It would be impossible for us to explain in one blog how complex CSE is—but we want to point you to other resources, including the direct stories of survivors, to help you deepen your knowledge and understanding.
In April of 2018, the federal government seized and shut down Backpage. In a blog earlier this year, we wrote about the unintended consequences of the shutdown—and among them was a resurgence in sex trade activity on the streets.
That’s why we recently relaunched our Street Outreach Team.
Before its shutdown, Backpage was estimated to account for 80% of the sex trade in the US. In the anti-trafficking movement, there was cause for celebration that Backpage and other website providers could be held accountable for their role in facilitating sex trafficking. At the same time here at REST, however, we have seen an influx of individuals seeking help because of unintended consequences from the shutdown of these sites.
Every year, as we draw near to the Super Bowl, news cycles and our social media feeds see an increase in articles about sex trafficking. If you look at Google Trends for the terms “sex trafficking” and “human trafficking”, you’ll see searches for those terms take a sharp uptick in late January and February.
Danielle, a Microsoft employee, volunteered her time to Hack for Good at Microsoft’s //oneweek Hackathon for REST’s Project Reach Out and met a survivor of sex trafficking and employee of REST who privately shared her story to help inform the project participants. Danielle sent us this letter about the profound impact this survivor had on her.
In 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck near the capital city of Port Au Prince, Haiti. More than 1.5 million people were displaced, and 300,000 structures were severely damaged or destroyed. Some cities near the epicenter reported 90% of their buildings lost. The amount of devastation was incomprehensible.
In 2011, sex buyers tipped their hands and disclosed what they believed would dissuade them from using women involved in prostitution. In the comprehensive study, Comparing Sex Buyers with Men Who Don’t Buy Sex Melissa Farley, PHD, Founding Director of Prostitution Research and Education, and Peter Qualliotine, co-founder of the Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS), interviewed over 100 sex buyers in hopes of discovering, among other things, any deterrents that would be effective.
On a monthly basis, REST receives inquiries from people all over the country who are considering starting an anti-trafficking organization and are looking for a “how-to.” We are so grateful to be receiving these requests and know first-hand how important it is to learn from others who have gone before you.
Last week I opened my internet browser in hopes to catch up with the chatter I’d been hearing about North Korea. Instead of reading about the potential threat of a terrorist attack from a foreign nation, my eyes met an article about domestic terrorism. Predators – traffickers – who have waged war against our children.