The Truth About Porn’s Role in Sex Trafficking

by | Apr 21, 2020 | Pornography, Uncategorized | 43 comments

Stats on the Role of Porn on Sex Trafficking

How is porn related to sex trafficking?

We’ve been talking in the month of April in our Monday series on porn and how to recover from it. We started by talking about the effects of porn; we looked at 4 things you had to do if you spouse used porn, and then yesterday we turned to the 4 stages of recovery in porn use. (Plus we’ve had a lot of extra posts about porn!).

I’ve been trying to show that porn harms your brain, your sex life, your sex drive, your sexual response, your libido, and so much more, plus it does tremendous emotional damage to the spouse of the porn user.

But one of the things I’ve also said repeatedly, both in posts and in the comments, is that even if you don’t believe any of that, porn is wrong because real people are being hurt. Porn is heavily implicated in sex trafficking.

I asked Connor to do some research into this, and write a post for me on porn’s effects on the human trafficking industry, and here we go!

Trigger Warning

This post will be discussing porn and its relationship to sexual trafficking. It will involve acknowledgements of sexual violence, manipulation, underage exploitation, and rape. If you have experienced a related trauma in the past, or are otherwise concerned about about how you might react to a discussion of these topics, this post may not be for you. I will not be going into graphic detail, nor will I be including testimonies from porn actors and actresses who were trafficked. There are other sites dedicated to fighting porn, such as Fight the New Drug that include such stories for those who are interested in hearing their perspective, but be warned, it can be pretty upsetting. Finally, there will be no sudden twists in the post. As long as you read the headings, you will know what is coming up, and can decide whether to read on from there.

This is not going to be a fun post

It will be informative. It will hopefully be helpful. But it will not be fun.

I am a cheerful, easygoing kind of guy, who likes to find light and humour even in dark situations. Things don’t bother me. Things don’t get to me. But researching this and writing about it leaves me feeling just… heavy. I struggled for a whole day with how to convey the information while still keeping things relatively light, only to conclude that I can’t. With everything I have learned about the realm of sex trafficking, I am personally convinced that it is the single most vile and depraved thing the world has to offer. This is a heavy topic, but that is all the more reason that we SHOULD be talking about it.

I am not here to heap guilt on the shoulders of those who already feel convicted about their porn use, but to start a conversation. If you have been struggling with the temptation of porn, this might motivate you to work on improving, or to just drop it altogether. If you know someone else who is struggling, or who simply doesn’t see the harm in watching porn, encourage them to read this post.

With all of that preamble out of the way, let’s get right into it.

Truth about Porn's Role in Sex Trafficking

Pornography is not just an individual problem

Last week, I wrote about how the consequences of porn use are serious, but not cataclysmic or irreparable for porn users themselves. But you are not the only one affected by the images you look at. The porn industry and the sex trafficking industry have a troubling and symbiotic nature, such that you can’t feed into one without feeding into the other. To boil the relationship down into three key points:

  • Porn increases the demand for sex trafficking,
  • porn uses sex trafficking, and
  • porn determines what happens to the victims of sex trafficking.

What is Sex Trafficking?

The accepted definition of sex trafficking as laid out in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) defines sex trafficking as when: “a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age. [1] A commercial sex act is “any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person. [1]

Sex trafficking, then, doesn’t just apply to the typical mental image of starving women chained up in a shipping container or drug den. People who drive themselves home from a porn shoot with a paycheck in hand are also victims of sex trafficking if at any time they were incited to do anything with which they were not comfortable.

Where is Sex Trafficking?

It’s everywhere. It’s a lot more common than we typically think, even in America, the Land of the Free. In fact, America is one of the larger hubs for sex trafficking [2] Despite being a hugely under reported crime, in 2018, the National Human Trafficking Hotline still identified 8,498 active cases of sex trafficking and 16,137 survivors [3]. And not just the “driving home with a paycheck” kind.

It’s not just people brought to America from other countries, either. In fact, the majority of victims of sex trafficking (especially minors) are U.S. Citizens [4]. This is a problem that is right on our doorstep.

Who is the typical victim of sex trafficking?

