Dr. Sharon Cooper is a developmental and forensic pediatrician who evaluates and treats children who have been victims of all forms of abuse, though her primary area of expertise is that of sexual exploitation.
At an event held by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation in the U.S. Capitol, Dr. Cooper shared 3 ways adult pornography is harming children:
1) Adult use of adult pornography in child abuse
2) Adult pornography's influence on child-on-child sexual abuse
3) Exposure to adult pornography harms children's development
Learn more about other presentations that were given at the same event here: http://endsexualexploitation.org/briefing/
Find resources for protecting children from pornography, and for recovering from pornography addiction, here: http://endsexualexploitation.org/resources/
Whether you are a college student, know a college student, or just care about fighting sexual exploitation in ANY environment, this episode is filled with practical action steps to get you started.
College students should be safe from sexual assault, and the factors that contribute to campus sexual assault must be recognized.
Campus sexual assault is often tied to issues like sporting events, sex week events, fraternities, pornography use, drinking, and more. Tune-in to this episode to understand the issue, and to learn simple actions you can take to combat the factors that contribute to sexual exploitation on college campuses.
Call to Action:
Learn more at: endsexualexploitation.org/college
Tips to address Sex Week on college campuses: endsexualexploitation.org/sexweek
Resource Center: endsexualexploitation.org/resources
Other educational resources:
Evidence supports the fact that child sexual abuse, prostitution, pornography, sex trafficking, sexual violence, etc., are not isolated phenomena occurring in a vacuum. Rather, these and other forms of sexual abuse and exploitation overlap and reinforce one another.
Accordingly, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has developed The Freedom From Sexploitation Agenda to present Congress and the executive branch with robust critical recommendations that powerfully combat sexual exploitation, protect human rights, and preserve human dignity.
Dawn Hawkins addressed these themes in the U.S. Capitol for an event held by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation regarding The Freedom from Sexploitation Agenda.
Call To Action:
To learn more about the Freedom From Sexploitation Agenda and to watch videos of other presentations given in the U.S. Capitol visit: sexploitationfreedomagenda.com.
Online library databases in many schools are piping pornographic and sexually explicit materials into children's lives.
We were shocked when we discovered EBSCO, and other similar companies, that provide academic resources for grades K-12 are not filtering out sexually explicit content. Even innocent searches return results like links to hardcore pornography websites, stories normalizing student-teacher sexual relationships, and articles encouraging group, public, and anal sex.
This is one of the largest scandals we've ever discussed, and it's something parents and teachers alike need to know.
Tune-in to learn more.
Call to Action:
Listen to our past episode #10 about filtering in public libraries: http://bit.ly/2m35tYY
Learn more and take action here: endsexualexploitation.org/ebsco
An Alabama child advocacy group called Palmer Place recently reported an increase in child-on-child sex abuse cases, and they believe it was brought on by a growing addiction to pornography among children.
How can we better understand the phenomenon of children who sexually abuse other children, and how can we intervene?
One 2015 study by Dr. Cathy Humphreys, and others, explored this question by sampling a broad range of research and literature on the issue.
In this study—published in the Health & Social Care in the Community Journal—they identified a few key areas that are vital to understand on this topic, and today we’ll cover the Characteristics, the Causes, and the preventative Communications.
A 2009 national survey analyzed data from 13,471 cases of sexually abusive behavior. They found that there was an escalation in sexual abuse offending at the age of 12 years.
When it comes to pornography use, a 2011 longitudinal study of 1,588 US households found that minors who intentionally watched violent pornography over time predicted a six-fold increase in the odds of self-reported sexually abusive behavior for both boys and girls.
A (2000) life history analysis of two boys who sexually abused children showed trends of hegemonic masculinity.
Unfortunately, another reason some people may abuse others is because they themselves experienced sexual abuse.
A 2012 longitudinal study examined 2,759 records of children who had been sexually abused between 1964 and 1995. They found that 5% of male victims were later convicted of a sexual offense compared to 0.6% of males in the general population.
Sexual abuse prevention education is found in intentional teaching sessions to raise children’s awareness about sexual abuse, and to provide them with tools for how to respond if abused.
