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The Demand Side of Trafficking

The Pornography-Trafficking Link

While a variety of factors contribute to the demand-side of sex-trafficking, an important factor that does not receive sufficient attention is pornography's impact on the sex-trafficking industry.

1) Incidental connections: watching pornography has been documented to decrease compassion towards survivors of sexual violence and exploitation.

Zillmann And Bryant, “Effects Of Massive Exposure To Pornography” In Pornography And Sexual Aggression, Eds. Neil M. Malamuth And Edward Donerstein (New York: Academic Press, 1984 And J. V. P. Check And T. H. Guloien, “The Effects Of Repeated Exposure To Sexually Violent Pornography, Nonviolent Dehumanizing Pornography, And Erotica,” In Pornography: Recent Research, Interpretations, And Policy Considerations, Eds. D. Zillmann And J. Bryant (Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum, 1989)


2) “Supply-and-demand” connections: a meta-analysis of 46 studies reported that the effects of exposure to pornographic material are “clear and consistent,” and that watching pornography use puts its viewers at a higher risk of accepting rape myths and committing sexual offenses.

Elizabeth Paolucci-Oddone, Mark Genuis, and Claudio Violato, “A Meta-Analysis of the Published Research on the Effects of Pornography,” The Changing Family and Child Development, ed. Claudio Violato, Elizabeth Paolucci, and Mark Genuis (Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing, 2000), 48–59.

3) “Training manual” connection: pornography directly informs what goes on in trafficking, as traffickers and sex buyers make their victims watch it and demand they perform what porn has taught them to expect.

 Dr. Karen Countryman-Roswurm, LMSW, Ph.D. Interview || Truth About Porn [Video File]. (2016, December 28). Retrieved From Https://Vimeo.Com/190317258


4) Risk factor connection: along with poverty and substance abuse, a child growing up in a home where pornography is regularly consumed is far more likely to be trafficked at some point in his or her life. 

Countryman-Roswurm, Karen (2017). Primed For Perpetration: Porn And The Perpetuation Of Sex Trafficking. Guest Blog For FTND, Retrieved From Https://Fightthenewdrug.Org/Fighting-Sex-Trafficking-Absolutely-Includes-Fighting-Pornography/


5) Pornography is often a form of sex-trafficking: nearly half of sex trafficking victims report that pornography was made of them while they were in bondage. Victims will not announce they are being trafficked in front of the camera, and so images and videos of their abuse make their way into mainstream porn sites, where they are indistinguishable.

 Thorn, “A Report On The Use Of Technology To Recruit, Groom, And Sell Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Victim (2015). Retrieved From Https://Www.Wearethorn.Org/Wp-Content/Uploads/2015/02/Survivor_Survey_r5.Pdf

Quick Facts 

“Pornography may meet the legal definition of trafficking to the extent that the pornographer recruits, entices, or obtains the people depicted in pornography for the purpose of photographing commercial sex acts.” 

Melissa Farley, Jacqueline M. Golding, Emily Schuckman Matthews, Neil Malamuth, and Laura Jarrett, “Comparing Sex Buyers with Men Who Do Not Buy Sex: New Data on Prostitution and Trafficking.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, (2015).

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