Kids right from our communities. I will talk more about some risk factors later, but in terms of demographics in the states it is mostly young American girls. In 2008, There were believed to be at least 100,000 victims of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) in America [2] and 4 in 5 victims are female [3]. That was over a decade ago, and sex trafficking is currently the fastest growing illegal industry. This next statement really turns my stomach though. The average age of people trafficked into prostitution are 11-14 years old, and most females are dead (killed) within 7 years. The leading cause is homicide, followed by AIDS [3, 4].

I repeat, children all over the country are being tricked, coerced, or abducted into prostitution, only to be murdered before they reach adulthood.

So trafficking is bad, and I feel sick. Let’s move on to the core of this post.

How is porn related to trafficking?

Earlier, I laid out three connections that I want to expand on. There are other connections to be made, like the fact that youth who come from homes where they or another household member uses porn are at greater risk being involved with trafficking as a victim or a perpetrator, but these three are major unavoidable factors.

1) Porn increases the demand for sex trafficking

Porn is an advertisement for sex trafficking, both figuratively and literally. The sexual acts depicted in porn and what people generally experience in real relationships are quite different. Porn depicts sexual encounters that are faster, longer, and often performed by surgically and digitally enhanced people.

In consensual porn, all participants seem to love everything that happens to them, even when it is painful, violent, or degrading in nature. In porn that is… less consensual (let’s call it what it is: rape porn or revenge porn), one or more people can generally get away with whatever sexual and aggressive acts they want, consequence-free. There is porn to satisfy every taste and every fetish.

Porn finds a lot of appeal to people in providing a sexual fantasy that they likely cannot satisfy in their real world relationships. Real people have likes and dislikes. Not everything feels good, and many would prefer most forms of pain stay far away from the bedroom and their sensitive parts. Good sex takes time and understanding and work.

But porn provides an alternate reality of sex that promises maximum selfish intensity with less need for effort or empathy. Over time, many porn users find themselves seeking novel kinds of porn, to keep the same level of excitement. Eventually, for some, just watching is not enough. They want to act out what they have seen in porn, or to indulge their niche tastes. That’s where prostitution comes in.

However violent or degrading a person’s sexual desires may be, there are ‘services’ out there that will sell them time with someone who is expected to provide the experience they want. All too often, what the prostitute feels comfortable with, and what the buyer (referred to as a john) expects do not align. And if the john feels he is being deprived of what he feels entitled to, things can turn violent or forceful. In many other situations, the prostitute never had a choice to begin with, being forcefully drugged and locked in a room by the pimp.

And how do people connect with these ‘services?’ It’s often through the porn sites themselves. Almost all of the ads on porn sites are either for more porn, or for paid sex services. And there is a reason for that:

Porn sites funnel traffic toward traffickers.

Now one could argue that as long as they aren’t buying sex themselves, they are not supporting trafficking when they watch porn, which is a great time to bring up my next point.

2) Porn uses sex trafficking

I don’t just mean the ad revenue that porn sites get from prostitution ads whenever you watch free or paid content. I mean trafficking runs rampant in porn itself.

A reminder: the legal definition of trafficking is inducing someone to perform a commercial sex act using force, fraud, or coercion. The best case scenario is that a porn actor or actress who is their own free person, and who only ever engages in sex acts they are comfortable performing. Is that totally free of coercion? When your boss asks you to do something, do you feel free to say “I don’t feel like it. Not today?” Or do you feel your boss may threaten to dock your pay or fire you? If your food and rent is dependent on getting your next pay check, how free do you feel to say no to the guy paying you?

But it’s not usually the best case scenario. When actors show up to a professional porn shoot, they are required to do consent interviews at the beginning to explain what they do and do not feel comfortable with, and exit interviews at the end to confirm whether everything that happened was consensual. But they don’t get paid until after the exit interview.

Here’s the thing. If a women says there was anything that she wasn’t okay with, the shoot is unusable, and she doesn’t get paid. What’s more, if she tries refusing an act or asking to stop during the shoot (for example because of pain or injury), she will often be threatened. Her agent may threaten to cancel her other bookings because it makes him look bad, and the production company may threaten not to hire her again, and to tell other companies to avoid her as well. porn stars have even been threatened with legal action for refusing to complete a shoot. Nobody in the porn industry wants to work with someone who ‘difficult’ and won’t do whatever they are told. So they lie. There is pretty much no way to know if someone in a porn video actually felt safe and consenting for the whole thing.

