Pornography-A Gateway to Human Trafficking (Opinion)

Publication Information


Originally posted on Freedom Youth Project here on July 21, 2011.

Pornography has become so mainstream and common in American society today, many people do not think twice about seeing it or using it. It is laced into our movies, advertising and throughout the internet, making it nearly inescapable for people to see. Though some recognize it’s detrimental effects, many see pornography representing their freedom as Americans; They ignore the fact that pornography is extremely harmful to everyone involved: actors, producers, users. It corrupts their minds and hearts and causes them to break down mentally, physically and spiritually.

Pornography is so easily accessible, approximately 11 million teens access some form of pornography on a daily basis, the majority without their parents knowledge. Young adults, single adults and married adults are as well. According to a 2006 Internet Filter Review*, “Every second, $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography, 28,258 Internet viewers are viewing pornography, 372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines, and every 39 minutes, a new pornographic video is made in the United States.”
When you examine the psychology of addiction, there are many interesting commonalities in all types of addictions. One in particular is that whatever they’re addicted to, be it gambling, drugs or pornography, the addiction requires an increasing amount of their “drug” to fulfill the thrill. In this way, their addiction is an escalating one. For example, someone addicted to pornography quickly becomes unsatisfied with “standard” adult porn. They may start to seek out porn featuring younger and younger child subjects, or even porn that involves violence. Eventually, when the pictures and videos are not enough, they want a real child victim, or they start acting violent towards their sex partners, to experience what they’re seeing for themselves.

According to Dr. W. Dean Belnap, MD, Pediatrician and Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, “Pornography, like most addictions, drugs, alcohol, etc, shuts down the pre-frontal cortex, otherwise the pre-frontal cortex would go crazy from all the anxiety from this behavior that’s wrong. It takes over and runs the brain and then there is a loss of the free agency because it demands a repetition of the experience over and over again. It meets the criteria of an addiction because (1) they can’t do without it (2) it requires a repetition of the experience and (3) the person loses will of sealed activity of the behavior.” Augie, a 17 year old who was addicted to porn realized he was addicted when he couldn’t fall asleep without watching porn. “I just watched porn every night and that would make me fall asleep. I didn’t even like it anymore”*

Donny Pauling (see his video below), an ex porn producer who produced porn for 9 years, saw the extreme negative effect porn has on everyone involved. “We would recruit new models all the time. And these people would come in and they would be college students or something but over the course of time you could just see them change – you could see the life getting sucked out of their eyes. You can’t escape the fact that lives were being changed for the worse. I was hurting them, the lives of their families and the lives of my own family.”**

Not only is pornography harmful to individuals involved, it has become a leading cause of human trafficking, in particular domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) in America. There are two reasons for this:

  • Children and adults who are trafficked are forced to participate in pornographic films. They are threatened with violence if they do not participate and rarely get paid to take part in pornography. Many girls are also forced to watch pornographic films and are likely to be exposed to pornography while they are being trafficked.
  • Children are being filmed in pornographic movies more often, thus more viewers are being exposed to child pornography. This creates a higher demand for it to be produced, and it also creates an insensitivity to the fact that young children and young adults are being forced to perform sexual acts. Without a sensitivity to what is happening, adults become indifferent and accustomed to seeing this, and even seek out opportunities to act on this. Instead of becoming outraged by what they’ve seen, they take part in buying girls in trafficking rings

The men who are trafficking these young victims are responsible for forcing them to participate in pornographic films. It’s not just these men who are forcing them to participate; the millions of teens, young adults, single men and women, husbands and wives who view pornography, specifically child pornography, are creating the demand for more younger and younger children to be part of the porn industry. Because their buying and viewing habits have created an increasing demand, traffickers are quick to respond to this; there is now a vicious cycle of demand for child sex trafficking in our country, largely influenced by the prevalence of child pornography.

Where is the demand coming from? A study done by the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation shows that the majority of johns (men who buy girls) are college educated, have wives or girlfriends, and earn more than $40,000 a year. The founder of Living Water for Girls in Atlanta, GA, a recovery home for victims of child sex trafficking in America, known as Miss Lisa said “The people who are raping our daughters for profit are the people sitting next to us in our cubicles, the people sitting new to us in pews. We have to start looking at who is demanding these girls.”**** When we can understand who is demanding young people in pornography, we can gain a better understanding of how to combat the issue of child sex trafficking and it’s link to pornography.

Our society is becoming one in which viewing pornography is the norm among young teens and young adults. Pornography is creating a societal attitude towards sexuality and women that is negative – and the effects will be long lasting. The young children and teens growing up with easy access to porn today, will continue to have access to it. Unless viewers are able to quit or find help for their porn addictions, we will be seeing increasing numbers of violence, aggressive acts, and children who are being sexually victimized. “A recent content analysis of the 50 best-selling adult videos revealed that across all scenes, a total of 3,376 verbal and/or physically aggressive acts were observed. On average, scenes had 11.52 acts of either verbal of physical aggression, ranging from none to 128. Forty-eight percent of the 304 scenes analyzed contained verbal aggression, while more than 88% showed physical aggression. Seventy-two percent of aggressive acts were perpetrated by men; 94% of aggressive acts were committed against women.” *****

There is plenty of evidence that pornography has long lasting, detrimental effects both physically and emotionally for everyone involved. It is our responsibility now to understand how dangerous pornography is and to create an open environment where people feel safe talking about their addictions. There are resources for everyone to gain a better understanding of the issue, and to get help if they are addicted. Start by informing yourselves and the young people around you of the dangers and harms of being a part of pornography. Not only is pornography harmful to the viewers and the people close to them, it is harmful to the women, men and children who are in the films.

Parents: check your children’s computer history if you suspect they might be viewing illegal pornography. Make it okay for them to come forward with the issue so that you can find the help and support they need. Pornography is harmful. It will cause damage – and we need to help put an end to the prevalence of pornography in our country, if not for ourselves and our families, for the thousands of victims of sexually victimized children.



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