What We Believe
"Prostitution is not the world's oldest profession. It is the world's oldest oppression." --Vednita Carter, Founder and President of Breaking Free
To end all forms of prostitution and sex-trafficking.
At Breaking Free, we understand sex trafficking as a vicious cycle of violence, abuse, incarceration, and addiction. Repeated experiences of violence undermine women's capacities to avoid further victimization. Sexual exploitation distorts the lives of women, destroys families, and undermines the fabric of our communities. In order to break the cycle, we must first recognize sex trafficking/prostitution as a form of violence against women.
What is violence against women?What is commercial sexual exploitation?
The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women defines violence against women as "any form of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life." This encompasses the commercial sexual exploitation of women.
The Women's Support Network explains that commercial sexual exploitation is “a practice by which a person achieves sexual gratification, financial gain, or advancement through the abuse or exploitation of a person’s sexuality by abrogating that person’s human right to dignity, equality, autonomy, and physical and mental well-being.”
Understanding sex trafficking/prostitution as violence against women:
Sex trafficking utilizes two forms of violence against its victims:
- Direct violence includes rape, physical or psychological torture and abuse, isolation, kidnapping, forced drugs, and threats against the victims and their families
- Indirect (or structural) violence includes pervasive and permissive attitudes towards the hypersexualization, objectification, and purchase of women and girls, the criminalization of women trapped by prostitution, and the collateral consequences and stigma that attach to women society has failed to recognize as victims.
Recognizing sex trafficking/prostitution as violence against women is the first step towards the prevention of further victimization.