“Women need to respect themselves” I hear that quite often as it pertains to the porn industry.
Before going further, it’s important to note, I think pornography is wrong for multiple reasons. It ranges from children losing their innocence, marriages being divided, and the destruction of God’s divine plan for the family. But by not looking deeper into the women trapped in the pornographic lifestyle, we are doing them an injustice.
When looking at the sex industry, some quickly cast judgment on those working in front of the camera. They disparage them by using degrading names and box them up to be promiscuous creatures when in reality, they have been created in the Imago Dei too.
America thrives on sex. According to the United States Institute against Human Trafficking (USIAHT), out of the 4.8 million victims of sex trafficking, “the United States leads all other nations in driving the demand.” This further shows the world that Americans are addicted to pornography.
Our hypersexualized society skyrockets the demand for porn. But with this fact, comes the crushing reality that every human trafficker from Tupelo to Timbuktu revels in the fact that sex sells. And so do little girls' bodies.
It is reported that 99% of trafficked individuals are women, with 21% being children. To date, the estimated income of the porn and sex trafficking industry is $3 billion a year. The third-largest criminal enterprise behind weapons and drugs.
As long as this epidemic grows, America’s women, boys, and girls aren’t safe. Some think, “It’s their choice” or “they don’t respect themselves.” In reality, for most, they’re trapped.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act defines sex trafficking as, “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for a commercial sex act.”
Pornography is a commercial sex act. When traffickers, club managers, and buyers manipulate and recruit women to film pornography, they’re breaking the protection act and hurting women worldwide. Doesn’t sound too much like a “victimless crime,” does it?
A few weeks back, I heard the story of a trafficked woman. She was working at a strip club in Memphis, TN. After refusing to service an abusive man, the club manager forced the woman to draw a slip of paper out of the “punishment” bowl. He read the slip of paper and then proceeded to take a nail gun and shoot nails through her hands.
Who’s to blame? The stripper or the manager? She was working as a stripper. But she refused to comply with the sexual nature of the request. Her freedom was stolen from her, and she was forced to either agree or be tortured. This is the cold hard truth for the majority of women on or off-camera.
A former porn actress testified to CBN saying, “Women are lured in, coerced and forced to do the sex acts they never agreed to do. They are given drugs and alcohol to help get them through the hardcore scene. The porn industry is modern-day slavery.”
There is, of course, an argument. Some women do go willingly. They find themselves lured in with the promise of big bucks and promising careers. However, these women face manipulation, no financial gain, and even rape.
Porn producers shift their gaze to the financially vulnerable and further exploit them. Former actress Teresa says, “It’s so expensive. Rent, nails, makeup, flights and 10% for my manager. I only made $25,000 in four months. After I got out, I had $2,000 in my bank account.”
That being said, many women also face fear and anxiety in the industry. Producers say one thing, then use force or manipulation to coerce them to do something different. At this point, women aren’t given the option to say no and are subjected to rape or violence that is displayed for the world to see.
A study done by Fight the New Drug found, “Of the 304 scenes examined, 88% contained physical violence and 49% contained verbal aggression. Ninety-five percent of the victims responded neutrally or with pleasure, and 94% of the victims were women. The message that comes from porn is that women enjoy getting beat up and forced into sexual acts. Many studies have shown that both non-violent and violent porn make users more likely to support violence against women and to believe that women enjoy being raped, and those beliefs have been found across several research studies to be predictive of a person being sexually aggressive in real life.”
Pornography is undermining our society and hurting women and children. It steals their innocence and destroys the identity of the women. In a lost and dying world, it’s important to remember that their worth matters too.
Tyciala Brown, an advocate and trafficking survivor says, “It’s hard to label someone who can’t even label themselves.”
Jesus identifies them as His creation and His children. He sees these women, children, boys, and girls as valuable and significant. If His people don’t stop and realize the worth of the oppressed, who will? It’s time to refuse judgment and introduce them to the King. In Him, the old is gone. So is their past. Will we let them accept Him or are they too dirty?
Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her (John 8:7).
This article originally appeared on the Stand.