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Pornography & Sex Trafficking

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching we thought it would be a great opportunity to bring up how a healthy perspective of love plays a role in society. Have you ever wondered where the initial desire to enslave another human comes from? Ever considered the correlation between sex trafficking and pornography? Trafficking is like this colossal tree with roots spreading in every direction. One such branch is the pornography industry. Many may think it’s harmless, and you may even say to yourself “this has nothing to do with girls being trafficked.” However these two are interconnected in ways that not only affect our societal problem of modern slavery but our own relationships. First off what you may see in pornography may not completely be consensual. This may not be the case for all pornography, but there has been coercion, force, and fraud being used to film pornographic scenes. One of the biggest concerns is that you have no way of knowing especially because there are genres of violent pornography. Some of these participants are actors and know what they signed up for but others are not and may be victims. Another issue, according to Fight the New Drug- an anti-pornography campaign- is sex trafficked victims are often filmed or photographed performing sex acts and posted online as advertisement. According to a survey done by Thorn and Dr. Bouché, nearly half of sex trafficking victims reported that while in bondage they were filmed in some way. These photos find their way to popular sites and the viewer has no way of knowing where the content originated from. At the end of the day, by engaging with these porn sites an individual can be contributing to the trafficking industry by fueling a form of the demand. Pornography and trafficking are linked together in many complex ways. Another is the idea that viewers may want to reenact these scenes and look to hiring women for it. With one quick Google search you can find every type of pornography under the sun. These can range from a variety of fetishes to rape. These feed viewers with unhealthy expectations of sex. Men who watch particularly violent porn wish to perform these fantasies on sex workers rather than disapproving wives and girlfriends. However, these “sex workers” are often victims of trafficking and perform these violent acts unwillingly. All of this belongs to what Dr. Karen Countryman-Roswurm calls a “continuum of violence” because of how deeply interconnected it all is. Violent images in porn being on one end of the spectrum and sex trafficking being at the other end. Finally, pornography has been found to alter how we view consent, relationships and love. In one study after randomly selecting the most popular films and analyzing them, researchers found that 88% contained physical violence.* Out of all this violence almost all was directed at women. If people are viewing this material how are they feeling towards women and sexual relationships in their day-to-day life? This will lead to abuse, violence and participating in illicit behavior. Healthy relationships means complete consent from both parties and void of any forms of abuse. Not watching women be degraded and definitely not acting it out. While this month’s theme of love continues it’s a good time to educate and have discussions on how pornography can not only have a negative impact on your personal relationships, but how it may be feeding a larger societal problem. This big imposing tree called human trafficking will not be cut down in one day, but the roots can be dug out one by one. Education on the truth behind the porn industry will be the biggest and best tool on stopping this avenue of demand. To learn more, below are links to websites with more information. Fight The New Drug Truth About Porn Protect Young Minds *Bridges, A. J., Wosnitzer, R., Scharrer, E., Chyng, S., And Liberman, R. (2010). Aggression And Sexual Behavior In Best Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update. Violence Against Women 16, 10: 1065–1085.

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