What Equality Means to Us: No More Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

In 1948 the United Nations declared that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” and all nations are bound to these principles under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Supported and upheld by international treaties and case law, human rights include the right to life, health, personal freedom and security, and the right to not be exposed to cruel and degrading treatment. Furthermore, freedom of movement, freedom from gender-based violence and discrimination, and freedom to associate freely are all human rights.

It is a human right to live and love free from sexual abuse and exploitation.

Sexual Exploitation Stifles Human Rights

Tragically, though, sexual abuse and exploitation are rampant in our culture today and exacerbated by unenforced federal laws, unaccountable social media platforms and private corporations, and by exploitative government policies.

We at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) regularly hear from survivors of sexual abuse and exploitation as we work hard to mitigate human rights violations such as:

Stories like these are not anomalies and are happening all over all over the world despite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We are not helpless to prevent this kind of exploitation, though.

How We Fight For Equality

At NCOSE, our team works every day to reduce inequalities and advance human rights. Our team and allies believe that to reach true equality, it’s vital to first recognize that behaviors such as sex buying, prostitution, and pornography are all practices of gender-based violence, discrimination, and substantive inequality for women and children around the globe. We must address the roles that these behaviors play in perpetuating inequality. It is only then that we can realize justice and equality for all.

NCOSE is a human rights organization working to hold governments and corporations accountable for being complicit in—and even profiting from—exploitative behaviors.

From demanding that corporate policies prioritize user safety before profits to suing the state of Nevada for profiting from and providing legal cover for the sexual exploitation of women, NCOSE is at the forefront of supporting human rights and upholding the dignity of women, children, and all survivors. Recently, we supported policy change in California that provides exit strategies for victims of human trafficking. We also celebrated a victory when Google implemented major changes on their platform, including adding defaulted safety settings to school-issued Chromebooks.

The inherent harms and oppression of sexual abuse and exploitation impact people regardless of their age, sex, nationality, race, sexual orientation, gender, or creed. 

With activism campaigns, policy victories, and precedent-setting legal cases, NCOSE will continue fighting inequality at the forefront until we all live in a world free from sexual abuse and exploitation—a world where we all can thrive.

Help Build a World Free from Exploitation

Celebrate Human Rights Day today by joining our mission and donating. Your gift goes towards efforts to build a world free from exploitation.


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EDITORS NOTE: This column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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