Pornography at the Root of Human Trafficking

Laila Mickelwait, manager of policy and public affairs for Exodus Cry, an international anti-human trafficking organization, urged congressmen to focus their efforts against the scourge of human trafficking by reducing the demand for commercialized sex, including pornography. She said that while it is important to “rescue and rehabilitate” victims of human trafficking, “work of prevention is the most important thing we can do in the fight against the global injustice of sexual slavery.”

“We cannot turn a blind eye to what’s going on in the shadows and what is at the root cause of it,” Representative Randy Hultgren, R-IL. stressed. “Learning about what exacerbates the problem of human trafficking is a difficult topic, but we must address the evidence before us. If we could save one child, one woman, one life, then our efforts would be worth it.”

Sex trafficking occurs mostly in developing nations. Victims of sex trafficking are forced into the industry by a variety of means, including online recruitment, romantic interests or family members using their relationship to sell the victims and abduction. Mickelwait noted that one of the most effective means of combating human trafficking is to decrease the demand for the commodification of sex. Laws and policy must focus on combating the “root cause” of pornography, because of its role in creating a demand for sex.

This demand is further commodified in society through advertisements and popular culture. “Pornography is ubiquitous and self-perpetuating,” Mickelwait offered, and results in a system that is “both creating and supplying demand for commercial sex and thus sex trafficking” through its addictive effects on the brain. In addition, the growing medium of child pornography is always a form of sexual trafficking.

Mickelwait also rejected the protection of pornography as a form of free speech, saying the medium is “increasing demand for commercial sex, trafficking through production and distribution and perpetuating a culture of complicity in commodifying women and children’s bodies.”

Learn more at Adelaide Mena’s National Catholic Register article: Pornography Seen as a Root of Human Trafficking.

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