By Vanessa Morse
Today is my last day at CEASE. This is going to hurt.
Building CEASE over the past four years from a start-up to an established, recognised and respected organisation has been no mean feat. It’s taken dedication, passion and courage to get to where we are. I’m not talking about mine though, I’m talking about the amazing staff and trustees at CEASE, both past and present, who are deep in the trenches. Thank you to Naomi, Joe, David, Layla, Tom, Tilda, Elly, Martin, Jen, Olly, Katie, Luke, Rebecca, Michelle, Gemma and Jo. Not only has CEASE benefitted from your skills, wisdom and commitment, I have too.
I also want to honour and offer my thanks to the survivors who have chosen to work with us, sharing their experiences to help decision makers and the public understand the human cost of sexual exploitation and the urgent need for regulation and reform.
Personal highlights of my time at CEASE include mounting the TraffickingHub protest outside Mindgeek’s offices in London, publication of our Expose Big Porn report, giving evidence to Parliamentary committees in Westminster, and speaking to US legislators at the Capitol in Washington DC about the links between child sexual abuse, sex trafficking and pornography.
Being the Chief Executive of CEASE has been a huge privilege. I’ve been deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with and learn from so many people who are utterly committed to ending sexual exploitation. Even when dealing with the most disturbing issues, I’ve been kept going by the courage and resilience of survivors, the support of colleagues and a desire to protect future generations.
The next chapter of CEASE will be hugely significant. The world is waking up to the harm and exploitation driven by the pornography industry. There will be many opportunities to be seized, testimonies to be shared, and laws to be introduced to bring an end to the industry’s unfettered reign. So I invite you to join me in supporting CEASE and the other organisations in this space to ensure they can do the work needed to bring justice and protect our children from sexual exploitation.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. So, let’s keep going!