There are two major sites for this kind of education: school–child communication and parent–child communication.
First, can talk to your local school and inquire what prevention strategies they have for both on school grounds and if they use any curriculum to try and prevention child abuse.
Second, talk with the children in your life about. 6 year olds, and those younger, can benefit from simple conversations about how “no mean no” and to come speak to a trusted adult if anyone ever hurts them or makes them feel uncomfortable. Also, it’s important to speak to all children about the harms of pornography, and to create a trusting environment where they can express their questions about sexuality or what they might have seen in pornography.
America is suffering from a sexual exploitation crisis. Sex trafficking, pornography addiction, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and more, are issues significantly impacting American citizens, families, and communities. This necessitates that the full spectrum of sexual harm must be addressed by our federal government.
NCOSE is located in Washington DC in order to elevate the platform of these issues on that national level. We’re a nonpartisan nonprofit but that doesn’t stop us from advocating for freedom from sexual exploitation in any administration and at any opportunity.
So NCOSE recently sent a letter to the incoming Trump Administration prioritize specific policy actions regarding sex trafficking, the public health crisis of pornography, and more. Dawn Hawkins, the NCOSE Executive Director, explains these priorities in this episode.
Call to Action:
If you are ever in DC and want to set up a meeting with your elected representative to discuss these issues, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to attend and support you in that meeting, and to make sure your voice is heard.
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But while some have magnified the problem, others are also distorting the issue to opposite effect by claiming there is no sex trafficking in connection with the Super Bowl. Sources of this disinformation are groups like the Sex Workers and Erotic Service Provider Legal, Educational and Research Project (ESPLERP), a group which is currently engaged in legal action against the state of California, alleging that the state’s prostitution law violates the constitutional rights of those in the sex industry, and which is supporting an effort unfolding in New Hampshire to fully decriminalize prostitution in that state.
Groups such as ESPLERP have a vested interest in promulgating the myth that there is no sex trafficking at the Super Bowl, since sex industry advocates and profiteers have a lot at stake when it comes to anything that might bring the attention of law enforcement to their activities.
Statistics from the FBI’s law enforcement efforts are illuminating. Consider that in Phoenix last year 360 sex buyers and 68 traffickers were arrested and 30 juvenile victims were recovered. In 2014, 45 arrests were made in connection with the New Jersey Super Bowl, with 16 juveniles recovered. In 2013 at the New Orleans Super Bowl, 85 arrests made and five victims recovered.
This study states: "“The conclusion of the study is that the Super Bowl, or any large event which provides a significant concentration of people in a relatively confined urban area, becomes a desirable location for a trafficker to bring their victims for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation.”
So, does football, or the NFL, the Super Bowl, cause sex trafficking? No. But is the influx of demand (i.e. potential male sex buyers) associated with the Super Bowl correlated with sex trafficking the Super Bowl and similar events? That answer is, sadly, a resounding yes.
To spread the word, you can share this podcast episode and this blog.
Popular media portrays those involved in prostitution as typically glamorized or empowered individuals. However, the research reveals that this is not the experience of the vast majority of those involved in the sex trade.
Typically, positive portrayals of prostitution as voluntary work are coming from a place of privilege. The vast majority of prostituted people are not engaging in paid sex because it's fulfilling, or to fund their Ivy League education. The vast majority of prostituted people are engaging in prostitution out of a need to survive.
Some have claimed that poor women should have the option of voluntary "sex work." However, we've always had laws in our society regulating what is acceptable work in order to protect the poor from being exploited, for example, child labor laws or laws limiting the acceptable numbers of hours worked.
Further, any laws against sexual harassment in the work place are inherently void when it comes to prostitution. Prostitution creates a lower class of women (and men and transgendered) who are deemed unworthy of these basic protections, and instead act as vessels to receive acts of sexual violence and degradation that most citizens are protected from by law.
Melissa Farley's research found:
"Across countries, 73 percent reported physical assault in prostitution, 62 percent reported having been raped since entering prostitution, 67 percent met criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD. On average, 92 percent stated that they wanted to leave prostitution."