Furthermore, it is common for people in porn to be on various narcotic substances on and off the set to help them cope with pain and abuse they have to endure to get paid. The result can be a vicious cycle, because a trafficker can exploit a drug dependency for more control. If you don’t believe a drug addiction alone is enough to motivate unwilling people to disregard their sexual comfort zone, look at Joe Exotic from the Tiger King documentary, who got not one but TWO straight boys to marry him because he fuelled their meth addiction.

And this is not the worst of it. Porn is very frequently used by traffickers to break and control their victims. Videos will not just be used to desensitize them to the violence and humiliation their trafficker wants them to endure, but they will often be filmed in sex acts against their will and have the video uploaded to the internet to serve as blackmail. They are also forced into pornographic shoots, both legitimate and illegitimate, to produce videos that serve to advertise themselves to potential johns. Sometimes the actresses you see on screen from ‘reputable’ porn studios are going back to a locked room in a basement so they can be sold out to the new customers they brought in.

Find freedom from porn!

Your marriage, and your thought life, do not need to be held captive to pornography.

There is freedom. 

Beat porn–together!

3) Porn determines what happens to victims of sex trafficking

Finally, the point that gets to me the most. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t paying a cent to porn, if you only watch porn with 100% consensual enthusiastic adults, or if you only consume porn in animated or game form without any real people in it, and here is why.

Traffickers look to porn for inspiration. They look at what people are watching to see what they should offer to customers. They make their victims watch the videos, look at the pictures, or read the stories to instruct and educate them in how to do the things that will be demanded of them. Your browser history is their consumer research. And this happens very commonly with the kinds of traffickers who have children and teens hooked on drugs and locked away, because they have full control.

Even the most niche or extreme desires will have traffickers catering to them because there is a better chance of cornering the market. What’s more, animated and literary porn can cater to fantasies that push or exceed the limits of the human body, which leaves sex slaves as the primary way to live out those fantasies. And don’t forget, the average victim of sex trafficking is starts at 11-14. That means there will be some who are older, but there will also be a proportionate amount who are younger.

If you take nothing else away from this article, please remember this. Whatever sex act is depicted in the porn you consume, there will be a sex trafficker in your own country who is inspired to force a little girl or boy to perform it. There is a reason the average victim of sex trafficking doesn’t live to see their 18th birthday.

Can we please let the facts about human trafficking change how we think about porn?

I can not stress enough how hard it was to educate myself on this topic and to write this post. The rabbit hole goes so deep and there is so much pain. Especially as a father, I struggled to find the motivation to keep reading and keeping researching. As Rebecca can attest, this has just had me ruined for a few days while I wrote it, but I am glad I did. I think this is a conversation that should be happening a lot more because there are women and children (and men) who need light shed on their plight.

I hope this changes the way you think about the porn industry. If you are up for it, I encourage you to read some of the stories out there from people who have been rescued from the sex trafficking industry. Just before the sources, I will leave an infographic from the University of New England with some more stats.

And remember–if you are struggling with porn, you CAN beat this. Please check out Covenant Eyes–they have great filters and accountability tools, plus a ton of ebooks and online communities to help you in your journey. Plus you can protect  your kids as well. You get a month free when you sign up with Sheila’s link!

P.S. To leave you with one last thought, Fight the New Drug has a t shirt that says “Porn is to Trafficking as Cigarettes are to Cancer,” and while I don’t know that I would wear that out to the grocery store, I think it is a great analogy. Your second hand smoke can do nothing but harm to the ones around you, and though you won’t necessarily get cancer if you smoke, the more smoking people do, the more lung cancer there will be.

Human Sex Trafficking: An Online Epidemic #infographicYou can also find more infographics at Visualistan

Sources

  1. Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, Pub. L. No. 106–386, Section 102(a), 114 Stat. 1464.
  2.  Polaris Project. (n.d.) 2018 U.S. national human trafficking hotline statistics. https://polarisproject.org/2018-us-national-human-trafficking-hotline-statistics/
  3. Hornor, G. (2015). Domestic minor sex trafficking: What the PNP needs to know. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 29(1), 88-94.
  4. Kotrla, K. (2010). Domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States. Social work55(2), 181-187.

