Why focus on combatting the demand for prostitution (ie. Sex buying)? Is combatting demand an effective way to reduce sex trafficking? Is it affordable and accessible for law enforcement? What kind of tactics and strategies can be used to deter sex buyers? How does full decriminalization of prostitution affect demand reduction efforts?
These are some of the questions explored by the experts on Demand who join the Ending Sexploitation podcast for this episode. These experts include Marian Hatcher of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, who has worked on countless law enforcement initiatives targeting demand; Jamey Caruthers, the Director of Demand Reduction and Policy at Street Grace; and Dr. Michael Shively, long-time researcher on Demand and Senior Advisor on Research & Data Analysis at NCOSE.
Peter Gentala, Senior Legal Counsel at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, joins the Ending Sexploitation podcast to discuss the issue of holding social media platforms legally accountable for facilitating sexual exploitation. Gentala addresses both the particular challenges in this space as well as the unprecedented progress that has occurred over the past year.
Gentala explains how American Law has been interpreted as granting internet platforms blanket immunity for third-party content, under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. As such, it has historically been exceptionally difficult to hold social media companies accountable for the role they play in recklessly distributing sexually exploitative content. However, thanks to the brave voices of survivors and the collective efforts of law firms, advocates, journalists, and more, groundbreaking progress has been made. Gentala speaks to the milestones that have been reached in the past year, sharing a message of hope and inspiration.
Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Chair and Founder of Hunt Alternatives and Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government joins the Ending Sexploitation podcast to discuss the importance of combating demand for commercial sexual exploitation.
During the discussion, Ambassador Hunt shared the story of speaking to survivors of commercial sexual exploitation internationally. She recalled the chilling story of a young woman in Europe who told her, “Our girls are disappearing from our villages.” Over time, Ambassador Hunt began researching why so many women and girls were being exploited and bought for sex.
In addition to enabling research and trainings on demand (aka sex buying behavior), Ambassador Hunt went on to help establish the Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE Network) which spearhead cutting edge tactics to identify the best policies and practices for reducing demand at a local level.
Kindsey Pentecost, Chief Marketing Officer of ItWorks, an industry leading beauty and nutrition company), and Founder of Turn Your Life Around (TYLA), a Prostitution Diversion Court joins the podcast to share about her experiences collaborating with and training law enforcement and court systems on sex trafficking.
“Especially in the United States, we really treat victims [of sex trafficking] as if it’s their job to identify as a victim and tell us that they’re a victim, and that just doesn’t work with sex trafficking,” Kindsey shared. In this episode, she explains how sex traffickers groom victims, establishing bonds so strong that many victims don’t have the ability to identify themselves for law enforcement.
Reflecting on her years of experience working closely with the criminal justice system, Kindsey describes how vital it is for law enforcement and the courts to be accurately trained on the dynamics of sex trafficking in order to better serve survivors.
She also shares about her work in Florida to shift law enforcement resources and time away from arresting people sold in the sex trade, bringing in agencies to provide diverse services to help survivors recover, and instead to focus law enforcement on arresting sex buyers and traffickers.
Kindsey Pentecost’s advice to listeners is to focus on prevention by investing in the next generation, discussing the realities of grooming and abuse with them in age-appropriate ways to safeguard them from potential exploiters.
Visit https://www.kindseypentecost.com/purpose to find resources to learn more and take action, including a parent guide and list of must-read books.
In the face of an explosion of child sexual abuse material (CSAM, aka child pornography) being distributed and consumed online, the EARN IT Act holds technology companies accountable if they aid and abet the distribution and/or consumption of child sexual abuse material.
This episode is a chance to listen in to the February 8th, 2022, EARN IT Act virtual congressional briefing.
The EARN IT Act is the most important child protection legislation pending before Congress in 2022. It does four main things:
Here’s what the bill does not do:
You can watch a video of the event here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAItN4LicJo
Learn more and take action: https://endsexualexploitation.org/earnit/