The Trap We Set


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A brief exploration of the link between sex trafficking and pornography.

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The Trap We Set

  1. 1. Rescuing Them From The Trap We SetLinking sex trafficking to pornographyCopyright © 2012 by Jonathan Schmidt, Jordan Weatherson, Heewoo Yang, Ben EmchAll rights reserved. “The Trap We Set” is the intellectual property of the authors. This work is made availablefor free and may not be used for the purpose of commercial gain. Anyone is free to copy or redistribute thiswork as long as no changes are made.Find us on with Snowfall Press
  2. 2. Contents What is Sex Trafficking? 9 Pornography and Sex Trafficking 14 The First Step to Fight Sex Trafficking 22 Discussion Questions 25
  3. 3. Foreword In recent years we have seen an increase in awareness of sex trafficking across the world. Many arepassionate about getting involved in this area of injustice. Advocacy is definitely needed to see this go away,yet sex trafficking has deep roots and appropriate advocacy must begin with those roots. What we have seenis that pornography is at the very roots of this issue, yet it is rarely brought into the discussion. This may be from the stigma in our society to talk about pornography; even though the majority ofus have viewed pornography we avoid talking about it. Pornography is something that people do without ask-ing questions in an attempt to justify their actions. What is needed however is for many to rise out againstthis issue, to fight the very drive that allows sex trafficking to exist. With this book we will show the obviousrelation between pornography and sex trafficking. Inversely we can see that only when a society is willing toend pornography will sex trafficking be truly abolished, and for many this is the first step they can and musttake. We have separated this book into three sections, the first defines sex trafficking, the second showsthe link between pornography and sex trafficking, and the third deals with how those who want to fight bothissues can start. We have focused our statistics in Europe but sex trafficking is a global problem linking econo-mies across the globe. We also would like to recognise that while the majority of offences relating to sex trafficking are per-formed by men, a third of pornography is viewed by women. As men we have focused our attention to whatwe see is the root of the issue, the actions of men in regard to women.
  4. 4. What is sex trafficking? Human trafficking is the second largest global organised crime today, generating approximately 31.6billion USD each year1. Specifically, trafficking for sexual exploitation generates 27.8 billion USD per year.90% of trafficked people end up in the sex industry, and only 1-2 percent of victims are rescued. 1 out of100’000 people in Europe who are involved in trafficking are ever arrested.2 The tragedy is that most peoplebelieve that the efforts of William Wilberforce in the 19th century removed this terrible injustice from ourworld. Since people cannot openly see it, they ignorantly conclude that it does not exist. Unfortunately, deny-ing the presence of evil has no affect on it. Rather evil is delighted to grow in the dark corners of our society.The first step in the prevention of evil is bringing it into the light, so it can be seen for what it is. Every year roughly 1 million people are trafficked. Of those trafficked 80% are women and 60% chil-dren, and are primarily from poor regions and developing nations.3 They are kidnapped, coerced, indebted,and sold into positions that destroy their bodies and earn an income for their masters. This is an evil economythat destroys the lives of millions of people, and it is increasing all over the world including in Europe4. Most ofthe women and girls trafficked into the sex industry for the developed world (EU and US) come from EasternEurope; therefore we will focus on these regions. Sex trafficking is modern day sexual slavery. This means that people are enslaved into different sex-ual practices, i.e. prostitution, through fraud, false promises, coercion and the use of force. This is a processsystematic rape and abuse on a scale unprecedented in world history. The vast majority of Victims in Europe1 UN.GIFT ‘Human Trafficking: the Facts’ < THE_FACTS_-_final.pdf>2 A 21 Campaign ‘The Problem’ <>3 Manna Freedom ‘what is human trafficking’ <> 9
  5. 5. are women from Eastern Europe, Southern Europe and the former Soviet bloc. Often victims are refugees, un-employed people, homeless individuals, tourists, kidnapped victims, drug addicts, teens who have run awayfrom home and immigrants who are denied asylum. There are no typical stories of trafficking; however some common themes generally include a poorlocal economy that leads to individuals clinging to any offer of a better life in a different country. This puts atrisk individuals into contact with traffickers who offer false promises and the hope of improving their life in aforeign country. However the traffickers have no intention of delivering on their promises, instead those whotrust them are then forced into sex slavery. This is why much of the women come from Eastern Europe; dueto communism and poverty the citizens of Eastern Europe hoped to live on the other side of the curtain inWestern Europe. This dream is still in many of their mind-sets even after the curtain came down. Thus East-ern Europe is an ideal region for traffickers. As women are moved from origin countries in Eastern Europe todestination countries in