Has this changed how you see porn? What stood out to you the most? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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43 Comments

  1. Phil

    Connor – thanks for taking the time to research this. The pain you feel is similar to what the child feels who is being trafficked. This I know first hand. To all porn users: “Whatever sex act is depicted in the porn you consume, there will be a sex trafficker in your own country who is inspired to force a little girl or boy to perform it.“. Know that the young lady who may not appear to be a child or teen in the porn you are watching is still a child in pain who was given something they didnt want. This is the WHY when Sheila says give empathy when appropriate to the person (spouse) who is trying to recover from porn use or sexual infidelity issues etc. Most of us didnt sign up for the load of crap we got. Please know that I do not advocate for for those who have not or wont repent. Victims of users have pain too. This is a good summary of the other side. I was aware of some of the information but not to the depth it was explained. Good work Connor – love and peace to all effected on both sides of this fence.

    Reply
    • Connor Lindenbach

      Thank you Phil. I too only knew part of the story before I put in the time. But I have really had my eyes opened by how dark the world of trafficking is, and how closely it is linked to our everyday life by porn. My prayers go out to all the victims, and I pray that God will give us opportunities to do more about the situation.

      Reply
      • libl

        I have heard an argument that most porn is women who willingly sign up for it and not trafficked people. My friend’s daughter worked in a ministry that would rescue trafficked women and children. She reported that upwards of 80% of worldwide porn is trafficked, drugged, coerced. There may have been initial decision and consent, but victims are soon lost to it. Broken, brain-washed, drugged, financially dependent, enslaved, mentally stuck, physically restrained.
        Some men have turned to visual erotica, instead. That is, animated or computer generated pornography, because it doesn’t involve hurting actual humans, but it still does. Sin can have a far-reaching butterfly effect.

        Reply
  2. Sarah O

    Thank you Connor. This is very harrowing information, and I know it takes a toll – especially on a new parent. It becomes especially true, “There is no such thing as not my child.”
    I hope all of us readers will take a moment to pray, for you and all the investigators and law enforcement officials who deal with this kind of exploitation. It is a very heavy burden. Of course, please also pray for these victims, mostly little girls, and their families.
    I just want it to stop. I wish I could see a practical way that would happen. So much destruction and devastation and death…for what? What great gain is being reaped?
    These statistics make it really hard to know what kind of dating advice to give my daughter other than – absolutely don’t. Don’t date, don’t marry, adopt. There are absolutely good guys, but the bad ones are so bad and so many it’s not worth the risk. But Christ holds out hope for the one.
    Lord have mercy.

    Reply
    • Connor Lindenbach

      Thank you Sarah. I do think that this situation needs so much prayer and compassion. I hope at least that as more people spread the message, porn use will become less normative. but it will take a lot of work since the porn industry will not just give up its massive revenue.
      As far as our children go, there is a actually a lot of good research out there on risk factors and protective factors. I might write a post in the future about that, but in the mean time here are some quick tips that will make your kids an incredibly low risk:
      Educate your kids on healthy sexuality, consent, and their legal rights.
      Maintain a strong and open relationship with them, without denying them a sense of independence
      Take steps to keep porn use out of your household free of porn
      Don’t deal drugs out your home
      Don’t physically or sexually abuse your kids or spouse
      If your kids run away, find them ASAP!
      I hope this helps

      Reply
      • Sarah O

        Thanks Connor, that is helpful information. I hope I am doing all of those things. The info graphic portion on consumers chilled me. Two-thirds of 14% is 9% of US men.
        I have lots of questions and thoughts and concerns but I’m going to hold my tongue. I know you’re trying to keep it light and I don’t want to discourage those that are trying to get well.

        Reply
        • Connor Lindenbach

          What shocked me is how big a difference seems to be made just by teaching boys in sex ed to respect girls. To those of us who were raised on that message, I suppose we take it for granted. But this is also why I hold out hope that by sharing information and exposing trafficking to the light, things can get better.

