Ending the Exploitation of Commercial Sex
There is a worldwide epidemic today that is becoming more recognizable because of the increased demand for services.
It is commercial sex.
This booming industry generates billions of dollars each year, and the ceiling of profitability seems unending.
Unfortunately, this demand for services, whether it is pornography or prostitution, has created a supply shortage of commercial sex workers.
The supply solution has come at a dehumanizing cost: Sex Trafficking.
The Scope Of The Problem
It is impossible to know just how many people are being trafficked for commercial sex around the world because of its secretive nature.
UNICEF (United Nations International Children Emergency Fund) reports that approximately 2 million children are exploited for commercial sex each year.
The International Labor Organization reports that approximately 3.8 million adults (mainly women) and 1 million children were used for commercial sex in 2016.
Many of these “sex slaves” are from Third World countries, but the Foster Care environment, drug culture, and homeless population also provides ample opportunity for exploitation.
Certainly we need better laws and penalties to protect the innocent, but the reality is that if there were no demand, there would be no need for a supply.
We desperately need a strategy to deal with the rising rate of sexual addiction, which drives the demand for commercial sex, and thus, sex trafficking to higher levels.
Many states, counties, and cities incorporate some kind of a “John’s” school for sex buyers, but just how effective is a program going to be if it is just primarily focusing on awareness and fear as the deterrent?
If we want to lower the demand for commercial sex, thus, reducing the of human exploitation, then we must offer a comprehensive program and process to help the consumers out of their sexual addiction and mindsets supporting exploitation.
The sooner we can help people in the early stages of sexual addiction, the more success we will have at curbing the demand in years to come.
Pornography Perpetuates Sex Trafficking
There is a definite correlation between the use of pornography and the solicitation of commercial sex.
Certainly, opportunity and means play a role in the ability for a porn consumer to act out with a prostitute, but like a drug addict, the sex addict will eventually find the financial means and opportunity to act out in increasing detrimental and deviant ways.
Dr. Victor Cline, a research and clinical psychologist, specializing in the role of pornography in the development and intensity of sexual addiction, states that, “Porn is the gateway drug to sex addiction”.
The organization, Fight The New Drug (FTND), has concluded through several studies that, “men who go to prostitutes are twice as likely to have watched a porn film in the last year compared to the general population.”
Dr. Patrick Carnes, in his book, “Don’t Call It Love: Recovery From Sexual Addictions”, shares the findings of a study he conducted of 932 sex addicts, finding that 90% of the men and 77% of the women indicated that pornography played a significant role in their addiction.
John-Henry Westen, in an article, “Want To Stop Sex Trafficking? Look To America’s Porn Addiction” (published on huffingtonpost.com), a connection is made between viewing porn and becoming a commercial sex consumer.
The article addresses the cultural roots of the sex trafficking trade, and the progression of beliefs and thinking within a culture that allows and promotes pornography in it’s various forms and intensity.
Westen shares excerpts from an interview he conducted with Dr. Gail Dines, a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College who also chairs its American Studies department.
In the interview, she states that,
We know that trafficking is increasing — which means demand is increasing. This means that men are increasingly willing to have sex with women who are being controlled and abused by pimps and traffickers. There are only two conclusions here: That men are naturally willing to do this to women — biology — or that they are being socialized by the culture to lose all empathy for women.
Dines goes on to say,
I refuse to accept that men are born rapists, porn users, or johns. As an academic, a sociologist, and mother, I believe it is the way men are shaped by society. The biggest sex educator of young men today is pornography, which is increasingly violent and dehumanizing, and it changes the way men view women.
It is so important that we do not forget the innocent victims of the commercial sex trade, but at the same time, let’s not forget about helping the “John” who has succumbed to the messages, images, and invitations into the world of sex addiction.
Ending Sex Trafficking will only happen to the degree that we lower the demand for commercial sex.
The more we are able to help people get free of sexual addiction, no matter what level of sexual behavior they have accessed, we will reduce their desire to use commercial sex as a substitute for healthy, authentic, connection and intimacy.
As we help people get free from sexual addiction, we will naturally free people exploited by the commercial sex trade.
The more we can help people live well in all spheres of their lives, the more we will create a world that is well enough without exploitation, because we value healthy connection, fulfilling intimacy, and satisfying sexuality within the context of relationship.
As we move towards sexual wellness individually and as a society, the wellbeing of all will be enhanced and protected.
Live free and live well.