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Porn & the Demand for Sex Trafficking (10 Eye-Opening Stats)

Last Updated: May 27, 2014

Luke Gilkerson
Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

“The johns watch porn, seeing violent and aberrant behaviors on film, then they crave the realization of what they have seen. Those obsessions drive them to the prostituted women and girls to get what they have seen depicted so graphically.” – Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D.

Activists who routinely speak out against sex trafficking are often hesitant to speak out against pornography. There are several reasons for this.

First, many don’t want to infringe on the freedom of expression and First Amendment rights. Sex trafficking is a crime, but pornography, they argue, is protected speech, so it is both fruitless and undesirable to speak against it.

The debate about whether porn should be protected speech is a worthwhile legal issue to explore, but even if one believes porn is legally protected, that does not mean porn should be culturally tolerated. Regardless of one’s ideas about the limits of legislation when it comes to porn, one can still work to make the messages of porn taboo in our culture and implore people to recognize it poisons themselves and their communities.

Porn and the Demand for Sex Trafficking

Second, many activists don’t want to be perceived as anti-sex in a pro-sex culture. Sex trafficking is wrong because the women and children are victims of force, fraud, or coercion, but porn, they argue, is just consenting adults watching consenting adults have sex.

Ignoring for a moment the fact that many porn performers are often victims of similar abuses, and ignoring the fact that many trafficking victims are forced to make porn themselves, even mainstream “legal” pornographic media is not merely the depiction of sex. “Pornography” comes from the Greek words porne, meaning “prostituted woman” or “prostitution,” and the word graphos, meaning “writings.” Under this definition, pornography is not the graphic portrayal of sex or sexuality broadly, but commercial sex specifically. To be against porn is not to be against sex, but to be against the commercialization and industrialization of sex.

As feminist scholar Gail Dines right says, “If people say to me, ‘You’re against pornography; are you against sex?’ That’s like saying to me, if I’m critical of McDonald’s, I’m against eating.”

10 Stats Suggesting a Link Between Porn and Sex Trafficking

  • Viewing pornographic material puts one at increased risk of developing sexually deviant tendencies (31% increase in risk), committing sexual offenses (22% increase in risk), and accepting rape myths (31% increase in risk). (The Changing Family and Child Development)
  • 86% of prostitutes say johns show them pornography in order to illustrate specific acts they want them to perform. (The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism)
  • 47% of prostitutes have been upset by johns’ attempts to make them do what the johns had previously seen in pornography. (Journal of Trauma Practice)
  • Compared to a control group, the more pornography one watches, the more likely one is to trivialize rape, cutting sentencing for rape crimes nearly in half. (Pornography and Sexual Aggression)
  • Average readers cannot tell the difference between the comments made about women from soft core men’s lifestyle magazines and quotes from convicted rapists. (British Journal of Psychology)
  • Between 1953 and 1984, there were more than 6,000 images of children in Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler magazines, and nearly 1,000 of these images showed sexual scenarios between adults and children. (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
  • Adult sex offenders show a high rate of using hard-core pornography: child molesters (67%), incest offenders (53%), rapists (83%) are significantly higher in use than non-offenders (29%). (Journal of Sex Research)
  • Men who go to prostitutes are twice as likely to have watched a pornographic movie over the last year (66%) than a national sample (33%). (U.S. Department of Justice)
  • Men who go to prostitutes frequently are more likely to have seen a pornographic movie (74%) than those who have gone to a prostitute only once (53%). (U.S. Department of Justice)
  • 25% of prostitutes mention pornography being intimately tied to a sexual assault they have experienced, with the abuser making reference to something he had seen as inspiration or insisting that the woman enjoy the assault (Sex Roles)

Get the Facts

Stop-the-Demand-Porn-and-Sex-Trafficking-232x300Download Stop the Demand: The Role of Porn in Sex Trafficking.

This book contains information about the medical affects of porn on the brain, the way pornography increases the risk of sexual deviancy and shapes our view of women, and the way pornography eroticizes youth and violence. The book is completely free.

Stop the Demand addresses the need to link the demand for sex trafficking to the messages and harms of pornography. As Laura Lederer, former Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons for the U.S. State Department, has said, “We will never have success in eradicating sex trafficking unless and until we tackle the cultural messages of pornography and related materials that are encouraging this exploitation and abuse.”

  • Comments on: Porn & the Demand for Sex Trafficking (10 Eye-Opening Stats)
    1. Mark on

      I’m from NY State. In NY’s Bill of Rights under the section for religious liberty we find find that religion can be censored. If the Legislation of this State can censor religion for acts of licentiousness than it is only sensible to believe and act upon that belief in censoring all other forms of Liberties when it comes to licentiousness so therefore the freedoms allotted to the press and all forms of communications sold and/or distributed publicly should be censored with the same form of scrutiny. My opinion is that according to the Constitution, pornography should not be legal in New York State. If other States have Legislators who will put morality in front of the dollar bill then we can put down the smut that does so easily beset us as a nation.

      Reply
    2. The on

      This is ridiculous. Its the same logic that people try to use to associate kids of commit real-life violence with kids who play violent video games. Or heavy metal music with violence. Its correlation versus causation. Here’s an example: Its nice outside on days when the students in my class wear shorts. Therefore, if I want it to be nice outside I should require all of my children to wear shorts.” The two are related, yes, but not in the way you’d like them to be. If pornography led to all of the woes listed in this article, the world would be much worse than it is. Pornography sites on the internet get more visitors than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined. If these statistics could be believed the whole country would be marrying, raping and hurting our prostitute siblings. Like the author, Luke, says “10 Stats SUGGESTING a Link Between Porn and Sex Trafficking”. What if I “suggested” that he was trying to make a point that isn’t there to make?

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        So, you’re saying that when I said “suggesting” that I meant what I said? Yes. That’s correct. These stats suggest a link.

        More to the heart of your comment: If you believe that porn is one the only factor that leads to sex trafficking, that would be ridiculous. There are many economic, familial, and cultural factors at play here…not to mention psychological factors within the viewers. But then, that’s not the point of the article here. The point here is to help those who are opposed to trafficking understand how pornography might play a role in the big picture.

    3. Sam on

      The point here is to help those who are opposed to trafficking understand how pornography might play a role in the big picture.

      That is like Dr. SnakeOil helping people who have cancer understand that sin might play a role in their disease. Religion is good at making people feel good, but substitution of religion for science is a bad idea.

      Reply
    4. Jane Doe on

      ‘Deseret News’:

      Prostitution and Pornography: Scholars and Anti-Porn Advocates Say They’re the ‘Same Thing’
      http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865582833/Prostitution-and-pornography-Scholars-and-anti-porn-advocates-say-theyre-the-same-thing.html

      Pornography and prostitution, as well as every other sex industry activity, share the same three factors:

      – a seller (pimp/producer/manager),
      – a person being sold (prostitute/porn actress/stripper) and
      – a buyer (“john”/porn viewer/club patron).

      And each of these ventures — regardless of differences in legal status, public acceptability, or even the lack of money changing hands — thrives on the degradation of women to the status of a mere object or fantasy.

      ‘The Huffington Post’:

      Porn Stars Without Makeup: Before and After Pictures by Melissa Murphy
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/11/porn-stars-without-makeup_n_2853817.html
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/03/porn-stars-without-make-up_n_3379731.html
      http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/05/porn-stars-without-make-up-before-after_n_3393980.html

      “Make-up can literally transform a face, create a persona. I’ve worked with actors, musicians and models that arrive on a shoot feeling insecure and as soon as their face is ‘on’ they turn into a different person. For some people it’s like a mask.”

      Reply

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