          Reply
      • In recovery

        One very big problem now is that the porn industry is changing. Yes it’s still gross men who own big companies but something that is starting to happen and growing is that more private people are making their own porn.
        When one of the biggest pornsites cane out with their statistics about what people mostly searched for one thing got very obvious, more people are making porn at home. Many women start their private channels and promote it through social media.
        A reason I stopped using Instagram is because of the temptations there. A lot of women promote their videos there by posting semi nude and then have links to their channels. And don’t get me started with Snapchat and tiktok. Even YouTube. Some of these women make make up tutorials and haul videos and then you look up their name and there is a lot of porn there. Parents please be careful with how you let your kids use these apps.
        So the problem is that porn sadly is getting so normalized that it’s not just the big porn sites that earn money anymore. Private actors are engaging a lot more. And from what it looks like a lot of these women are going into it freely. Just the other week I read on a popular Facebook news site that a woman just earned one million from her porn channel where she does porn shows.
        And being a lot on social media sites I see so many that encourage this and so many women who say it’s empowering an that these women shouldn’t be slut shamed.
        And this sadly becomes an argument. That there is a lot of porn with a lot of women not being trafficked. I know we can’t know surely but believe me more and more women are doing these things. Some even explain why they aren’t involved with big porn companies and some of the reasons are the ones you bring up while they still do porn.
        So the normalizing of porn is sadly too big and it’s being praised by both men and women. Men are over represented in this but many women are not only victims they are promoting this too.
        And I get discouraged when I see that. I am doing what I can to leave this addiction and telling people what I have suffered and while many men and women agree I am seeing more and more that people are seeinf the pornified world as us being a progressed society. It’s sad

        Reply
        • Connor Lindenbach

          It is sad, I agree. The industry keeps evolving, and society keeps making excuses and justifications. People can argue that we are being progressive and that porn is getting more consensual, but trafficking is still the fastest growing arm of organized crime. What people don’t talk about is how many of these people doing private shows and ‘amateur porn’ are going to end up as trafficking victims. From everything we have seen in the research, simply having an attitude toward sex as being something that can be commodified drastically increases the likelihood of being a perpetrator or victim of trafficking. For every woman who happily makes a fortune selling sex, there are hundreds of underage sex slaves dying at the hands of their pimps and johns.
          That’s why I appreciate that there are people who are fighting to have society not just hear the story of the one who makes it big, but also of the many who don’t make it out alive.

          Reply
          • OKRickety

            “When your boss asks you to do something, do you feel free to say “I don’t feel like it. Not today?” Or do you feel your boss may threaten to dock your pay or fire you? If your food and rent is dependent on getting your next pay check, how free do you feel to say no to the guy paying you?”
            Using that logic, I’d say almost everyone with a boss is being “trafficked”. In other words, one of your biggest arguments is based on a rather nebulous definition. For example, she says “I did everything in that video without coercion”, and he (in this case, Connor) says “No, you were coerced”. You really can’t be certain she was coerced.
            This is a great example of the double standard about women’s behavior: If a woman says she was sexually assaulted, it must be true, but if she says her sexual activity was voluntary, it’s highly questionable (she was likely a victim in some fashion, so it’s not really her fault). God gave women free will. Quit excusing their sin by blaming others (almost always men).

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            So let’s take the typical woman who appears in porn. She grew up in an abusive home, where she was sexually abused repeatedly (most are). She had terrible relationships with her parent figures. She often was tossed around from house to house. She left home early, if she ever even had a home (most are from the foster system). She got into drugs to try to dull the pain from all the trauma she had.
            And people offer to pay her a lot of money to be in porn.
            Technically she’s “consenting”. But let picture every woman that you watch on porn as being 8-years-old and then being sexually assaulted in terrible ways. Every woman you watch in porn is that 8-year-old girl. And you are masturbating to her being used in terrible ways by men because she doesn’t think she’s worth anything else. And you are reinforcing that. You are telling her, “you’re right. You’re main worth is in letting others degrade you so that I can ejaculate in the privacy of my room.”
            And if you still feel that this is okay, then you’ve got a major problem.

