CEASE UK: Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (UK)

CEASE UK is a national independent charity committed to educating the public about all interconnected forms of sexual exploitation and abuse in Britain.

Sexual exploitation is one of the most devastating evils of our age. It’s a problem so vast, complex and multifarious that understanding it requires a broad view and solutions have to be joined-up.  

At CEASE UK, we tackle the problem of sexual exploitation through tracing its root causes and the insidious influences that affect social norms, assumptions and behaviours.

Many of the abuses we’re witnessing today- everything from child sexual exploitation to rape and sexual assault- are driven in the powerful influence of pornography and the global sex trade. What’s defended as benign fantasy and a matter of choice causes real, measurable harm- to individuals, to communities and to society as a whole.

Although sexual exploitation affects some people directly, it can affect affects us all in some way and each one of us can play a part in standing against a commodifying culture that turns people into sexual objects.

What we do

Through the presentation of robust and relevant facts, research and information- including through strategic cooperation with other charities, organisations and policy makers- we seek to:

  • Expose the links between different forms of sexual exploitation, promoting ‘joined-up’ thinking’
  • Explore how pornography and the global sex trade are direct and indirect drivers of sexual exploitation.
  • Highlight the harmful influence of pornography and the global sex trade on cultural and social norms and attitudes (for example hypersexualisation, the sexual objectification of women and the commodification of sex).

Ultimately, our aim is to:

  • Reduce the demand for goods and services derived from or contributing to sexual exploitation.
  • Equip groups and individuals to deal with the influence of pornography and harmful sexual content, particularly on children and young people.
  • Influence social attitudes & public policy

What is sexual exploitation? Sexual exploitation is: “Any actual or attempted abuse of position of vulnerability, differential power or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.”1Closely related to this is sexual abuse, defined as: “Actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.”

Sexual exploitation encompasses a wide-range of sexual abuse or utilitarian sexual uses of persons, regardless of age. It includes sexual objectification, sexual violence, pornography, prostitution, sex trafficking, and more.

It always involves:

  • Differentiated Power: perpetrators of sexual exploitation abuse a position of differentiated power or trust in order to derive sexual gratification, financial gain or some form of advancement through the sexual abuse of individuals.
  • Vulnerability: although sexual exploitation can affect anyone, its effects are felt disproportionately by those who on are socially and economically marginalised. Individual, familial and environmental risk factors are interconnected and often cumulative.2
  • Harm: sexual exploitation involves the abrogation of a person’s basic human rights, including their right to dignity, equality, autonomy, and physical and mental well-being.3 Victims suffer acute harm and negative long-term consequences.4   

The harmful effects of sexual exploitation are not limited to the victims: when the most vulnerable individuals in our society are robbed of the opportunity to thrive, living a life free from sexual harm, we all feel the effects.

We have a responsibility to fight back and to hold to account the multi-billion dollar industries that feed off exploitation and abuse.

  1. United Nations Glossary on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
  2. Rutter 1985. Cited from Introduction: J.Dodsworth, 2015 Pathways into Sexual Exploitation and Sex Work: The Experience of Victimhood and Agency Palgrave MacMillan
  3. Part I, Article 1, draft Convention Against Sexual Exploitation) Prostitution of Sexuality, 1995 Appendix
  4. Universal Declaration of Human Rights