Trafficking, Prostitution: America Hijacked by Porn?

WASHINGTON – Porn is just prostitution with a camera — that was the message at a Capitol Hill briefing Tuesday on the ties between sex trafficking, prostitution, and pornography.

Experts at the symposium, titled „Pornography: a Public Health Crisis,” revealed an America where the vast majority of men consume porn, making for an ever more violent culture connected to prostitution and sex trafficking.
Experts like Dr. Gail Dines, author of the book Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, discussed what top, well-respected researchers are finding.

„When they studied 50 of the top-selling, top-watched scenes in porn, 90 percent had some form of sexual, physical, or emotional violence against women,” Dines told a huge crowd gathered for the symposium.

„This is the peer-reviewed literature. Those who argue that pornography is not violent are basically lying, or what they say is not based on peer-reviewed literature,” she said.

Several speakers compared the blasé attitude toward porn today to the blasé attitude toward smoking before its many dangers were known and well-publicized.

They said just as cigarettes are poison for the lungs, researchers are finding pornography is poison for the eyes, the development of the brain, and the sexual conscience.

Dr. Melissa Farley, executive director of the organization Prostitution Research & Education, flew in from San Francisco for a presentation titled „Pornography, Prostitution and Trafficking: Making the Connections.”

Farley told CBN News that porn users should realize these connections.

„Ninety percent of prostitution is online,” she said. „Traffickers advertise women for sale using pornography today. It’s a way to traffic women.”

Prostitution with a Camera

And Farley asked users to really consider what that naked woman they’re viewing is actually doing.

„She’s performing an act of prostitution for the camera,” Farley asserted. „The only difference between pornography and prostitution is that a camera’s in the room. As a survivor said, ‘Prostitution is legal if you’ve got a camera.'”

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) hosted the symposium.

„All these forms of sexual exploitation are not happening in a vacuum but really are connected, and pornography is one of the root causes of this,” NCSE Executive Director Dawn Hawkins told attendees.

Today some porn users are finding to their surprise the material is hurting them, too.

Cornelia Anderson, founder of Sensibilities Prevention Services, fights adult and child sexual harm. She told CBN News many adults confess to her that porn is ruining their real-life intimate relations.

She reported they’ll say things about porn like, „I’m looking at that and I’m getting aroused by that and I suddenly find I can’t be aroused by the real thing, by the real person.”

More Fizzle than Sizzle

Anderson said porn promises sexual sizzle, but for many disappointed couples, it’s leading to more fizzle than sizzle.

„This is supposed to be a sex enhancer, but instead it’s harmful. It’s the same lies the tobacco industry used,” Anderson contended. „That this would help you with your anxiety, make you look sexy.”

„Now we’re still hearing that,” she continued, „that to be hip, if you want to show you’re hip sexually and cool and show you’re tolerant and ‘with it,’ then you’re supposed to be okay with your partner using porn or using it yourself. That’s the message people of all ages are getting.”

„Then they’re finding out that it’s deadening their arousal,” she said. „It’s hampering their ability to be intimate with the person they love and care about. It’s affecting their sexual functioning.”

Anderson and her colleagues are waging a campaign to, as she put it, „recognize that this is an issue that affects the health and well-being of all of us.”

Dr. Sharon Cooper treats sexually exploited children. She said the average age children are first exposed to adult pornography and perversions is 11 or 12 now.

She said many are having hardwired into their young brains scenes of „unprotected sex, sex with anybody, multiple partner sex.”

„Not only do they not know how to process that very well, but they begin to believe that this is how they’re supposed to behave when they go on their first dates,” Cooper said.

Porn + Internet = Addictive Danger

Cooper, who is a pediatrician, pointed out the Internet plus pornography is an especially dangerous, addictive combination for children viewing it.

„We as pediatricians have a huge concern that this is becoming their sexual education,” she said. „But because it’s on the Internet, which in and of itself has a relative addictive nature, when you add that to the content of sexually abusive images, then we become very, very concerned for youth.”

Dines presented some shocking statistics on just how ‘pornified’ the Internet is these days.

„Thirty six percent of the Internet is porn,” she said. „The online porn industry makes over $300,000 a second. One in four search queries is about porn. Porn sites get more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined.”

Anderson is frightened for the young generations being shaped by porn that’s so easily accessible on the Internet and that is so violent in nature.

„The content is so much more violent; it’s much more about violence than sex,” Anderson explained. „So you’re seeing a very different content at a much younger age when our brains are still under development.”

„Then add multi-stimulation of the Internet, the access, so the message is, ‘This is what everybody’s doing. This is just normal sex. This is what I’m supposed to be aroused by.’ All of that is problematic when you’re shaping arousal to the kinds of degradation that are depicted in today’s pornography,” she warned.

Equally Toxic

As for those women seen on-screen, many are hurt as badly by pornographers as they are by pimps and sex traffickers.

„The same things happen to women who are pornographized, trafficked, and prostituted,” Farley explained. „They’re recruited in many of the same ways. The same kind of violence and coercion channel them into the sex industry.”

Hawkins summed up various ways pornography is becoming a societal plague.

„It is affecting the developing brains of children and their sexual templates,” she told the symposium audience.

„We’re seeing increased sexual dysfunction among young men these days,” she noted. „We’re seeing increased demand for prostituted and trafficked women and children and increased child sexual abuse.”

She concluded, „Our courts and our jails are overwhelmed with predators right now and we would argue that pornography has played a role in that.”

In fact, featured speaker Dr. Mary Anne Layden, who has treated and studied thousands of sexual predators across the decades, often points out she’s never come across a sexual predator who wasn’t also an avid consumer of pornography.

Hard to Find a Porn-Free Male

How widespread is the porn plague? Dines summed up her talk saying, „It’s virtually impossible now in the United States of America to find males who do not use pornography.”

Farley said those users need to realize their pleasure comes at the price of a whole lot of pain for the women and children seen in porn.

„If you understand what sexual abuse is, what humiliation is, what rape and intimate partner violence are, then imagine if people get paid and are generating profits from those activities. That’s what the sex industry is,” Farley explained.

„Just because there’s money thrown at acts of violence and coercion and sexual assault of children, it doesn’t mean it’s any different,” she said.

Article by Paul Strand