western Europe, they are “broken in” and raped an average of 10 times on their firstnight. This then is the first time that the traffickers earn money off their victims, and will continue until thevictims have paid off a debt supposedly incurred during the transportation to the destination country. Thesevictims can spend a range of time from years to decades in these situations and suffer from forced abortions,STD’s, and addictions. If a victim is lucky enough to escape or be freed from their enslavement, they are often returned totheir families with no aftercare put in place for them. In these situations the victims are in danger of beingresold by their families who may have sold them in the first place as well. The shame associated with prostitu-tion and rape in many traditional cultures leads to depression and suicide. In any case, without aftercare thevictims are left depressed, traumatised and unable to regain a place in their society. 10
  6. 6. So what do these routes actually look like? Some of the specific routes into Western Europe take women fromMoldova, Hungary, Ukraine and Romania and move them through the Balkans into Italy,5 and Turkey.6 Thereis also a northern route that moves women from Russia, Estonia and Latvia into Scandinavia and to WesternEurope via Poland7. Another entry point into Western Europe is across the strait of Gibraltar, which connectswith routes through North Africa often originating from Nigeria. One typical story tells of a victim who wasfrom Moldova and was entertained with the idea of waitressing in Italy. She was taken first to Romania thento Serbia where she was ‘broken in’ and then onto Albania and finally Italy where she was able to escape.These routes vary widely and can include a large number of Western European countries as once they enterWestern Europe the open borders between nations allow for easy transit.8 In summation the general directionof sex trafficking is from east to west. (see page 12). As one can see from this brief overview of the issue the real problem of sex trafficking is those inWestern Europe that create the demand for it. Europe was a continent full of beautiful cathedrals, reforma-tions, and revivals, even many valuable humanitarian responses to the world’s issues were birthed on thiscontinent. However as we drift further and further from our Biblical foundations the definition of sex is almostimmediately perverted, as we are seeing in Europe. Where men will pay for sex, rape children, and beatwomen within inches of their lives for their own enjoyment. When the Bible is no longer read and God is forcedfrom society women lose their intrinsic value as human beings and morality becomes an afterthought in asociety enslaved by selfishness. Meaning that sex-trafficking in Europe is just the face of a deeper issue. 5 Blue Blindfold, ‘Elena’s story’ <>6 Transchel, Kate. ‘Opinion: Behind the myth of the “happy hooker.”<> 2010.7 Dying to Leave: Business of Human Trafficking: Trafficking Routes <> 2003.8 Mendenhall, Preston. ‘Infiltrating Europe’s shameful trade in human beings’ <> 2012. 11
  7. 7. Origin Transit Destination12
  8. 8. In the next section we will look closer at how sex trafficking and pornography are linked together.Showing how both of these are branches of the same tree. Often we read the stats and stories like those wehave listed above and feel angry, and upset but these emotions fail to move us to action. We believe that byproving this link between sex trafficking and pornography it will become obvious what immediate actions wecan take in the prevention of this horrible crime. 13
  9. 9. Pornography and Sex Trafficking Generally statistics linking pornography to sex trafficking are hard to find. To do so one needs to lookat the stats of both, side by side and begin to ask questions. Yet we do not often ask questions that we suspectan unfavourable answer to. This is why on one side many people accept pornography as a societal norm yetthink that sex trafficking is despicable and should not be allowed to exist. In this section we will show that onewithout the other could not exist. In our view, pornography is one of the strongest contributing factors to creating the demand for sextrafficking. Pornography has changed how much of our society views women. They are seen as an image,a statue that has been placed there for the enjoyment of men. One cannot think that porn can be viewedwithout seriously affecting one’s view of the person in the image. On the same note it will also affect one’sdefinition of what sex actually is. Viewing pornography is an extremely slippery and steep slope. Since por-nography changes your definition of what sex actually is, the viewing of it can only lead one to a more violentand younger view of sex. Sexual fantasies that are enacted on the internet simply do not stay in cyberspacebut find their way into the thoughts and actions of men. These fantasies, that seemingly hurt no one, actuallyare hurting vulnerable women and promoting an increasingly violent view of sex. Summarising the view of men who purchase sex, Donna M. Hughes stated that “they are seekingsex without relationship responsibilities. They are seeking control and sex in contexts in which they are notrequired to be polite or nice, and where they can humiliate, degrade, and hurt the woman or child1. Did thisselfish, no consequence view start with the first pornographic image they saw? Humans will constantly choosethe action that seems to have the least amount of consequences. We choose the meal option at McDonald’s1 Hughes, Donna M., ‘The Demand for Victims of Sex Trafficking’ Women’s Studies Program University of Rhode Island 2005. 7.14
