Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation

The CEASE Network is a collaboration of pioneering cities committed to reducing sex-buying by 20 percent in two years. This action-oriented network is dedicated to innovating, testing, and sharing strategies with a proven impact on deterring people from buying sex in many major metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago (Cook County, IL), Dallas (North Texas), Denver, Houston, Oakland (Alameda County, CA), Phoenix, Portland (Multnomah County, OR), San Diego, and Seattle (King County, WA). The learning from these cities will create a blueprint for reducing demand at the local level, while fueling a national movement to end sexual exploitation in the United States.

Sex trafficking and sex buying is an inherently harmful industry that puts countless people and communities at risk. And evidence is growing that combating sex-buying is a crucial–but often overlooked–component of a comprehensive approach to ending the illegal sex trade. To put it simply: No buyers, no business.

CEASE_BostonBut fighting the underground and complex illegal sex industry takes coordination across sectors, and input from many people with varying experience and resources. CEASE Network teams are led by local coordinators with strong ties to their community, and a proven ability to bring together stakeholders to achieve a common goal. The core of each team is made up of survivor leaders, criminal justice professionals, members of the local government, and philanthropists. City teams often include business leaders, academicians, technology experts, public health professionals, and others with the skills and dedication needed to reduce sex-buying.

Each team designs and implements its own strategies—tailored to that city—while driving toward the overall goal of 20 percent demand reduction in two years. Teams continuously share learnings within and across the CEASE Network, spurring increased innovation and accelerating impact.

Demand reduction techniques used by CEASE Network teams are data-driven and measured regularly to track progress. Innovation and experimentation aren’t just encouraged, they are expected. Those fighting sexual exploitation must be as agile and creative as the exploiters: the sex buyers and pimps who are utilizing technology and taking their illegal activities online.

The CEASE Network was conceptualized by and receives support from Demand Abolition, a program of Hunt Alternatives that combats the demand for illegal commercial sex as a way to eliminate the harms of the illegal sex trade in the United States. With help from key partners, Demand Abolition provides funding for CEASE Network coordinators, and provides operational support for their teams such as training and technical assistance, data collection and analysis, and access to network-wide communication and learning platforms. Strategy development, intervention implementation, and fundraising to sustain local interventions are driven by the core team.

By building an action-oriented learning community dedicated to combating demand, the CEASE Network is uniting people in cities across the country to build and test new techniques to combat this exploitative industry.

To learn more about the core principles that govern the CEASE Network, its approach to reducing demand, relationship to Demand Abolition, and information on supporting the Network, please visit the CEASE FAQs.