Sex trafficking has recently become a hot social justice issue. Nearly everyone is against sex trafficking, along with rape and sexual violence. Yet on the flip-side, pornography has never been so normalized in our society. It’s seen as a normal, even healthy, expression of sexuality. It’s accepted as the natural thing to do. It’s protected as free speech.
But sex trafficking and pornography go hand-in-hand. Being against sex trafficking while watching pornography is like saying you’re a vegan and eating meat. Here are three ways porn and sex trafficking intersect:
- Porn increases demand for paid sex. Like all industries, sex trafficking is driven by demand. The more buyers there are, the more product (girls, boys, and women) sellers need to provide.
- Porn is used to train victims of sex trafficking about what sex-buyers want.
- Porn production is rife with violence, threats, force, fraud and coercion (wait…that’s the definition of human trafficking.)
[Learn more about the intersection of porn and sex trafficking, along with source citations in Fight the New Drug’s article “The Porn Industry’s Dark Secret”]
What’s the difference between prostitution and pornography? A camera.
They are both part of the sex trade. And while not all women in prostitution and pornography and other forms of the sex trade (like strip clubs, escorts, web-camming) are there under force or coercion, according to Prostitution Research’s Hierarchy of Coercion, 98% of women in the sex trade are there because they lack options. About 38% of women in the sex trade are forced into it by social inequalities such as financial need, a history of incest or childhood sexual abuse, or emergency situations such as escaping a violent partner, losing a job, or having children with special needs. The other 60% are literally enslaved. There is little meaningful discussion of choice for these women, and many have been physically coerced into prostitution.
Knowing harms of pornography is a great place to start. But for most porn viewers, that’s not enough. In fact, it can be downright depressing. Which prompts a craving for a little solace from … you guessed it, porn.
That’s because porn is addictive. The earlier a person is first exposed to porn, the more harmful the addiction can be. And with the proliferation of free online content, porn addiction has become an epidemic.
Like any addiction, the first step is admitting you have a problem. The next step is getting help, because no one can beat an addiction alone. Here are some great resources to help a recovering porn addict on the journey:
- FTND’s Fortify Program
- Covenant Eyes Accountability and Internet Filtering
- Resource List from National Center on Sexual Exploitation
- Internet Safety 101 from Enough is Enough
Local Tri-Cities, Washington addiction recovery groups:
West Side Church
615 Wright Ave, Richland (West Side North Room 7) Friday 5:30 AM
Ministry Leader: Dan Wodrich (509) 946-4656
Riverview Counseling & Consultant Inc
1110 Gilmore Ave, Richland (N of Swift Blvd) Thursday 6:00 PM
Jim D – 509-554-8488 firstname.lastname@example.org
Pat O – 505-903-8799