Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Friday launched a two-year initiative seeking to reduce demand for paid sex in the city.
The program, called CEASE Boston, will target men who buy sex in an effort to reduce demand for buying sex online by 20 percent and street level demand by 80 percent over two years.
“Human beings, particularly women and children, are being bought for sex in our own neighborhoods," Mayor Walsh said in a statement. "In Boston, we will not tolerate this illegal and exploitative industry that deprives vulnerable people of their basic human rights and funds a predatory business often tied to gangs and organized crime.”
Attorney General Maura Healey says the mission of the program is to cut off demand.
"It's aggressive prosecution, certainly, but it's broader than that," Healey told WBUR. "It's about educating as well, men in particular, who may be looking to buy sex that this is a crime and there are real victims here."
The two-year effort also aims to raise public awareness of sexual exploitation in Boston, including educating the public about how to identify and report it, and improve access to treatment and exit programs for survivors and buyers.
CEASE, which stands for Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation, is a national network of 11 cities who have made similar commitments.