In recent months, some misinformation has been spread about Exodus Cry by Pornhub and its parent company MindGeek, as well as some who have a financial relationship with Pornhub. We would like to address the false information with the truth about who we are and what we stand for.
Exodus Cry is an independent US 501c3 organization, with consultative status at the United Nations, that exists to combat sex trafficking and all forms of commercial sexual exploitation both domestically and internationally. We do this through awareness and education, legal reform, and assisting those trapped in exploitation. Exodus Cry has been on the frontlines combatting sex trafficking for over a decade and we have broad support from, and partnerships with, hundreds of organizations around the world who are advocating for the protection of men, women, and children from the injustice of commercial sexual exploitation.
Myth: Exodus Cry is an anti-LGBTQ+ organization.
Truth: Exodus Cry is an organization that since its inception has never advocated, campaigned, or focused on any other issue besides sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation is the singular focus of Exodus Cry, and any suggestion that Exodus Cry has campaigned against any other issue is categorically false. Exodus Cry’s official statement of inclusion on our website makes it clear that our organization loves, supports, includes, and respects people from all walks of life regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or political views. Exodus Cry exists to help every person, including those who identify as LGBTQ+, be free from the harms of commercial sexual exploitation.
Some have made radical and unfounded “guilt by association” accusations against Exodus Cry and those kinds of attacks are not based on any credible evidence, but rather on extreme inciting statements that we reject as factually inaccurate and intentionally misleading.
Others have pointed to a single public comment made by Exodus Cry’s founder on his personal social media account a decade ago regarding his personal political opinion about the issue of marriage equality, which at the time was a national conversation with widely differing views. He provided a single personal opinion comment–one that has changed and evolved over the last ten years. Benjamin Nolot says,
“Like much of our nation, a decade ago when the issue was being widely debated, I expressed in a single personal tweet that I thought government had a role to play in defining marriage. Even former president Obama held similar views in the past. I have taken time to better understand the LGBTQ+ experience and listen to their voices. Today, like many, my views have evolved and I believe every individual should make that decision for themselves without government being involved in such a personal choice. I advocate for the right of all people to be free from all forms of oppression and that without question includes the LGBTQ+ community. I hope that the LGBTQ+ community can understand that I value them and that my heart toward them is one of love, compassion, and honor. I want to make clear that I respect the LGBTQ+ community as a group that deserves all of the rights that protect their dignity, safety, and equality.”
Those who are aligned with Pornhub and MindGeek have been spreading disinformation regarding an “application” that they are claiming is evidence of Exodus Cry being anti-LGBTQ+, however, the application they are using to make this claim is one that is clearly titled as a “chapter application.” There is only one Exodus Cry and Exodus Cry does not have chapters. Therefore a “chapter application” has no relevance to our organization’s work.
Rose Kalemba, a survivor of child rape and trafficking said of Exodus Cry,
“After the assault at age fourteen that changed my life forever, I reached out for help in so many places and came up empty. I was turned away, disbelieved, victim-blamed, and even openly sexually harassed by the same people who were supposed to help victims. This past February, after my story got a global front page pick up with BBC World News, I was contacted by Laila Mickelwait from Exodus Cry. Her initial message to me was compassionate in a way I had never experienced before.
Although I have known I was bisexual for at least fifteen years now I officially came out publicly earlier this year. Prior to this, only my closest friends knew. The way that Laila and everyone at Exodus Cry have treated me has been consistent with how they treated me before they knew this about my identity–with unconditional kindness, compassion, and support.
Laila Mickelwait even sent me a very kind text message supporting me when I mentioned homophobia I was facing online and saying that she hopes I know how loved and accepted I am by everyone at her organization, and that meant so much to hear. I hid this part of myself for eleven years because I was so afraid of being sexually harassed even worse by the men who had seen my rape on PornHub if they knew I was bisexual. Our society fetishizes my identity and that’s amplified even more so on Pornhub, who quite literally profits from trauma including that of LGBT+ survivors like myself. I am so thankful to Exodus Cry for being the first and still one of the very few to ever help support me as a survivor. The level of tangible resources and support I’ve experienced have been truly life changing, and I am forever grateful.”
