It’s been a busy few weeks at CEASE: we’ve been finalising details of the agenda, tying up loose ends and spreading the word about an event that we are extremely proud to host.

We’ve recently announced that CEASE will be chaired by the wonderful Carole Stone OBE, and that former lap-dancer Liz B. will be joining Dr. Sasha Rakoff for her session on the legal victory against Sheffield council. Despite the radically different trajectory of these women’s lives, they’re drawn together by a common passion to see an end to sexual exploitation.

That’s what we love about this event: its diversity. There are so many different speakers from different backgrounds, each giving their unique insight and experience into the complex, multifarious issue of sexual exploitation.

This is about standing together with others. It’s about connecting, cooperating and collaborating, seeing ourselves as part of a vast, interconnected global movement that’s increasing in strength and reach, making a difference and taking ground.

In many ways, these are dark days. Globalisation and technological advances have opened up sinister opportunities for criminals and businesses alike, turning sexual exploitation into organised, multi-billion-pound industries. We’re in a hypersexualised culture where it’s normal to reduce the complex humanity of women into objects: bodies that exploited for profit, power and pleasure.

But there’s a hint that the tide is turning. There’s growing awareness of issues such as grooming, child sexual exploitation, sex trafficking and sexual abuse. We’re at a unique point in history where we can capitalise on the feelings of #metoo; the sense that we shouldn’t put up with the way things are.

Please spread the word about this conference. Tell anyone who cares. Let’s come together to make a better world where women’s bodies aren’t hired, bought, sold, used and exploited.