The Relationship Between Porn and Human Trafficking

January 31, 2022 End Slavery Now Spotlight 
Sex Trafficking, Awareness, Aftercare, Women & Girls

Some people may believe that the porn they watch online is two consenting adults performing consensual sexual activities–but that’s less true than most people believe. The porn industry and the sex trafficking industry are very intertwined. It is not a porn industry standard that all pornographic material is completely consensual or even that everyone is of legal age. 

it is not a porn industry standard that all pornographic material is completely consensual or even that everyone is of legal age. on blue background. Bottom of image: End Slavery Now logo

We know that human trafficking is defined as “force, fraud, or coercion” so when someone is tricked or manipulated into the production of porn, that legally defined as sex trafficking. For example, if a porn performer shows up to set only to discover the scene is more aggressive or degrading than they’d been told, but they are told by the director or their agent they have to go through with it or else they will be blacklisted–that’s force–that legally qualifies as sex trafficking. 

Porn directly fuels the demand for sexual exploitation and it can sometimes be recorded evidence of sex trafficking. There have been countless survivors sharing their experience that the “porn” created of them was actually just recorded rape. From there, this pornographic material can be used to shame or blackmail them. 

Not every pornographic video is non consensual or involves exploitation but the reality is, there is virtually no way for the average consumer to know which is which.

A New York Times Article depicted the horrors of a girl having to relive her sex trafficking experience on PornHub over and over–at age of 15 years old. PornHub was profiting off the advertisements playing before the rape of a child, and this wasn’t the only case of “verified” users posting nonconsensual videos or content with underage children.

In December 2020, Visa and Mastercard stopped processing transactions from PornHubs parent company. Since the NYT article was released, PornHub has deleted millions of videos and has said to have increased requirements for uploading videos from content creators. 

Not only can porn be very damaging to survivors of sex trafficking, but it can also be harmful to the people consuming porn, especially children. 

In America, it’s no surprise to hear “sex sells” and kids today are being constantly barraged with sexually charged messages–in music, in advertisements, and even in their movies. This sexually charged society is posed against the ignorance of proper sex education which can leave children with gaps in their knowledge about healthy boundaries, sexuality, and consent. To fill these gaps, kids turn to porn. How are kids supposed to figure out what is healthy and what is normal sexual behavior?

A study analyzing videos from Pornhub and Xvideos found that 97 percent of the targets of violence and/or aggression were women [1].  It can also distort relationships with others and normalizes unhealthy and dangerous behaviors. 

Regular consumption of porn combined with the lack of education surrounding consent and healthy sexual behaviors, porn can also become a tool to groom perpetrators of sexual violence. It can normalize unhealthy behaviors like rape and violence that may eventually lead to them playing out their fantasies in real life. 

More information and resources available at FightTheNewDrug.org

Source Information

[1] (Archives of Sexual Behavior, A Descriptive Analysis of the Types, Targets, and Relative Frequency of Aggression in Mainstream Pornography July 13, 2020)  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32661813/ 

Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, Pub. L. No. 106–386, Section 102(a), 114 Stat. 1464. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/BILLS-106hr3244enr/pdf/BILLS-106hr3244enr.pdf 

NYT article https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/04/opinion/sunday/pornhub-rape-trafficking.html 

Visa and Mastercard article https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/14/business/mastercard-visa-discover-pornhub/index.html 

FightTheNewDrug.org


Topics: Sex Trafficking, Awareness, Aftercare, Women & Girls

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