Frequently Asked Questions About the CEASE Network

What is the goal of the CEASE Network?

The CEASE Network unites cities across the United States that are committed to reducing sex-buying by 20 percent in two years. The cities in the network use strategies aimed at stopping current buyers, deterring future buyers, and educating the public about the harms inherent to sex-buying and sex trafficking.

How will this goal be achieved?

The demand for purchased sex is a complex, multi-layered issue, requiring an equally multi-dimensional response. To address this, CEASE Network teams include people with different backgrounds and expertise.  Sectors represented on each team  include:

  • survivors of the illegal sex industry
  • local law enforcement
  • government officials
  • philanthropists
  • other committed stakeholders, among them people in existing coalitions working to reduce the harm of the illegal sex trade

Each team employs a localized strategy with tactics designed to achieve the 20 percent reduction goal.  Together these teams create a larger learning community to share successes and challenges.

As the network expands, successful methods will be replicated in other communities, fueling a national demand-reduction movement.

What are the shared values of the CEASE Network?

  1. The illegal commercial sex industry is inherently harmful.
  2. Sex-buying is fueling this industry, and demand reduction is a fundamental strategy to combat the harms of prostitution.
  3. Holding sex buyers accountable is essential to change cultural behaviors and norms.
  4. Implementation of demand reduction tactics must be informed by survivor leaders to ensure a victim-centric approach.

What is the CEASE Network’s relation to Demand Abolition?

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 prostitution in the United States. With help from key partners, Demand Abolition provides: funding for CEASE Network coordinators; 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.

For the first two years of a team’s participation in the CEASE Network, Demand Abolition provides support for the following:

  1. Local coordination
  2. Micro-grants for testing demand reduction tactics
  3. Financial stipend for survivor engagement
  4. Travel for technical assistance opportunities and peer-to-peer education
  5. Access to opportunistic funding to pilot emerging practices in demand reduction (e.g. male allies and business-engagement initiatives)

In addition to the direct financial support listed above, Demand Abolition provides CEASE Network teams with:

  1. Baseline measurements of demand in that area, updated on a monthly and quarterly basis. (This data point enables tracking of 20% demand reduction goal.)
  2. Connections to technical experts and trainers in support of demand reduction tactics.
  3. Help in engaging the philanthropic community and encouraging donor commitment.
  4. Access to an international network or thought leaders and experts including policymakers (federal, state, and local), journalists, business leaders, and nonprofits.
  5. Access to a peer learning community.
  6. Communications collateral and tools.

Do CEASE Network teams and Demand Abolition share all the same beliefs?

Demand Abolition recognizes that there is no single approach to targeting demand, and that each city within the CEASE Network faces unique challenges when addressing the issue in its area. As a result Demand Abolition does not require CEASE Network teams to align with all its policies and principles, which are:

  1. It is an inherent human right that people should not be bought for sex.
  2. The demand for all purchased sex should be combated. Demand Abolition does not distinguish between victims of sex trafficking and victims of prostitution.
  3. The public shaming of individuals convicted of sex buying (e.g. names and faces on billboards) harms the sex buyers and their families and is therefore an undesirable tactic to fight demand.
  4. The criminal justice system should focus on holding buyers accountable and offering services to prostituted people. Victims of sexual exploitation should not be criminalized.

While CEASE Network teams are not required to align with these principles,  Demand Abolition will not provide direct funding for tactics, such as public shaming, which do not align with its core principles.

What is law enforcement’s role in the CEASE Network?

Engagement and cooperation with local law enforcement is a cornerstone of a holistic, long-term approach to demand reduction that curtails current sex buyers, deters future buyers, and changes public perception that paid sex is a victimless crime.  While society cannot “arrest” its way out of the problem, it is clear that  strong, well-enforced legal penalties for convicted sex buyers are a powerful deterrent and play an important role in setting societal norms around the harms caused by sex buying.

The CEASE Network  works with law enforcement to shift away from policies that result in the arrest of prostituted people–most of whom are victims of exploitation–and focus on arresting the sex buyers who fuel the illegal sex trade.

How do I help?

If you are interested in supporting, or learning more about the CEASE Network, please contact us.