          • Anonymous

            It’s wrong for the same reasons we don’t allow people to sell their organs – it’s unethical to give people a financial motive to do something that would cause them bodily harm.
            Connor is pointing out/demonstrating that there’s a power dynamic here, which is unethical in sexual interactions. He’s not saying that all power dynamics are unethical.
            And to your second assertion, if there is a possibility someone was coerced, wouldn’t it be better not to support that business? After all, we all know some beautiful, financially stable women of sound mind from healthy homes who chose a profession that will likely kill them in in seven years.
            The point is that data shows many to most are coerced, and users don’t know who is who when they are watching. Knowing that possibility and watching anyone should make your conscience twitch just a tad.
            Finally, I would love to know what neighborhood you live in where men get held accountable for women’s sexual decisions. It would be fascinating to compare and contrast with the rest of human history.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Also, we don’t allow people to pay for surrogacy. (You can pay for their medical expenses, but not for the surrogacy itself). Because we don’t allow people to sell their bodies. It’s automatically exploitative.

        • Matilda

          A good tip when confronted by any porn on Instagram is to immediately report it and block it. I have had 1 video and maybe 1 or 2 photos come up out of nowhere in my Instagram feed. I don’t look at, watch or search for porn, so I believe things like that get through to try and hook people in (just my opinion) but I’ve found if you report it immediately it doesn’t happen again. What I found most discouraging was that Instagram responded to my complaint with a message along the lines of ‘this doesn’t violate our community standards’ what! I was shocked, because the video that suddenly appeared out of nowhere in my feed was shocking. I have considered deleting my app out of revulsion (I am not tempted in any way by porn thank God, it turns me off completely) and I still might, but I do love photography and there are some beautiful accounts to follow, so I’m torn. I don’t come across anything pornographic because of the reasons above. I’ve also had 1 video come up in YouTube and some suspicious accounts appear after midnight on my Facebook. Each time I reported and blocked and have had no trouble since. I really believe these things are planted to get young people and men hooked, and if you engage, well, sadly they pounce and more will appear. (Can anyone confirm this) this is an evil battle where everyone, especially men have to be on guard.

          Reply
          • Active Mom

            Thank you for this information Matilda I didn’t know that if you reported it, it would make a difference. I will start doing that when things pop up on my or my kids apps or computers. We did report it to the school but we were told that they have employees who work full time trying to block all of the bad stuff from coming through and they still can’t get to everything.

      • Matilda

        Excellent article Connor. I’m glad you included the information about how ‘& why cartoon’ porn is also destructive, lots of good information.
        I’ve been thinking for awhile now that the only way to stop this industry is to bring the business model down, to take away the profits. Only governments can do this by making it illegal to profit off porn or any sex act. (I don’t know enough to know if this is already happening anywhere) I have been praying into this & I’ve actually been asking God to supernaturally expose & crush the business model of the porn industry. It shocks me that America is responsible for the majority of porn that exists. I also despair that because it is men that are mostly in charge in most governments around the world & men that get the most out of porn that stopping it will be impossible without miracles from God.

        Reply
  3. Meghan

    This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I’ve been a member of am anti-trafficking joint task force for many years now and volunteered with several local anti-trafficking organizations since moving here a decade ago. I’ve had to take a break from the volunteering since having my daughter – can’t really take a toddler into juvy to give a presentation on the various ways pimps trap their victims, after all.
    I’ve been out of the loop for a little while, so I won’t know the most recent stats, but I’d be happy to chat with anyone interested in learning more about this issue.
    Also Connor – you’ve been subjected to a fire hydrant of awful. Don’t lose hope. The problem is pervasive and deeply evil but there are lots of us out there on the front lines fighting the good fight. I doubt we will see the end of this evil before the Lord comes back and makes all the sad things come untrue, but I find hope and comfort in knowing He already has the victory. Like the children’s hymn goes – “This is my Father’s world/oh let me ne’er forget/that though the wrong seems oft so strong/God is the ruler yet.”

