Sexual exploitation is an epidemic and is too large for any one person or organization to defeat on their own. We need unity and collaboration so that the voices and impact of the few can be amplified for a common goal. For nearly a decade NCOSE has led the effort to galvanize the movement to end sexual exploitation and our influence has never been stronger.
The Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation (CESE) is a loose-knit partnership of more than 300 organizations spearheaded by NCOSE, that is breaking down divisions between sexual exploitation sectors, as well as creating a more cohesive and comprehensive national and international effort to defend the flame of human dignity. It unites anti-trafficking experts with digital safety leaders, and sexual violence prevention organizers with recovery programs for individuals who were harmed by pornography, and many more—all to share resources and information to ensure that the movement to end sexual exploitation can reach is maximum potential.
The CESE Coalition’s power is in its diversity. It has brought together academics and activists; neurosurgeons and social workers; lawyers and family therapists; Radical feminists and religious leaders; Mormons, Catholics, Jews, Protestants and secularists; conservatives and liberals. Before the existence of the CESE Coalition, many of the individuals and groups working to combat sexual exploitation, worked in isolation or within small affinity groups. Opposing political and religious views further stymied opportunities for synergy. But through hard and sometimes painful efforts, the CESE Coalition has succeeded in not only lowering the walls of hostility, but building relationships and collaborations that are uniting the movement and adding power and vibrancy to the light it shines.
The most powerful resource provided by CESE is the End Sexual Exploitation Global Summit. The CESE Summit brings together approximately more than 500 movement leaders from across the U.S. and around the world. The event provides attendees with training and strategies, and creates networking opportunities that foster relationship-building and the cross-pollination of ideas to increase the influence of the movement. The ripple effects of the CESE Summit are being felt around the world, as international attendees return home with ideas and information they can use in their efforts to combat sexual exploitation in their countries.
To foster collaboration and build movement cohesion, NCOSE currently spearheads task forces comprised of survivors, academics, medical professionals, and experts working in the subject areas of sexual exploitation prevention and the public health crisis of pornography. The Prevention Task Force conducts monthly conference calls and has undertaken collaborative projects such as curriculum development. The Public Health Task force meets annually and also manages a listserv, which serves as a vital forum for dissemination and discussion of the latest social science on the public health harms of pornography.
Similarly, a third CESE task force focuses on the sexual exploitation of boys and men. This collaboration led NCOSE to co-host events based on the theme “Out of the Shadows: Addressing the Sexual Exploitation of Boys and Men.” Over the course of three days, NCOSE together with our partners, held a press conference at the National Press Club, a strategy meeting at NCOSE’s DC office, a ground-breaking National Symposium in Washington, DC (which brought together more than 200 leaders to set them on the path for a critical assessment of this overlooked problem), as well as a half-day seminar held on the campus of Washington College, in Chestertown, Maryland, for students, faculty, and members of the public.
Rarely has the sexual exploitation of males been addressed in so concerted and comprehensive a manner, so these events mark important milestones for the untold numbers of males who are struggling with these issues alone and in the dark.
Our work with the CESE Coalition has fostered NCOSE’s collaborative spirit, and led to us to find and work in partnership with groups outside the coalition. The fruit of one such collaboration was the briefing “Creating a World Without Sexual Exploitation: How Consumer Demand Drives the Commercial Sex Trade and What We Can Do About It” held at the U.S. Capitol. This powerful, standing room only event featured a U.S. congressman, survivors of prostitution, activists, and those working to help men overcome their sex buying behavior.
NCOSE also regularly leads campaigns buoyed by collaboration from coalition members, such as its public awareness campaign: “Tackle Demand.” The Tackle Demand campaign brought together anti-trafficking experts and advocates fighting the normalization of prostitution by raising awareness on social media about the need to combat the demand for commercial sex at major sporting events like the Super Bowl. This campaign reached more than 1 million people with NCOSE’s message, and highlights the success NCOSE can achieve by galvanizing and uniting diverse coalition members.
Many of our activism efforts related to our Dirty Dozen List are made possible because of the support of CESE Coalition members. By joining our campaigns, coalition partners amplify our reach and bring thousands more to the table who previously felt they were without a voice to demand an end to policies fostering sexual exploitation.