It is important to speak up about the harms of prostitution, and to push back against the rising trend of normalization. Sexploitation is nobody's job.
Call to Action. Read and share this blog: http://endsexualexploitation.org/articles/sexual-exploitation-is-nobodys-job/
This is episode #3 of the Sexploitation podcast, I’m here today with Dawn Hawkins from NCOSE, and today we’re talking about the question “Does Facebook Facilitate Sex Trafficking?”
We think of sex trafficking as only occurring in dingy dungeons, but really so much of it has moved online – it’s a digital age – you no longer need to “know a guy” or go to the seedy side of town to have access to information about buying sex – now access to what was previously an underground business is just a few clicks away.
Is sex trafficking happening on FB? Dawn Hawkins shares that it is. Pimps and traffickers are using social media sites like Facebook to "market" their "product." Often girls will post pictures and be smiling and seem like they are freely engaging, but sometimes they are being coerced behind the scenes.
Facebook doesn't want to be used this way, and they're trying to fix the problem, but they could be doing more. Other websites like Snapchat and Backpage, however, aren't taking any real steps to prevent this problem.
In 2010, Craiglist shut down its section for sex ads after getting criticized by state attorneys general and advocacy groups for its role in facilitating sex trafficking. (Unfortunately, it’s still probably taking place under thin code words elsewhere on the site)
So why aren't these websites being held accountable for at leas better monitoring and finding better solutions through technology?
Answer: The Communications Decency Act Loop Hole
These companies are hiding behind a law that has been completely misinterpreted by our high courts - the Communications Decency Act. Congress intended that this law help protect children from exposure to Internet pornography. The act included a defense, Section 230, for Internet providers, protecting them from liability for material posted to their sites by 3rd parties. Thus, if illegal pornography or other material is posted to a site by someone not associated with the site operator, the site was to be held blameless.
Section 230 was well intentioned, but when the substantive portions of the CDA were held unconstitutional, the 230 defense was left standing and has been used by companies like Backpage, which holds its site out as a place to advertise illegal conduct such as sex trafficking of women and children. Congress never intended this result, yet some courts have ruled that the 230 defense provides, in effect, blanket website immunity for all material posted by 3rd parties on the sites.
Call to Action: contact your representatives and ask them to amend the CDA: http://pornharmsaction.com/app/write-a-letter?4&engagementId=40389
You can also learn more here:
This is episode #2 of the Sexploitation podcast, I’m here today with Dawn Hawkins from NCOSE, and today we’re talking about the question “Is Porn Really a Public Health Crisis?”
This question has been everywhere lately.
Utah passed a formal state resolution declaring pornography a public health crisis in the summer of 2016, then that fall the RNC added the same language to its official republican platform, and presidential nominee at the time of this recording wrote a letter to the organization Enough is Enough stating that she is supportive of protecting children against the harms of pornography. All of this has happened within the last year! Heck, Time magazine had a cover story on the harms of pornography to men. This sudden burst of discussion on this topic has a lot of people scratching their heads and wondering “where this came from.”
Dawn Hawkins shares with us that this problem has grabbed the public's attention because of the number of people who've been harmed by pornography and who are now speaking up, and also the rising amount of research.
What is a public health crisis?
There is no commonly agreed upon definition. The World Health Organization vaguely defines a crisis as a “situation that is perceived as difficult” and in 2012 the CDC said a crisis tends to occur when “an unexpected and threatening event requires an immediate response.”
I think we can raise the bar even higher and say “A serious, harmful, problem that affects individuals or groups beyond their capacity alone to correct.”
Pornography is definitely pervasive. Families can't protect themselves, even kids as young as 10 years old are being exposed to pornography and then begin using it.
Porn has serious harms to a range of categories:
Dawn discussed how she believes porn today will follow the trend of the tobacco industry in public perception.
Pornography is pervasive and popular, similar to smoking in the 1950s, but as the harms become apparent, both the general public and elected officials will demand that a multidisciplinary public health approach be implemented across the country to address it.
Call to Action: Write your representative and ask them to address this public health crisis: http://pornharmsaction.com/pornharms/app/write-a-letter?6&engagementId=100413