    Here are some resources for anyone interested:
    –Protecting your kids: https://www.traffick911.com/parents
    –Common misconceptions: https://polarisproject.org/myths-facts-and-statistics/
    –Recognizing the signs: https://rescueher.org/who-we-are/learn-more-about-human-trafficking/

    Reply
    • Connor Lindenbach

      Thank you for sharing these resources, Meghan. This is really helpful. I again encourage anyone who is emotionally equipped to learn more about it. We should take comfort in the fact that there are things we can do to recognize and prevent trafficking. Delving into this topic was certainly a process for me. At first it took a an emotional toll that was heavy, but manageable. Coming out the other side though, I found a strange comfort in that I truly believe the world can not hide any darker evils than this, and there are people devoting their lives to shedding God’s light on it. It leaves me feeling that there is nowhere on this Earth that is too dark for God to be at work. There are no dark secrets that we cannot face. Nothing is helpless.
      Thank you for all of your work on the front lines, Meghan. God be with you.

      Reply
  4. Bethany#2

    We are the salt of the earth, a city on a hill that cannot be hid.
    I think that comes from Matthew, and I think that’s our reminder. We are the good and the preserving, cleansing force on Earth. Ray van der lan gave an analogy about gates. I don’t remember much of it, but the jist of it was that, Christians attack the gates of hell! Not vice versa. The other side is black fertilizer dirt filthy. But we’re White as snow and protected by his blood.
    So don’t be discouraged, remember who you fight with!
    (I hope we leave smarter and yet hopeful and at peace.)

    Reply
  5. Teresa

    My husband uses porn and is proud of it. He tells me he has no intention of giving it up. He doesn’t care who is hurt or damaged as long as he gets his fix. Everything about this industry sickens me. And I hate being victimized by it. Those who use and those who abuse are all victims of Satan’s agenda to kill and destroy us. I’m so looking forward to death so my escape can be final. Sigh

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Teresa, I’m so sorry. That’s just awful.
      But, I’m also very concerned that at this point you see death as preferable to life. That means that this marriage has been killing your soul, and you cannot continue like that.
      Please seek out a licensed counselor who can help you through this and can help you sort through options. You do not need to tolerate porn. You do not need to feel victimized like this. Again, I’m so sorry, but please, if you’re ever feeling desperate, do call a suicide prevention hotline, too, or identify people now to talk to when or if that might happen.

      Reply
      • Madeline

        Teresa, I’m so sorry! That is truly horrible. I pray that you find healing and freedom. I know it’s so hard to see right now because you’re in an incredibly painful situation, but there are still people who care about you and you still have a purpose in this life. Please search out a licensed counselor! You don’t have to endure this alone!
        Again, I’m so very sorry. That’s so painful.

        Reply
    • Phil

      Awe Teresa thats awful. It saddens me to see this comment. Praying for you sister

      Reply
  6. Nathan

    Teresa, I’m so sorry that this is happening. Not just the porn but the fact that he has no intention of repenting and doesn’t care who gets hurt.
    Please don’t view death as an escape, though. God wants you to have a good and wonderful life. Find a counselor, seek help somewhere. You may need to reevaluate your situation, but please believe that you’re a beautiful daughter of God, and you don’t have to be a victim of this. You deserve better can you can find it.
    I am praying for you right now. We’re all on your side.

    Reply
  7. Teresa

    And let me add….
    I have little respect for the current President and his wife who’ve allowed themselves to be photographed in a “soft porn” photo that my husband keeps in the computer and on his phone. The sexual overtones are appalling and I believe they, too, by allowing this photo to be taken lend their support of this “sexual sells” industry. When my husband showed it to me, I wanted to vomit. I do not want images of my President “showing off” his trophy wife as if to say to all the men ogling her, “Now I’m the MAN! See what I’ve got?” And for the First Lady to allow it makes me want to scream. What has happened to decency and morals in our country, our world? Down the perverted pornographic DRAIN. So thank you Connor and Sheila for speaking out. I applaud you.

    Reply
    • Madeline

      I agree that our president (in the US) is…well, I don’t have anything good to say about him, let’s just leave it at that. I’m also pretty disturbed that I know/am related to people who don’t think he’s so abhorrent or even praise him and what he’s done.
      I do want to gently remark though, in response to your statement “And for the First Lady to allow it…” We don’t know to what extent she may be coerced or manipulated into it. Obviously I don’t know them personally so I can’t know for certain but my suspicion is that the relationship there is not a healthy one and I can’t imagine he respects his partners (considering he doesn’t seem to respect women at all).

