Angelyn Bayless, CEASE Network City Manager, discusses the program to decrease sex-buying at a news conference on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. (Photo by Samantha Witherwax/Cronkite News)
Top Phoenix officials including Mayor Greg Stanton, Co-Chair of the Arizona Human Trafficking Council Cindy McCain, and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, recently held a press conference celebrating the early success of “Not Worth It,” a sex-trafficking prevention campaign spearheaded by CEASE Phoenix Metro in partnership with Clear Channel Outdoors Americas.
The Not Worth It campaign aims to reduce Phoenix’s illegal sex trade by targeting its customers—those who willingly choose to fund local prostitution and sex trafficking with their money. Through websites and outdoor public advertising aimed at both the English and Spanish-speaking communities, Not Worth It is raising awareness about the serious consequences sex buyers face when caught: arrest, fines, and possible divorce, job loss, or sexually transmitted diseases. At its center are 52 digital billboards donated by Clear Channel Outdoors Americas, which target potential sex buyers with a clear cut, brightly illuminated message: “Buy sex, lose everything.”
“This campaign is literally a lit-up beacon of hope to people in our city who are trapped by prostitution,” said Angelyn Bayless, CEASE Network City Manager. “Demand is the new frontier in the fight against sex trafficking, and we want to keep saying over and over again: if there were no buyers, there would be no business.”
Since launching in July, the Not Worth It websites have received almost 6,000 hits, indicating that the CEASE message is being heard by those who need it most: the estimated one in 20 men in the Phoenix area who are searching online for prostituted people to buy for sex. In addition to the success of these pubic deterrents, Phoenix police Sgt. Clay Sutherlin, who works with the local FBI human-trafficking task force, said that over 185 sex buyers have been arrested since Phoenix police and other agencies began partnering with the CEASE initiative.
If you live in the Phoenix area and suspect you’ve witnessed a case of human trafficking, call this hotline: (602) 426-1231