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The Global Supply Chain of Sexual Exploitation & the Necessity of Combating the Demand for Commercia

Entities such as strip clubs, massage parlors, brothels, and pornography production companies exist around the world and are commonly referred to using innocuous terms such as “sex trade,” “sex sector,” and “commercial sex industry.” However, what these entities really constitute is a global issue.

This presentation was shared at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation's national briefing in the U.S. Capitol building, entitled "The Freedom from Sexploitation Agenda." To learn more about the agenda, and to see more videos from the event, visit: endsexualexploitation.org/freedomagenda/

Entities such as strip clubs, massage parlors, brothels, and pornography production companies exist around the world and are commonly referred to using innocuous terms such as “sex trade,” “sex sector,” and “commercial sex industry.” However, what these entities really constitute is a global supply chain of organized sexual exploitation. The essential and indispensable commodities in this industry are human beings whose bodies are sold for sex. Those profiting from this traffic in human beings include not only those directly involved such as strip club owners, brothel keepers, and pornographers, but also a wide range of other parties such as hotel operators, taxi drivers, guards, accountants, lawyers, doctors, travel agents, advertisers, and governments. This sexual industrial complex wholly exists to cater to and profit from one class of individual—commercial sex buyers. Therefore, any serious effort to combat commercial sexual exploitation must include vigorous efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex.

Lisa L. Thompson serves as the Vice President of Education and Outreach for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, where she oversees NCOSE’s strategic planning for increased public understanding of sexual exploitation related issues. To this end Lisa conducts analysis, develops research initiatives, and liaises with a wide-range of public officials, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher learning, and academics to generate collaborative action to combat the full spectrum of sexual exploitation especially as pertains to the harms of pornography, stripping, prostitution, and sexual trafficking.

Lisa joins the NCOSE following nearly two years with World Hope International (WHI), where as its Director of Anti-Trafficking, Lisa administered WHI’s anti-trafficking and sexual-violence recovery programs in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Liberia and Sierra Leone. While working for WHI Lisa also served as a steering committee member of the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAAST), a collaboration initiative she helped found, and as a reviewer for theJournal of Human Trafficking.

She has written on the subjects of sexual trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation for publications such as Christian History and Biography, Caring, Mutuality, PRISM, and Social Work and Christianity. Lisa is a contributing author to Hands that Heal: International Curriculum for Caregivers of Trafficking Survivors, as well as the book Global Perspectives on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: Europe Latin America, North America, and Global in which she contributed chapters about the use of torture by pimps, as well as the policy conflicts between sex trafficking abolitionists and HIV/AIDS advocates. She is the co-editor of a special anti-trafficking edition of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work journalSocial Work & Christianity and has provided expert testimony to the U.S. Congress. Lisa routinely speaks about sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation (i.e. prostitution, pornography, stripping), and facilitates anti-trafficking training events for a diverse range of audiences.

Additionally, Lisa served for more than 12 years as the Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking for The Salvation Army USA National Headquarters. In that role she pioneered strategies for The Salvation Army to create recovery services for survivors of sexual trafficking and advocated on public policy issues and initiatives related to combating sexual trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation. Lisa chaired The Salvation Army’s North American Anti-Trafficking Council and directed its Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking. Previous to her arrival at The Salvation Army, Lisa served as Policy Representative for the National Association of Evangelicals’ (NAE) Office for Governmental Affairs in Washington, DC, from 1998 to 2001. While there, she was heavily involved in NAE’s advocacy efforts seeking passage of legislation now known as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. She has also worked for consulting firms managing Community Develop Block Grants programs in Kentucky, and taught English as a second language in the People’s Republic of China.

Lisa earned her Bachelor of Arts in Government from Western Kentucky University, and her Master’s degree in Leadership, Public Policy and Social Issues from Union Institute and University.

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