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, Madeline, I’ve always been worried about that, too.

        Reply
      • Sarah O

        I don’t disagree, but there was no woman- respecting candidate last election cycle (Clinton/Trump), and looks like there won’t be in this cycle either (Trump/Biden). I find that very frustrating, especially because women somehow get blamed for “working against their own interest” no matter what they do.
        Trump is a product of American culture and that’s what needs to change.

        Reply
    • Matilda

      The good news is, Trump is changing. How he started in the White House won’t be how he finishes. Watch this space! Pray for Melania & Donald.

      Reply
  8. Nathan

    > > What has happened to decency and morals in our country, our world?
    Politics aside (which I get enough of on other chat boards), I don’t know if morality is declining or if the internet has just made things easier to showcase that were always there.
    Hopefully we can improve

    Reply
    • Madeline

      I agree with Nathan. I honestly don’t think people are any more immoral than they have always been. Our society has some very serious issues, of course, and I want to fight those tooth and nail. But I don’t think its worse than any other point in history, considering there have always been parts of the population that have exploited, degraded, and generally caused great harm on others. If anything, I’m actually hopeful that more people are becoming aware of the issues and seeing the injustice being done. In my secular college I had professors who spoke out against porn as a human rights issue and now more and more Christian sources, such as To Love, Honor, & Vacuum, are covering the evil of porn from all sides.

      Reply
  9. Madeline

    Thank you so much for this article, Connor. It must have been very heavy to research and write but I think it’s so important that everyone is made aware of the reality of human trafficking. That can’t happen until more and more posts like this are put out there. Thank you again. I really hope you get to spend lots of time this week loving on your family and playing with your dog!

    Reply
    • Learning a New

      Thank you Connor. I appreciate the insights you shared today.
      Sadly the age of trafficked people is getting younger. This week here in Australia four children aged 2 months to 11 years were rescued.

      Reply
  10. Rogue

    This is never an easy thing to go over. But knowing all this information was one of the deciding factors in my being more fully committed to stop watching/seeking out. With everyone stuck in quarantine with way too much time on their hands, there are some men who really need/needed to hear this. Had to muscle my way through reading through this, but I regularly need that conviction to remember the reasons why this is wrong, and why I don’t live that life anymore. Thanks for all the work you all do.

    Reply
    • Matilda

      Thanks for sharing Rogue. As a woman I do despair sometimes with thoughts that most men actually don’t care, and don’t feel any compassion at all for women, and probably secretly hate us all. Testimonies like yours show me those thoughts aren’t true and there is hope.

      Reply
    • Sarah O

      Great job Rogue! Stay strong. Thank you for having a heart for the victims.

      Reply
    • Ash

      Praying the Lord uses this article in a mighty way!

      Reply
  11. EOF

    I’m glad to see the topic getting more attention. I was listening to an interview with Jaco Booyens recently, where he shared that the new focus is getting kids from two-parent homes into the industry. The predators even get parents to involve their kids in this.
    Unfortunately, I know this to be true as I recently found out a relative I grew up with is now in prison for doing this very thing to his daughter. Not surprisingly, we grew up in an environment where at family gatherings, porn was laughed about and magazines passed around among the adults. And based on the way my cousins ended up treating me, I’m sure they must have saw what was in those pages too.

    Reply
  12. Jack

    Wow. Absolutely wow – and so distressing. I never realised or imagined that this was the real situation. I am so sorry for all involved. Where, oh where, is love in these people’s lives? The trafficked and abused, their parents, friends, and hope; the viewers who didn’t know this was the case, and those who thrive on seeing others suffer. In addition, there are the sub-humans that make this possible for people to abuse people. Thank you so much for writing this – I feel sick! I hope I can do more to enable others to also feel sick. And I continue to pray that all people can try to love each other, as God loves us. Shalom.

    Reply
  13. Brian

    Are there some anti-trafficking organizations out there that are recommended for donations?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s a great question! I”ll try to put a post together for Christmas on that so that we can have a place to put our Christmas and end-of-year donations.

      Reply

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