Myth: Exodus Cry is a “right wing” organization.
Truth: Exodus Cry is a non-partisan organization that has never advocated for any political party. Anti sex trafficking and anti sexual exploitation work is not a “right” or “left” issue, it is one of very few issues that people of all backgrounds, political parties, ideologies and faith or non-faith backgrounds can come together on. Any suggestion that Exodus Cry is politically affiliated is categorically false.
Myth: Exodus Cry is a “religious extremist” organization.
Truth: Exodus Cry believes in the importance of prayer in our work and have seen the value of prayer in helping us stay hopeful in the midst of combatting a very dark issue. We also believe that prayer for those suffering from injustice is an important part of combating it. People of many different faiths believe in the value of prayer and it is a very normal part of the lives of millions around the world who believe in a higher power. Our aim is to be a faith based organization modeled on the character of Jesus. He was motivated by care for the well-being and dignity of others in all he did.
We look to some of the great champions of social justice in the past like William Wilberforce and Martin Luther King Jr., who were compelled by their faith to spend themselves for the cause of combatting some of the greatest injustices in our world. These men were motivated by their faith, but they did not exclude others who did not share their faith from partnering with them in the mission to end systemic oppression and injustice. Likewise, Exodus Cry welcomes the partnership of organizations from all backgrounds, because we understand that it is only by working together that we will be able to help put an end to the massive injustice of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.
Traffickinghub is a movement powered by Exodus Cry and it is for everyone. It’s a non-religious, non-partisan effort to hold the largest porn website in the world accountable for enabling and profiting off of the mass sex-trafficking and exploitation of women and minors.
Myth: Exodus Cry is an “anti sex worker” organization.
Truth: Exodus Cry has always taken a position that would seek to protect, advocate for, and provide resources to those who sell or are sold for sex. Exodus Cry believes that those in the sex industry should never be criminalized, but instead should be decriminalized and offered social services if desired. Our position on what laws are best to address commercial sexual exploitation is called “partial decriminalization”, the “abolition model,” or “the equality model,” meaning we advocate for a model of law that would enable those in the sex industry to be decriminalized, but those who would seek to exploit them such as pimps, traffickers, and sex buyers face serious criminal consequences for their violent actions.
Exodus Cry has always had a steady commitment to supporting those in the sex industry and all who have been sexually exploited. Our heart as an organization is to enable those in the sex industry to live a life free from all forms of exploitation, including criminalization.
Myth: Exodus Cry “campaigns against women’s rights.”
Truth: Exodus Cry has spent over a decade advocating for the rights of women not to be exploited for sex. We strongly advocate for the equality of women and their right to not ever be physically, economically, or emotionally coerced into situations of sexual exploitation.
Exodus Cry aligns itself with many dedicated women’s rights organizations from various backgrounds who are on the front lines combating domestic violence, commercial sexual exploitation, and sex trafficking. With regard to the issue of abortion and reproductive rights, Exodus Cry’s CEO has expressed his personal views that he believes in the protection of life in the womb. However, Exodus Cry has never taken any position on those issues and any suggestion otherwise is false. We also partner with, and are inclusive of, organizations that are both for and against abortion, as we align on the common goal of putting an end to sex trafficking and all forms of commercial sexual exploitation.
Myth: Exodus Cry “is a racist” organization.
Truth: Exodus Cry honors and fights for the freedom, value, and dignity of people of all races and ethnicities. Any claim otherwise is not based on factual evidence and is categorically false. To the contrary, Exodus Cry has been an advocate against racism and discrimination particularly with regard to the oppression of women of color in the sex trade. Exodus Cry has consistently made very public statements condemning racism and sexual violence against people of color.