Porn Fuels The Demand For Sex Trafficking

Experts talk about the relationship between pornography, exploitation, and sex trafficking of women.
Pornography leads to an increase in criminal victimization and people being taken advantage of.

We talk a lot about the individual and relational problems associated with porn. Most people are aware that porn is not good for them and has a negative impact on those around them. But fewer are conscious of how porn affects people in the industry. I’ve transcribed a compilation of experts addressing this question. They discuss the relationship between porn and sex trafficking. They also make the important point that pornography preys on the vulnerable in society. At best, it is a form of legal prostitution that damages lives. At worst, it is the filmed rape of powerless victims, often international ones. I’ve copied a brief description of each speaker followed by the video and the complete transcript. For more on the harmful effects of pornography, check out Truth About Porn.

Speakers:

Mahri Irvine, PhD: Adjunct Professorial Lecturer, American University. Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.

Taina Bien-Aime: Executive Director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

Melissa Farley, PhD: Executive Director, Prostitution Research & Education.

John Foubert, PhD: Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs, Oklahoma State University.

Donna Hughes: Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology, University of Rhode Island.

Shamere McKenzie: Anti-trafficking Program Director, Salvation Army of Central Maryland. CEO, Sun Gate Foundation.

Kevin Malone: Co-founder and President of the Board, United States Institute Against Human Trafficking.

Susan Norris: Founder and Executive Director, Rescuing Hope.

Marian Hatcher: Senior Project Manager and Human Trafficking Coordinator, Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

Karen Countryman-Roswurm, PhD: Founder and Executive Director, Center for Combating Human Trafficking, Wichita State University.

Heidi Olson: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program Coordinator, Children’s Mercy Hospital

Valiant Richey: Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Transcript:

Irvine: I think people think that watching pornography is OK because they say, “Well, everybody has consented to it, and they’re all paid actors, and they’re consenting adults, and so it’s fine.” But reality is, and I’ve heard this from survivors, and what they really want all porn consumers to know is that when you are watching pornography, you actually have no way of knowing if you’re watching somebody being raped or voluntarily engaging in that act.

Bien-Aime: Pornography is really prostitution on screen. The traffickers are the same. The pimps are the same. The women and girls and men and boys are the same victims that are being sold in the sex trade.

Farley: There isn’t pornography here. Pornography over here. And trafficking over there. They’re interlinked.

Foubert: The most interesting study I read is one that did brain scans of men while they were watching pornography, and they wanted to see what areas of the brain light up when men look at porn. It’s the part of the brain that deals with objects, not people. And why that is so devastating is the more we dehumanize someone, the more possible it is to commit violence against them.

Hughes: When you see someone being brutally–really brutalized in pornography, that really has to be done to someone in order to film that. Sometimes we can call something sex trafficking, but if you photograph it then it becomes pornography. And if it happens on a date, then it’s rape, when in fact we’re really talking about the same kind of sexual violence and exploitation.

McKenzie: In our society, we glamorize the issue of trafficking. We glamorize pimping. We think that a pimp is someone that’s cool. We have shows like Pimp My Ride or Pimp My House, and it appears to make something look good. But what is the reality of the pimp? A pimp is someone that abuses women, someone that rapes women. Is that something we want to associate something positive with? My trafficker was someone I met in the street. He didn’t say to me that I am the big bad pimp. You’re going to come with me. I’m going to beat you and abuse you and do all these things to you. He was very nice in his approach. I had no idea he was a trafficker until I shared with him, “Hey, I need money to go back to school.” And he said, “I’ll help you.”

Malone: He grooms her, tells her he loves her, builds a connection, builds a dependence on him. And then he says, “If you love me, you’ll not only sleep with me, you’ll take care of my friends.”

Norris: Almost all of them had had pictures or videos taken of them whether it’s been sold as pornography or not.

Hatcher: Pornography is used to desensitize the individuals involved in the sex trade. It is used to normalize violence and to reduce the individual that’s being bought to what’s on that screen.

Countryman-Roswurm: Pornography was often used as some sort of advertising for their sexual abuse.

Olson: Pretty much every trafficking victim I’ve ever seen, pornography has been created of them. And these are 12, 13, 14-year-olds. It is considered sex trafficking anytime a child is being sold for any type of monetary value in the United States. So when people say “child prostitute,” that’s absolutely an incorrect term for them. It is always sex trafficking.

Hatcher: We’ve done some recoveries of young people where they were lured by modeling and eventually end up in a situation where they were forced to make pornographic films.

Richey: Trafficking is a symptom of a problem. It’s a supply-response to a demand problem. And so if we can address that demand problem, we can really solve a lot of these other issues.

Irvine: I really wish that people who watch porn knew more about that because I think they believe that they’re engaging in this activity in a very passive way. “I’m doing it in the privacy of my own home, and this is just a video that I’m watching.” And they’re not associating it with the fact that pornography is very often the filmed rape of sex trafficking victims.

Bien-Aime: When you look at pornography, what we’re seeing is a cultural acceptance of the type of commercial sexual exploitation. What we don’t think about is who are the actors and what are the elements that are contributing to this multi-billion dollar sex industry.

Author: DL Admin

A Christian millennial passionate about seeing people live free from the harmful psychological and relational effects of lust.

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