From April 23 to 27, Students Against the Sexual Solicitation of Youth, will be hosting its Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Awareness Week, an annual event held since the organization’s founding in 2009.
“CSEC Awareness Week involves bringing the entire campus together to recognize the urgency of this issue and the need to help end it in the United States,” Yara Almeida ’19, president of SASSY, told The Sun in an email.
This form of exploitation is “sexual activity involving a child in exchange for something of value, or promise thereof, to the child or another person or persons,” Almeida said.
From Monday to Wednesday, the Arts, Engineering and Agriculture Quads will be filled with pink “stop CSEC” signs as a part of SASSY’s goal to raise awareness.
“Since our stop signs are on the three main quads, they draw attention to the issue and inspire community members to come to our events to learn more,” Almeida said.
Additionally, multiple events will be held to further engage community members, including a speaker panel featuring community members from Tompkins County who have worked to prevent CSEC and a showing of the documentary Very Young Girls. The documentary, produced by Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, gives “a rare glimpse of how the cycle of exploitation begins for many women,” according to Almeida.
In past years, over 150 community members attended the speaker event.
“We hope our audience will walk away with the knowledge of: why it is important to educate ourselves about CSEC and what the root causes of CSEC are,” said Almeida.
SASSY will also be tabling on Ho Plaza in order to further engage with the Cornell community and they will be hosting a photo campaign titled, “I want to live in a world where girls …” as a part of the GEMS “A World for Girls” campaign.
“We work with GEMS, making sure that we are updated on the language and research of CSEC, which changes all the time as the issue develops and changes as well,” Almeida said. “All our events, especially CSEC Awareness Week, are geared toward meeting that mission and making sure that the Cornell community understands the extent of CSEC.”