Mayors from major US cities across the country, including Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, and New York, came together to advocate for demand reduction tactics as an effective way to end commercial sexual exploitation. Over 270 mayors present at the 83rd Annual Conference of Mayors in San Francisco voted to pass the resolution, which specifically cites demand as a root cause of the sex-buying and sex trafficking industries, and calls on Congress and the Obama Administration to fully implement the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, providing much needed funding to law enforcement agencies and victim support services.
“We’re thankful for the mayors’ commitment to ending sexual exploitation wherever it occurs and appreciate their cities’ dedication to targeting sex buyers instead of victims,” said Ziba Cranmer, Executive Director of Demand Abolition. “They know that demand reduction is a pragmatic way to eliminate sexual exploitation in this country. Every day, sex buyers make the choice to power an illegal, harmful enterprise associated with criminal and societal problems like gun violence, gangs, and drug addiction. Take away the buyers, and you take away the primary source of revenue for this abusive industry.”
Sponsored by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, the resolution urges that all anti-trafficking strategies hold pimps and traffickers as well as sex buyers accountable for fueling a deeply damaging illegal sex trade. In addition to citywide strategies, the mayors also called on the federal government to fully implement the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.
Recently passed by Congress, the JVTA is the first comprehensive bill to address the domestic trafficking of American citizens. If utilized correctly it will provide funding for survivor services—partially paid for with dollars collected from convicted sex buyers and traffickers—as well as new tools for law enforcement to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes in local jurisdictions, widely considered the frontlines in the national fight against sex trafficking and sex-buying.
Eleven of the voting mayors represent cities that are part of our CEASE Network, who are already developing and implementing tactics to reduce demand in their communities by 20 percent within two years. We’re very proud to partner with such dedicated and forward thinking cities, and look forward to seeing how the resolution supports their collective goal of ending commercial sexual exploitation in America.