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Mayor Walsh Joins 35 Mayors in Fight Against Sex Trafficking

June 22, 2015

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

U.S. Conference of Mayors Targets Demand for Paid Sex, Highlights National Legislation

BOSTON- Monday, June 22, 2015 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today reinforced his commitment to combating sex trafficking in Boston through comprehensive demand reduction and prevention. At the 83rd Annual Conference of Mayors in San Francisco, Mayor Walsh joined 35 mayors from across the country in signing a resolution calling for aggressive anti-trafficking interventions to end demand for sex buying and mitigate the associated public safety, economic and health risks to our nation’s cities.

“Human trafficking is a crisis that is plaguing our communities, in Boston, and across the nation,” said Mayor Walsh. “We must do everything we can to raise awareness and put an end to this heinous crime, by working together to allocate much needed resources to victims and survivors. We must continue to seek justice, safe communities and programming to help those who have been affected.”

Focusing on eliminating the demand for sexual exploitation, the resolution urges that all anti-trafficking strategies hold both sex buyers and pimps accountable for fueling a deeply damaging industry and provide services to help exploited people leave the industry. In addition to citywide strategies, the mayors also called on the federal government to quickly implement the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA), which will direct much needed resources to help law enforcement target buyers and support victims.  

JVTA is the first comprehensive bill to address the domestic trafficking of American citizens, providing funding for survivor services, as well as new tools for law enforcement to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes.

The mayors also advocated demand reduction as a pragmatic, effective way to eliminate the sexual exploitation. Sex buyers drive the illegal, harmful enterprise and associated criminal and societal challenges, including drug addiction, street violence, and gangs, according to the resolution.

“Every day, sex buyers make the choice to perpetuate a deeply damaging industry that hurts vulnerable people and harms our communities,” said Ziba Cranmer, Executive Director of Demand Abolition, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit working to reduce the demand for purchased sex. “Holding buyers accountable for their choices while supporting survivors exploited by the industry is critical to the safety and well-being of individuals in cities across the city. Take away the buyers, and we take away the abuse.”

Mayor Walsh is among 11 mayors in a network launched in February called Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE). Catalyzed by Demand Abolition, these cities are committed to reducing the demand for buying sex in their communities by 20 percent within two years. Many cities have already implemented tactics to end demand for illegal commercial sexual exploitation and many mayors are focused on reducing this harmful industry locally and nationally.

During the Conference, Mayor Walsh also sponsored a resolution equity in medical research, which builds off the 1993 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Revitalization Act, a law mandating that women and minorities be included in clinical trials funded by the NIH. This new resolution calls on the federal government and other funding agencies ensure that the design of clinical studies includes a consideration of the sex of the subject, adequate participation of women, including women from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, and the reporting of sex-stratified findings, and that medical device and pharmaceutical labeling should carry a disclaimer or warning label if clinical testing did not include adequate numbers of female subjects.

Other resolutions sponsored by the Mayor focused on common-sense gun legislation, paid-parental leave policies, addressing the nation’s wealth gap and economic security and increasing Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding for underserved populations. For more information on the Annual Meeting or the resolutions sponsored by Mayor Walsh, please visit: usmayors.org.