Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pornography, Rape, and Human Trafficking

While many sources will say that pornography has helped the rape problem, we will argue that pornography is detrimental, both to rape culture and to the fight against human trafficking. While it is evident that the number of rapes in the U.S. has dropped in the last 20 years (source), pornography has given rise to a whole new problem: an increased demand for sexual slavery, which in turn hurts more women and children in the long run than does rape.

In 2014 alone, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, operated by Polaris​, reported 3,598 cases of sex trafficking in the United States. (source) This number only includes cases reported directly to the resource center, so the actual number is likely much higher.

Many other researchers have shown a direct link between pornography and the human trafficking industry. Many reasons for this exist. The basic economic principle of supply and demand is the most fundamental reason. With people wanting to consume pornography, there is a recognized demand. Behind the demand for pornography itself is a demand for the content it contains. Most women are unwilling to submit to the treatment found in so many pornographic films. Therefore, to generate the content, other methods must be used.

“Pornography creates demand for prostitution and also, trafficking, through its consumption. Assuming pornography is fundamentally an experience of bought sex, it stimulates demand for buying women and children in the flesh.” — concluding thoughts from Demand Dynamics: Pornography Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking conference (source)

A survey, published in 2013, which analyzed U.S. males between 1973 and 2010, stated that “Pornography consumption was positively associated with having multiple partners and engaging in paid sex behavior.” (source)

“In a very literal way, pornography is advertising for trafficking, not just in general, but also in the sense that traffickers and pimps use pornographic images of victims as specific advertising for their ‘products.’” (source)

While many who watch porn will never actively participate in sex trafficking in the sense that they are physically present in the trafficking world, viewers must be brought to the realization that, by paying for pornography, they are paying the pimps and traffickers who produce the content, thereby playing an active role in the enslavement of women and children they are seeing on the computer screen. Many women rescued out of sexual trafficking have stated that pornography was made of them while they were enslaved. “Many women and children who are being sexually exploited and trafficked are also being used for the production of pornography. Sometimes acts of prostitution are filmed without the consent of the victim and distributed. On other occasion, victims are trafficked for the sole purpose of porn production.” (source) “Even if a porn explicitly states that all actors are over 18 and have consented to being filmed, that just may not be true, Yahoo News reported. The trafficked actresses may simply be trained to look and act older.” (source)

“What kind of culture is producing so many men who are eager to buy women and children for sex, contributing to a 32 billion dollar per year human trafficking industry? I believe the answer is the kind of culture that produces and perpetuates a 100 billion dollar per year pornography industry.” — Benjamin Nolot, the Exodus Cry movement (source)

Even women who at one point in time chose to work in the porn industry report that, often they have no say in what they do and do not participate in on set. “Interviews with women who spent time in the pornography industry are almost identical to the stories from sex trafficking victims. One interviewee explained, ‘I came home bruised and sometimes a little bloody from the rough scenes. I shot… scenes where they slapped me and spit on me and called me horrible things.’” (source) There are endless accounts of women being beaten and abused on set, even when they protest. It is nothing but saddening that women are coerced into this treatment, even if they have prior consented to working in the porn industry.

In an estimated 13 BILLION dollar per year pornography industry in the U.S. alone, there is no room to deny the fact that pimps and traffickers have something to gain through sexually exploiting their victims to be marketed as porn. 24,644,172 porn sites only exist because of viewers who, every second are spending $3,075.64 on pornography (source). The organization, A21, stated, “Yes, there are 27 million people enslaved, but there are 7 BILLION people who can free them.” In order to play your part in the abolition of slavery worldwide, you have to make a personal decision to remove your support from the primary industry fueling the sex trafficking of millions of people. Remove the demand, remove the supply. #dontclick