In the first two parts of this series, I discussed how 10 times more U.S. minors than foreigners are trafficked in the U.S. But are many of them trafficked into the legal porn industry?
A few years back, Dr. Mary Anne Layden, a sex abuse expert and psychotherapist at the University of Pennsylvania who has testified before the U.S. Senate on the dangers of online porn, addressed a forum on sex trafficking at Parliament House in Sydney.
In an article titled "Online porn addiction turns our kids into victims and predators," The Sydney Morning Herald reported Layden as saying to the forum that in her 20 years of experience treating sexual violence victims and perpetrators in the U.S., she "didn't have one case of sexual violence that didn't involve pornography."
Layden also explained that the "dramatic increase" in child sexual predators is a direct result of and proportionate to the increase of Internet pornography. The Internet is "piping (pornography) 24/7 into homes, in harder and more pathological forms in a venue children know better to use than adults."
Layden elaborated that increased online pornography helps to "normalize pathological behavior," raising the belief that "it is common, hurts no one, and is socially acceptable, the female body is for male entertainment, sex is not about intimacy and sex is the basis of self-esteem." And just as with other addictions, Layden claimed, the more one consumes pornography the more one's appetite for it grows.
The Herald summarized Layden's sentiments regarding the connection between porn and sex trafficking this way: "Increased use of pornography leads to increased demand for prostitution. When demand outstripped supply of local prostitutes, women and children were brought in from overseas, often against their will."
The irony for many among the socially conscious younger generations is that they are often passionate about fighting against sex trafficking but often overlook its connection to pornography's supply and demand -- something the majority of them feed in their digital world. According to a 2008 Brigham Young University study noted in World magazine, 87 percent of men in college and 31 percent of women in college watch porn.
World also cited Layden, who is also co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program and contends that porn's easy accessibility sets the foundation for its entitlement. She said: "I hear men say, 'Sex is a need. I have a right to it.'"
Despite its legal legs, the porn industry, in fact, aids and abets sex trafficking. Porn fuels trafficking and vice versa. As noted by She's Somebody's Daughter (http://www.somebodysdaughter.org):