Please Rotate Your Device
Know what Commercial Sexual Exploitation is and what you can do to help stop it.
If you are here, you are not alone. There is a community of people that want to learn more and understand how to help end commercial sexual exploitation.
In 2012, the International Labor Organization estimated that there are 20.9 million human trafficking victims worldwide. Sex trafficking is the most common form of forced labor. Source
Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a broad term. CSE happens when someone abuses their own power (e.g., financial power, physical strength, position of authority, etc.) or the vulnerabilities of someone else to exploit someone for sexual purposes.
A commercial sexual activity occurs when anything of value or a promise of anything of value (e.g., money, drugs, food, shelter, rent, or higher status in a gang or group) is given to a person by any means in exchange for any type of sexual activity.
In CSE, a third party (pimp, trafficker, facilitator, etc.) may or may not be involved.
(trading sex for basic needs)
"Sexual exploitation supports a culture where participants view women as objects who are more a 'sum of body parts' than a whole being."
—Women's Support Project, UK
This includes porn, strip clubs and massage parlors in the U.S.Source
you can't get rid of sex trafficking without addressing the larger issue: the business of commercial sexual exploitation.
We all have the ability to help end sexual exploitation.
At its best, being part of a community means recognizing that we are all interdependent and responsible for the well-being of one another. Engaging in commercial sexual exploitation is harmful because it limits our potential and separates us from our community. We're not our best selves when we see other people as something we can buy.
Our human potential and the well-being of our communities depend on the way we care for one another. Together, we can help end commercial sexual exploitation.
Exploiters look for opportunities to target a person's vulnerability, either through oppression, violence or discrimination. CSE can thrive on the effects of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, poverty or any other instance of power imbalance. When we tolerate harm caused by CSE, we are saying it's okay for certain people in our communities to be exploited, as long as we are not personally impacted.
Let's take a closer look at how harm, power and oppression are at play in CSE.
A content analysis of best-selling pornography videos found that 88% of the scenes analyzed involved one person, usually a [woman], being physically assaulted (gagging, slapping, etc.). Source
A study of prostituted women in Minneapolis found that 80% had experiences where a sexual exploiter asked them to imitate sexual acts from a particular pornographic video. Source
of women in prostitution showed symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), which were comparable with healthcare-seeking veterans, women who fled to shelters, rape survivors and refugees who were exposed to state-sanctioned torture. Source
to 95% of those used in prostitution want to escape it, but have no other options for survival. Source
What Choice Is: True choice implies that someone is selecting an option from two or more viable, realistic possibilities.
What Choice Isn't: When someone is faced with a lack of options, or if their ability to choose is taken away at any point, they do not have true choice.
In every instance of CSE, there is an imbalance of power between the purchaser and the individual being purchased. Often, acting on that imbalance of power is a choice to act on one's own racial, economic or male privilege.
A 2017 University of Minnesota study found that some sex buyers seek acts that humiliate and harm the provider/victim, such as derogatory language, defecation and urination, rough sex, physical assault, rape, and in rare cases, murder. Source
Source: University of Minnesota uroc.umn.edu/sextrafficking
CSE perpetuates the wrongful belief that the value of people: young boys and girls, transgender folks and women primarily comes from their bodies.
In CSE, human beings are reduced to body parts and valued only as objects that can serve a sexual purpose. They are not viewed as whole, complex individuals who are a part of our community.
have been physically assaulted, and 72% have experienced traumatic brain injuries. Source
saw a connection between prostitution and colonization, and explained that the devaluation of women used in prostitution was identical to the colonizing devaluation of Native people. Source
of the prostituted women interviewed had been racially insulted by sex buyers and/or pimps. Source
One study found that 44% of homeless Minneapolis youth had been approached with money, shelter, food, drugs etc., in exchange for sex (e.g., survival sex). Source
In fact, our culture has a history of normalizing commercial sexual exploitation to make the purchasing of people seem okay.
Understanding the way our everyday environments support male dominance and sexual exploitation is the first step in preventing harm.
adult movies are released per year in the United States—more than 20 times the mainstream movie production. Source
(that's 23,000,000,000) visits were reported by pornhub.com in 2016. That's 3 views for every human on earth. Source
of ALL internet traffic, according to a conservative estimate, is pornography. Source
To change this, we need to apply a critical lens to the media we consume. Continue scrolling to uncover the stages of cultural acceptance.
You've probably seen movies, TV shows, games and/or magazines portray women, men and LGBTQ+ people as submissive, sexualized or powerless stereotypes. If this makes you uncomfortable, trust your instincts. If you haven't noticed this before, start seeing it.
The underlying message being promoted is that reducing certain people in our community to body parts or stereotypes is normal or "okay." It's not.
Everyone deserves to be treated with equal human value and dignity.
Across the U.S., men's demand keeps sex trafficking and CSE profitable industries.
Drag the slider to match your city's population.
>25k 250k 500k 750k 1mil+
It's time to build communities free from commercial sexual exploitation.
People are not products. Men are more than consumers.
Men, overwhelmingly, are driving the demand for CSE.
From a young age, men and boys are taught to believe male dominance and exploitation are a normal part of being a man. This simply is not true. This way of thinking and being makes it possible for profit to be made at the expense of people's safety and choice. But most men do not want to cause harm.
The truth: Men are naturally caring, loving, and help protect the well-being of people in their community.
Most men think commercial sexual exploitation and violence are wrong, but haven't stepped up to change the conditions that allow it to happen. Men exploring and challenging privilege, oppression and violence together can create an influx of allies and momentum to end commercial sexual exploitation.
By creating a culture of respect, equality and interconnection.
Thank you for participating in the Don't Buy It Project Online Training. We believe that together, with people like you, we can end the demand for commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.
The first thing you can do to reduce the demand for commercial sex is to realize the many ways in which sexual exploitation is normalized and glorified throughout our culture.
This is the most basic thing you can commit to. Understand the inherent value in everyone and refuse to purchase sex in any form: pornography, strip clubs, prostituted women, children and people. Set a standard for other men in your life and confront exploitative behaviors when you witness them.