  10. 10. to avoid the consequence of time spent cooking and shopping. In the same way men choose pornography toavoid the consequences of the work that comes from creating a real relationship. When viewed in this man-ner pornography is just a step in the ladder above prostitution that most men are quickly falling down. As aresult we have created a culture in which sex is seen as a transaction and not a relationship. Such a culturecontains the perfect environment for sex trafficking to flourish. Internet pornography acts as a major gateway to step into prostitution. In other words, men in thecourse of using pornography are being trained to engage in prostitution. Pornography has also contributed tothe global nature of the sex industry because men can find videos of foreign women with relative ease online.This has led to the increase of men travelling to other nations such as Thailand with the express purpose ofengaging in sex tourism. As sex tourism increases, criminal gangs start to traffic women to these hotspots. It is a simple sup-ply and demand equation, as the demand increases the supply increases as well. When there are no longerenough women willing to be bought, the pimps must go to other nations to find a larger supply. This is calledsex trafficking. When the supply is human beings we can use another word, slavery. The traffickers or pimpswho perform these despicable actions earn a large profit off the sexual abuse of minors and these acts oftenoccur in countries with poor law enforcement. The criminals who create the demand for these heinous crimesare generally men who travel to another country for the express purpose of exploiting minors this has cometo be known as sex tourism. In response to this theoretical effect of pornography on the viewer one might argue, against thefacts, that his viewing of porn would never lead him to actually buy a prostitute and therefore he is not participating in human trafficking. That at the worst, as mentioned earlier, his viewing of porn creates the demand 15
  11. 11. 100 80 Pornography Industry 60 Human Trafficking Industry Billion $ 40 Fall of the Berlin Wall 20 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 Yugoslavian war16
  12. 12. and sustains the culture that is needed for sex trafficking to exist. But is he actually participating in sex traf-ficking? As mentioned before, to see the relationship between sex trafficking and pornography one needs tolook at the statistics of both industries and ask questions. As of 2010 the yearly profit of human traffickingwas roughly $32 Billion.2 In 2006 sex trafficking accounted for 79%3 of human trafficking, yet as stated abovesome say it has grown to roughly 90%. This may seem like a lot yet the pornographic industry had risen farabove this amount four years earlier. In 2006 the revenues of the pornography industry reached $97.06 bil-lion. It “has larger revenues than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Apple and Netflix combined”4 (seepage 16). Without a doubt traffickers partake in their job for a profit, they are businessmen. When one com-pares these two industries where is the greater profit to be made? Obviously the answer is in pornography. Another question that arises when one is debating any business deal is what are the risks involved?Which scenario has more risks, posting an image or a file on a website or having to smuggle an EasternEuropean girl through at least three nations, evading and bribing customs officials and local police, only tothen move the women from brothel to brothel to avoid arrests. Again from a business standpoint pornogra-phy has less risk than sex trafficking. Yet what if a businessman could sell the same product to two differentindustries? Though sex trafficking and porn may be different industries they are based off the same market,created by a transactional view of sex, allowing the same product to be sold twice. An analogy of this wouldbe if a neighbour offered to pay you $20 to cut his grass and you knew another neighbour, who owned a lawnand gardens website, would pay you about $60 for video footage of you cutting grass. Would you hesitateto set up the camera before you cut the grass? A businessman definitely would not. The sad thing about thisanalogy is that it is essentially true. Trafficked women are often filmed in the act of prostitution and it is then2 Polaris Project. ‘Human Trafficking Statistics’, PDF, Polaris project, 2010, 1.3 UNODC, ‘Global report on Trafficking In Persons’, 2008. 50.4 Ropelato, Jerry. ‘Internet Pornography Statistics’ <> 17
  13. 13. uploaded to porn sites (see page 19). Within internet pornography the tag word free is used very loosely. According to a survey performedas part of a project called “Keeper of the United States”,5 117 male respondents between the ages of 15-80said that they started watching pornography due to advertisements on unrelated websites as well as spammail. On average these men were 12 years old the first time they viewed pornography. Companies do thisbecause watching pornography at such an early age causes an addiction that lasts for the rest of their lives.Due to pop up ads on the internet containing free images, young people are lured to buy pornography andcontinue the downward trek searching for more and more explicit material. At one point 74%6 of commercialpornography sites displayed free teaser porn images on websites, or in banner ads enticing viewers to payfor further content. Yet no one ever asks where do