North Texas Daily

Column: Consider the link between pornography and sex trafficking

Column: Consider the link between pornography and sex trafficking

March 31
03:38 2016

Harrison Long | Opinion Editor

@HarrisonGLong 

One could argue that there are very few issues social conservatives and feminists agree upon – and of that ever-shrinking list, fewer still are for the same reason. This is not an examination of the psychological profiles of those who watch pornography, nor is it a condemnation against free expression. I agree with the sentiment that the existence of pornography is not too high a price for total and complete free speech in our society.

However, there is a troubling connection between the human trafficking industry and the enlistment of young women into the world of pornography. A statistic from the U.S. State Department states that 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked every year across international borders — of that figure, over 80 percent are women.

What drives the demand in this market you ask? Slavery is undoubtedly a contributing factor, with millions of slaves existing in the world today. According to DoSomething.org, a movement meant to shed light on human trafficking in the world, the average price for an individual slave is shockingly low at $90.

But one should also take into account the demand for porn in the United States and abroad. Again, this isn’t to shame anyone into repentance or guilt-trip individuals for whatever their browser histories might entail- it is merely a consideration of just how many women in the porn industry were or currently are being subjected to a suspension of their basic human rights in being forced to perform sexual acts on camera.

Pornography got its name from the Greek words “porne,” meaning quite literally “prostitution” and “graphos,” meaning “writings.” Harvard Law professor Catherine Mackinson, in an interview with Internet watchdog organization “Covenant Eyes,” said it is not inaccurate to label pornography as an advertisement for human trafficking. While the vast majority of those who watch porn will never purchase another human being, it can create a drive to act out one’s sexual fantasies made possible through porn, and thus initiates people with ample means and lack of any semblance of morality or ethics to do just so.

The Netflix documentary “Hot Girls Wanted” shines a light on the questionable practice of recruiting young girls for adult entertainment, as have advocacy networks like “Pink Cross,” created by former adult actress Shelley Lubben, who has committed herself to helping the rehabilitation of those negatively affected by the industry and looking to change professions.

To conclude, it should be reiterated that this is again not an attempt at sprinkling a civics lesson on top of a guilt-trip — this is only meant to cite the demand for human trafficking that is created through unrestricted access to any fantasy or fetish one pleases.

So pause, take a minute to consider anything one could do, or not do to help, and then carry on.

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