Sex trafficking exists because there is a receptive market of male buyers willing to purchase and exploit victims. If there are no buyers, there is no demand, and no demand means no victims. CEASE (Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation) Texas is a collaborative effort to end the demand for commercial sex and human trafficking victims in six key Texas regions: Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Corpus Christi, and San Angelo. We will be expanding to El Paso in the Summer of 2021.
CEASE Texas achieves three main objectives: gathering and providing real-time data on the online buyer landscape via a dashboard & chatbot, gathering local stakeholders to discuss combating demand, and establishing cyber patrols through which members of the community can fight the demand for sex trafficking in their city.
Cyber-Patrols are the primary focus of CEASE Volunteers. Although men may want to get involved in the fight against trafficking, there are often fewer volunteer opportunities open to men. Cyber patrols offer good men a tangible, action-oriented, and effective way to help eliminate sex trafficking, one buyer at a time.
CEASE Texas posts decoy ads on popular buyer websites, and volunteers will respond to phone calls and texts from the attempted buyers. Women are welcome to join, but we are particularly looking for men to speak on the phones. Volunteers meet once a month for a year, and these patrols last around two hours. The patrols allow men the chance to fight trafficking while also building bonds with one another and strengthening their communities.
dashboard & Chatbot
Currently, the CEASE Texas Human Trafficking Dashboard tracks ads across nine key regions (Houston, Austin, Dallas, Forth Worth, Odessa, Galveston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and El Paso). The dashboard tracks total number of ads in addition to unique ads, data on the average reported age of provider, location, and features a search bar.
CEASE Texas posts decoy ads. When buyers respond, the personal information corresponding with their telephone number is recorded along with their texts. CEASE Texas' chatbot responds with a series of questions. The answers to these questions help us to build buyer data.