these images come from? Economically speaking it is easyto give away stuff for free when you received it for free. Trafficked women are not paid for their work so whywould a producer pay a model for images he will have to give away for free? An entrepreneur would carry thisthought to its rightful conclusion and state ‘well why would he pay a model for an image he would sell when hecould increase his profit by selling an image he attained virtually for free using trafficked women’. It is a shortstep and in some regions can even make prostitution legal. Many nations in Europe state that prostitution isillegal and of the U.S. all but one state has laws against prostitution. Yet in all of these nations pornographyis legal. Does the simple presence of a camera change the act from illegal to legal? It is clearly seen that the pornography industry and sex trafficking industry are not in competition,since they essentially sell the same product and in some cases the same product twice. Yet we allow ourselvesto believe the lie that this is not true. Why should we assume that the pornographic film makers are morerighteous than the Spa owner who cannot get enough women to give the men what they want? Both are busi-nessmen, and the goal is profit, by any means. Or why should we assume that some of the women stuck in5 The Defenders USA6
  14. 14. $ $ $ $ $$$ $ $$ $ $ $ $ 19
  15. 15. brothels have been trafficked yet the women used in live sex shows on the internet have chosen to be there?The answer is simple; we like our dichotomised thinking. It allows us to rationalise what is good and what isevil. Our mind is the judge who never finds himself guilty. Even though the addition of pornography to the trafficker’s dealings is a lucrative business deal, isthere any evidence that they have chosen this route? Again the stats of the two economies must be comparedand questions must be asked to find this evidence. As seen earlier a main target for traffickers is EasternEurope, and Hungary is one of the main nations of origin. Also this region is a target for pornographers. Thecity that produces the most porn, and is known as the pornographic capital of Europe is Budapest, the capitalof Hungary. One pornographer was quoted saying “most West European producers of pornography use EastEuropean actors wherever possible. “They cost less and do more.”7 Once again the main goal of any businessis profit and any goal of an unjust businessman is profit at all cost. Another piece of evidence is to look at our society’s downward progression of pornography. In the90’s the demand for hard-core porn began to increase significantly more than in previous decades.8 Whatelse began to occur in the 90’s? In 1989 the Berlin wall came down signifying the realisation of many dreamsheld in Eastern Europe. They could now come to Western Europe and escape poverty. Traffickers immediatelybegan to exploit this dream. Secondly, the almost decade long war in Yugoslavia crippled any legitimategovernment in the Balkans. Both of these factors of poverty and governmental corruption are the two main‘push factors’9 that make it easy for traffickers to move women out of these nations. As the opportunity forexploitation increased, organised crime started to expand into this new venture of sex trafficking (see page19). Suddenly Western Europe’s streets were flooded with sex slaves that men could do with as they pleased.7 Hughes, Donna M., ‘The Demand for Victims of Sex Trafficking’ 26.8 Ropelato, Jerry ‘Internet Pornography Statistics’ Bales, Kevin “Testing a Theory of Modern Slavery” 12.20
  16. 16. Sex lost any boundaries it might have had when prostitutes had chosen to sell themselves. Trafficked victimsopened the door for violent sex, as they had no say in the transaction since they were slaves. The treatmentthey received makes it obvious that they did not choose this life for themselves. Why then would we think thatwomen on the other side of a monitor, in the increasingly violent pornographic scenes, would have chosen thislife for themselves as well? What was called hard-core porn in the 90’s is now the common form of porn. It isnot a stretch to say that today’s porn industry was birthed in the 90’s right alongside sex trafficking in Europe,coincidence we think not! In summation pornography requires less of our involvement than prostitution; it can be accessed inthe security of your own home. Since it is easier we force ourselves to believe that it is less evil, even accept-able. But as shown pornography constitutes the demand for sex trafficking, creating a culture of commercialsex, and it is in fact sex trafficking. When one begins to ask questions, it is obvious to see that there is nological reason why the trafficked girl from Budapest in the brothel is not the same girl you saw on the internet. 21
