their country for the onslaught of pornography coming their way. There were many other connections made, too.

I also got to speak to leaders from the LDS Church in other events about how to help those struggling with pornography, their spouses, and the youth in their congregations.

Play Time!

Thankfully, I had time to play tourist and to meet with old friends.

Look at how this movement is growing! Many around the world are stepping up and taking action!

Thank you for your support in all of its forms! I hope you’re encouraged to keep pushing forward together with us!


Here’s a Facebook Live message from Hungary on the last day of my trip:


Fighting to #endexploitation abroad in Budapest

Posted by National Center on Sexual Exploitation on Monday, May 29, 2017


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Dawn Hawkins

Chief Executive Officer

Dawn Hawkins is CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the leading organization exposing the connections between all forms of sexual exploitation, including sex trafficking, prostitution, pornography, and child sexual abuse. Dawn’s energy, creativity and mobilization skills are deployed to build a world free from sexual violence, with freedom and human dignity for all.

Dawn is deeply committed to bipartisan political solutions at the federal and state level. Her issue expertise, visionary initiatives, and innovative strategy have led to groundbreaking change in the legislative arena and in multimillion-dollar corporate policies.

Dawn has been instrumental in re-imaging the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. She has centered the need to address buyer demand for commercial sex, called out corporate entities facilitating exploitation through the annual Dirty Dozen List, fostered an international movement, and constantly: advocates for survivors. Her work has sparked change at Google, Hilton Worldwide, Comcast, Walmart, the Department of Defense, Instagram, TikTok, and other influential firms. Dawn has appeared on many television programs, including CNN, Fox & Friends, and Good Morning America. She regularly authors articles and speaks around the country addressing the public health harms of pornography, curbing demand for sex trafficking, protecting children and families in our digital world, and more.

Further Reading