(Photo by Selma Komisky)
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS CONTENT FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY
Pornography’s Link to the Sex Trafficking Industry
By Kyle Jane Heskett
When you think of the word pornography, what comes to mind? Some people think it’s harmless, some people think it’s not. But do you ever associate pornography with the sex trafficking industry? The fact is that the two are linked more than people realize.
Sex trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. So, how is pornography, a practice that is widely accepted by today’s society, linked to sex trafficking, something most people would agree is wrong? To start with, pornography is in high demand. Porn sites receive more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined. 70% of men and 30% of women watch porn. Sex trafficking, a 99-billion-dollar industry, has tapped into this phenomenon. Traffickers are using humans against their will to engage in porn and the subsequent sale of it. Almost half of sex trafficking victims admitted that pornography was made while they were held against their will. In one survey, 63% of underage sex trafficking victims admitted to being advertised and sold online.
While not all porn is non-consensual, the problem is that someone who watches porn has no way of knowing if the people they are watching have been forced or coerced into these actions. Furthermore, the person they are watching on a porn website may even be under 18 years old, which is child pornography. Traffickers have become masters of making their victims look of age and that they consented to these sexual acts. With the statistics linking pornography and the sex trafficking industry rising, chances are those who watch pornography regularly have been aroused by watching someone underage, forced into the action, or both without even knowing it.
The sex trafficking industry also contributes to a consumer’s lack of sensitivity to more extreme versions of porn, ones that can include violence. Dr. Karen Countryman-Roswurm of Wichita State University has over two decades researching the sex trafficking industry. In an interview called “Truth About Porn,” she points out the fact that sex traffickers will use pornography to desensitize people to a victims’ sexual abuse. Their sexual abuse on camera is an advertisement to normalize these extreme and violent actions to the viewers. Many people would argue that if they don’t watch violent porn, they are in the clear when it comes to this issue.
However, porn has a tendency to escalate. “The longer they consume, the more likely they’ll find themselves seeking out increasingly shocking, hardcore content,” one website explains. I’m not saying this will happen to all viewers, but it would be ignorant to assume that it doesn’t happen often, especially when numerous studies have shown that both violent and non-violent porn increases aggressive behavior. And the sex trafficking industry doesn’t just stop at non-violent porn. It banks on the expectation that viewers will want to see more, even sexual abuse. The connection between sex trafficking and pornography are numerous and I’ve only named a few. For more information, you can visit fightthenewdrug.org.