  17. 17. The First Step to Fight Sex Trafficking It is cool and trendy to fight injustices. There is something heroic about saving the enslaved girlfrom her captors. This needs to be done, yet not by those who put her up in that tower. The fact is that if youhave viewed pornography you have no way of verifying whether the woman you viewed was trafficked or not.Statistically and logically speaking we have proven that she most likely was. The amount of sexual images allover the internet have reached epidemic levels; the vast distribution of adult content is caused by the lack ofregulations that prevent any from viewing pornographic images. So how then do you save the girl from thetower? Stop putting her up there in the first place. You may think you’re one simple action of purity cannotmake much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. Yet it can, people tend to neglect the fact that his-tory has been shaped by a simple yes to righteousness and a no to immorality. One man said no to revenge,another to white supremacy, others to slavery, and still more to inequality. Apart from seeing that pornography, to an unknown yet definite extent, is sex trafficking what elsewill keep us from looking at it? If we look at the epidemic of pornography, we can see that the consumptionof pornography is a symptom of identity issues. Dr. Patrick Carnes said there are basically four core beliefswhy people view pornography1. When they think they are unworthy or simply a bad person. Another belief isthat they don’t think anyone would love them as they are. Some also believe that their needs will not be met,if they have to depend upon others. The last factor is that they think sex is the most important need. Thosefour core beliefs come out of lack of affirmation and love, dysfunctional family, rejection, isolation, sexual oremotional abuse and insecurity 2. Out of that people try to satisfy these lies through masturbation and por-1 Patrick Carnes. 2001. Out of the shadows: understanding sexual addiction, Hazelden: Center City, Minnesota. p. 167-68 Sexual Addiction - Relationship Breakdown Life Challenges
  18. 18. nography. The average age at which a child first sees pornography online is reported to be 113. That showsclearly how young people often have identity problems, they do not really know who they are, and they arestruggling with their identity. Pornography does not help because we can gratify our sexual desires at ourwhim without any challenge to our decision. Because there is no risk of rejection this feeds a false view of ouridentity and is not accurate to reality. For example, in a marriage the decision to gratify sexual desires will bemutual; it cannot be made by one person. Our identity is based in the image of God in us and we need topursue His design and not artificial pleasures. When we watch pornography it communicates lies and theselies challenge our true identity. Among other things, this issue harms our identity as men because we learn that we can have everyfeeling of pleasure without ever working for it and it is no longer attached to our own need for intimacy. Werob ourselves of ever interacting on a deep level with another human being. Pornography creates the illusionthat we no longer have to share who we really are with anyone, we already have everything we will everneed. This becomes a place of deep despair and shame though we may not realise it. We just pretend thateverything is okay and wonder where our love for life went, or we pretend life was always meant to be livedin cyberspace. Amongst Christian men, the effects are even more desperate. The enemy’s main way of keep-ing us from accomplishing what God has for us is to target our identity. If we have engaged in pornographicactivity, this is exactly where the attack will come again and again. It is impossible to “fight the good fight”when we are lacking our identity. No one can accept that God could love someone who has looked at porn thatday, nor can we trust that we are capable of finding a true loving relationship because of our guilt. The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness shows something remarkable about our Lord and Saviour.Three temptations came at Jesus and attacked right at the most vulnerable point, His identity. The difference3 23
  19. 19. in His reaction and ours is how secure He was. He did not compromise for an instant and showed that He hadno need to test God about whom He is. During the rest of His life He also showed that He would not compro-mise on this issue, though it was under attack constantly by the Pharisees day after day. The lessons we can learn from our King are many but one of the most foundational is our identity.The symptom of pornography can be solved when we look at who we are in Christ and nothing else. We mustrely on the unchanging nature of God’s love for us and His willingness to ensure that we grow in our characterto one day be able to enjoy the life He created for us. The more we surrender to Christ the greater we begin tohate this sin and see the true value human life. When we trust that God created all people including ourselvesin His own image we begin to glimpse that maybe God created us for more than porn. Maybe He created usto be truly free in real life and not pretend life on our islands of selfishness. The questions raised by this book demand our response. We can no longer force from our consciencethe implications of our actions. The very trap we have set has enslaved our own minds and held millions ofwomen around the world captive. It is time that we take action.24
  20. 20. Discussion questionsThe first step in fighting pornography is bringing it into the light by discussing its affect on you. Below areseveral discussion questions to help get the conversations going.1. How would you describe your past or present interaction with pornography? (Addiction, necessity...)2. What reasons can you think of for why you viewed pornography? What could be the roots of these reasons?3. After reading this book what new questions should you create when the desire to look at pornographysurfaces again?4. As you deal with this issue what scriptures can strengthen and support you?5. What are some first action steps you can take today to overcome your difficulty with lust and temptation? 25
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