STATEMENT – NCOSE Expresses Sympathy for Atlanta Shooting Victims

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Washington, DC (March 17, 2021) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) issued a statement in response to the murders of several women in the Atlanta area. It has been reported that the police said that the suspect targeted the massage parlor and spas because he allegedly claimed he had a “sexual addiction” and it was a “temptation he wanted to eliminate.”

“We grieve with the families, friends, and colleagues of the victims and offer our heartfelt condolences to them,” said Dawn Hawkins, senior vice president and executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“While it is too soon to draw any conclusions about the shooter’s motivations and mental state that resulted in his perpetrating violence against the vulnerable women at the massage parlor and spas, it is important to unequivocally condemn violence being used against any group of people for any reason,” said Hawkins. “Attempting to eliminate the ‘temptation’ for sex through violence is never an answer for anyone struggling with a sex addiction—or any addiction. There are resources and people who can help overcome addiction in all of its forms.”

“If allegations prove to be true that the shooter chose his targets because of their connections to illicit massage businesses, then the tragedy of this hateful act is even deeper than it appeared at its horrific face value. Violent crime is far more likely when commercial sex is involved—including brothels fronted as spas and massage businesses—and women of color are disproportionately the targets and victims of that violence,” said Hawkins.

“The tragic reality is that there is substantial demand for buying sex in America—from major cities to rural towns. Buying sex inherently contributes to increased sexual violence against individuals in prostitution. Reams of studies recognize the pervasive violence found in prostitution, across prostitution types and locations—whether one is a male or a female, whether one is prostituted in America or a third world country, indoors or outdoors, for drugs or to pay the rent, on a street corner, in a car, back alley, brothel, massage parlor, or strip club—both the threat of, as well as actual violence, permeate everyday existence in prostitution. And no legal or regulatory framework can make commercial sex safe – extreme levels of violence and health risks are found globally and regardless of whether prostitution is decriminalized, legalized, or criminalized. We as a society must address the demand—the male entitlement—to purchase another human for commercial sexual exploitation if we are serious about reducing and eradicating men’s violence against women in all its forms.”

NCOSE offers a list of resources for anyone struggling with a habit, an addiction, or an unwanted desire: https://endsexualexploitation.org/resources-struggling/. Resources for individuals involved in the sex trade can be found here: https://www.sextradesurvivorresources.com.

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.

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The Numbers

300+

NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.

100+

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.

93

NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.

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