Pornography and the Sex Trafficking Industry

When the news reports stories about the statistics behind human trafficking, it is easy to feel shocked and appalled by this most degrading form of slavery.

Many see sex trafficking as something apart from their world and would never countenance supporting it. Ironically, some of the same people who decry sexual slavery will just as vehemently defend their right to access and view pornography without realizing that the two elements are inexplicably linked.

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Human Trafficking

Shared Hope International recently shared a report that indicated that pornography is the main gateway for the demand for human trafficking. Catherine MacKinon, a Harvard Law professor, says “consuming pornography us an experience of bought sex” which creates the drives the urge to purchase, further objectify or act out what they have witnessed. Pornography is often a literal advertisement for pimps and traffickers as they will use images and videos of victims to draw in “clients”.

The convenience and ease of the internet makes the distribution and consumption of pornography easier than ever.

This leads to an increase in addiction, which can then lead to a compulsion to act on impulses that individuals might not feel comfortable bringing home. Victor Malarek claimed in his book The Johns: “The message is clear: if prostitution is the main act, porn is the dress rehearsal.” As regular pornography consumption desensitizes an individual, more and more stimulus is needed to reach a sexual high. Eventually, users hit a point when two dimensional images no longer satisfy them, paving the road to approaching prostitutes or engaging in affairs.

Pornography and the Sex Trafficking Industry

Sexually exploited women and children are often used for the production of pornography without their consent. Some victims are trafficked specifically for use in pornography production. Because webcams and chatrooms have blurred the lines between interactive pornography and virtual prostitution, more victims are at risk than ever, and users can never be entirely sure if they are supporting the sexual slavery of an individual.

Although some users attempt to ease their consciences by believing that the adults portrayed in what they view are actors and actresses who have chosen their career, there is often very little way to prove this. Even in cases where the performer began as a willing participant, they often find that they have agreed to more than they realize and recourse is unlikely as the law prohibits prostitution.

Many former porn actresses recall being exploited through their psychological and economic vulnerabilities by pimps and traffickers who have become experts at controlling their “product”.

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Sex Trafficking

It is fairly simple to make the correlation between pornography and the rise in human trafficking. What is lacking is the social awareness for potential users. Although the production and consumption of pornography is considered sex trafficking under U.S. Federal law, under the TVPA, only a “severe form of trafficking” or one that involves “force, fraud or coercion” is eligible for prosecution. This essentially means that our legal system is prepared to tolerate human trafficking in certain instances as most types of porn production involve some level of these elements.

Although coalitions and task forces are dedicated to eradicating human trafficking, the only way it will really be controlled is through the decisions by conscientious consumers to not support it in any way. This will require a greater amount of awareness throughout society.

If you have questions or concerns about the link between pornography and human trafficking, or if you have concerns regarding a friend or loved one, contact us at Desert Solace.

Pornography and the Sex Trafficking Industry

http://desertsolace.org/pornography-and-the-sex-trafficking-industry/

 

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