Pornography: Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking

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Captive Daughters is the first anti-trafficking group established in California. Captive Daughters provides information via their website, participates in national and international forums and media outreach, promotes collaboration with sister organizations and encourages art, film and publishing communities to focus on sex-trafficking in their work. The International Human Rights Law Institute is dedicated to developing international human rights law and criminal justice through field work, research and documentation, publications, advocacy and legal assistance to governments and non-governmental organizations.

An estimated 2 million women and children are held in sexual servitude throughout the world, and between 800,000 and 900,000 are trafficked across international borders for the purpose of sexual exploitation each year. These women and children make up the “supply” side of sex trafficking. This supply has been created to meet a demand. Without this demand, there would be no need for trafficked women and children. The demand side of the trafficking equation includes those (mostly men) who buy sexual services and/or consumer goods (videos, Internet pornography, etc.) created from the sexual exploitation of trafficked persons. Little attention has been given to the demand created by those people and organizations that benefit from the commercial sexual enslavement of women and children. To combat sex trafficking, much more information is needed to understand the root causes and conditions that create a need for a supply of trafficked women and children. Without this information, those who are motivated to exploit and use trafficked victims will continue to remain a mystery. By understanding the dynamics of demand, we can develop the legal and political policies necessary to control and end this horrific practice. Excerpt from

Pornography: Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking consists of a collection of 20 academic essays written by prominent researchers and educators who are leaders in the field of violence against women prevention. The book is cutting edge in its scope because it examines how factors like pornography, prostitution, industry, economics, and cultural trends fuel the demand for a continuous supply of women and children to abuse. The connections illuminated between sexual trafficking, sexual slavery, prostitution, and pornography are chilling. If any person out there still holds fast to fallacies like prostitution is a victimless crime and that the bodies used to make pornography are always consenting and in no way harmed this book should be required reading. In its full circle exploration of violence against women, Pornography: Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking goes well beyond the obvious harm to the “supply” side of this equation (the women and children being consumed) and exposes harm to those on the “demand” side (the mostly male consumers). Analyses of how pornography and prostitution harms the mostly male consumers is a critical component of this issue that needs to be brought out more and could help to bring more male allies to the violence against women prevention movement.

Consider how consumption of Internet pornography can cultivate in males a desire for increasingly younger women and girls fueling the demand for the production of child pornography. The lucrative demand for child pornography fuels the demand for trafficking of children for sexual slavery. Now consider the U. S. cultural trends that are sexualizing ever younger females. Consider the profits being made by corporate media on this trend of sexualizing young girls and women. This book exposes the big business of pornography. In Chapter 5, Gail Dines, Professor at Wheelock College in Boston details how pornography is no longer a marginalized business and in fact makes up a good percentage of profits for well known corporations like inDemand, HBO, DirecTV and Comcast. These companies have a vested interest in legitimizing and mainstreaming pornography. She makes a very convincing case for Rupert Murdoch, the owner of News Corp. being the “supreme pimp of the world”. Pornography: Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking draws it all together exposing the connections, the profiteers, and turns on a bright light that its business as usual for patriarchy worldwide.

Pornography: Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking, ( International Human Rights Law Institute DePaul University College of Law and Captive Daughters Media, 2007).

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