Amazon’s online market is being used to facilitate sexual exploitation and predation.
Not only does Amazon.com feature thousands of pornography-related items in numerous categories, but it is facilitating the sale and distribution of sexually explicit material that normalizes and encourages the objectification and exploitation of women and children.
I'm especially shocked that Amazon.com is selling books featuring photography collections of eroticized child nudity by Jock Sturges and David Hamilton. These publications contain numerous images that many, including experts on child sexual exploitation, consider child pornography. These are not images reminiscent of a family photo album of children at bath time. These images are haunting displays of provocative child nudity, of prepubescent and adolescent children—many of which display their pubic areas or genitals.
If a man in your neighborhood took these pictures of your child, you would not call them ‘art.’ You would call the police.
Further, Amazon.com sells child-like sex dolls and clothing that pornifies women and infants, and books that are essentially sex trafficking “how-to” manuals.
Action: visit http://endsexualexploitation.org/amazon/. Here you can email executives to ask them to remove this exploitive content and learn more. There is also a proof portion on this page to validate our findings.
(This episode is now working, thank you for your patience!)
The holidays are often thought of as the most wonderful time of the year. However, for victims of domestic violence, the holidays can be a very dark and scary time.
This kind of abuse (whether it’s physical or sexual) is often more likely to occur when stress levels are high, and unfortunately holiday seasons bring their fair share of stresses. Unrealistic expectations, financial strain, and alcohol can increase stress, and lower inhibitions to domestic violence.
On Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day the National Domestic Violence Hotline reports a decrease in calls. Nearly 53 percent fewer. Whether survivors don’t want to disturb family cohesiveness on these days, or can’t find a private time to make a call for support, advocates say the decline isn’t necessarily an indication that violence ceases on these days, reporting that calls will often increase above normal levels the days and weeks following a holiday.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence - On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
It can be very difficult to spot an abusive situation.
The majority of abusers are only violent with their current or past intimate partners. One study found 90% of abusers do not have criminal records and abusers are generally law-abiding outside the home.
Some warning signs:
Common suggestions for loved ones of those in abusive situations include:
A surprising number of public libraries do not have pornography filtering software and a much larger number employ ineffective filtering software that children and adults are bypassing to gain access to all kinds of pornography while at the local library.
This leads to problems not only for the health of individuals using pornography, but also to problems of child pornography use and unintentional childhood exposure to pornography.
A few years ago we started getting calls from concerned parents who shared that librarians were refusing to filter out pornography from library computers and Internet because the American Library Association is informing libraries that it's against the First Amendment.
However, the Supreme Court ruled that libraries DO have the right to filter out pornography. Despite losing this battle in the courts, the ALA continues to disseminate misleading information to libraries about their responsibility to keep computers completely “free and unfettered”.
The American Library Association is refusing to take action.
But YOU can.
Through our Safe Schools, Safe Libraries project, you can download the “Getting Started” packet that explains, from start to finish, how you can get effective filtering in libraries and schools. Several communities have succeeded with this project!
You can also learn more about the American Library Association, and why it facilitates pornography, here: http://endsexualexploitation.org/ala
Amnesty International has developed a policy document supporting full decriminalization of prostitution.
Full decriminalization of prostitution is one of the world’s most disastrous approaches to the sex trade.
Decriminalized prostitution refers to the removal of laws criminalizing the sex trade. One form of decriminalization—commonly referred to as the Nordic model—targets only individuals involved in the selling of sex (i.e. prostituting persons); other forms of decriminalization may seek to decriminalize all parties involved in the provisioning, buying, and selling of sex.
Thus, “full” decriminalization refers to the repeal of laws pertaining to pimping, brothel keeping, and sex buyers, as well as those who sell sex.
It is a gift to pimps and sex buyers allowing them to carry out their activities as mere “sex business operators” and “customers,” and normalizes the sexual violence and exploitation inherent to prostitution as a form of “work.”
Why is Amnesty International advocating for this? Is it ignorance or something more sinister? Tune in to learn more.
Action Alert: You can email leaders at Amnesty International and order postcards to send them here: http://endsexualexploitation.org/noamnesty/
The research shows that the sexting phenomenon is not something we can just ignore.
Some estimates of teen and young adult sexting rates run from as low as 4% to as high as 20%. Comparing the studies, it is safe to say 7-9% of older teens (14-17 years old) send sexts, while older age groups tend to be involved in sexting at higher percentages, perhaps 20% or even more.
One survey released in 2016 found that 66% of teens and young adults have received a sexually explicit image, and 41% have sent one.
One study’s statistics show that 1 in 5 teens admit to sexting.
When 535 students from 18 schools in South West UK responded to a survey, 39% said at least one of their friends has “shared intimate pictures/videos” with a boyfriend or girlfriend. When the same students were asked how many incidents of sexting in the past year they were aware of, 50% said “one or two” incidents, 19% said “a few,” and 24% said it happens regularly or all the time (SW Grid for Learning).
Sexting makes you vulnerable to social problems, problems with school or work, and even extortion or blackmail.
Most sexting images are shared, and any image shared online or through text can be tracked down.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) estimates that 88% of self-made sexually explicit images are “stolen” from their original upload location such as laptop webcams or phones.
Even if someone takes a picture without their face in it, they are still vulnerable, because every picture from a cell phone has metadata that can be traced.
Sexting doesn’t only make you vulnerable to later exploitation. The culture around sexting can actually groom both the requester and the sender in the dynamic of sexual exploitation—where the requester pressures, manipulates, and coerces in order to get the desired image.
61% of all sexters who have sent nude images admit that they were pressured to do it at least once.
CALL TO ACTION:
Anti-cyberbullying resources for you or your child:
NCOSE Resource Center:
Further talking points:
The National White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Week brings together hundreds of national, state and local groups, along with driven concerned citizens in a massive effort to educate the public on the harms from pornography and the many resources available to aid those affected. National WRAP Week always starts the last Sunday of October.
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/
Episode #4. Research is showing that pornography is linked to increases in sexual violence.
Pornography shapes the user’s sexual template around themes of degradation, ambiguous consent, and violence.
Cognitive Script Theory reveals that media provide a heuristic learning model outlining:
2) how people should or should not behave in response to what is or is not happening;
3) what the outcomes of a particular course of action should be.
Pornography becomes a script to navigate real-world sexual experiences. It can serve as a template for actual sexual behavior.
Pornography teaches that women enjoy sexual violence:
Analysis of the 50 most popular pornographic videos (those bought and rented most often) found that 88% of scenes contained physical violence, and 49% contained verbal aggression.1
Pornography is linked to increased verbal and physical aggression:
A 2015 meta-analysis of 22 studies from seven countries found that internationally the consumption of pornography was significantly associated with increases in verbal and physical aggression, among males and females alike.2
Surveyed college fraternity men who used “mainstream” pornography expressed greater intent to commit rape, should they be assured they wouldn’t get caught.3
A meta-analysis of 46 studies reported that the effects of exposure to pornographic material are “clear and consistent,” and puts one at increased risk for committing sexual offenses and accepting rape myths.
If we are serious about combatting sexual violence, we must commit to addressing the harms of pornography.
To learn more, visit: http://endsexualexploitation.org/violence/
1. (Ana J. Bridges, Robert Wosnitzer, Erica Scharrer, Chyng Sun, and Rachael Liberman, “Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best-Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update,” Violence against Women 16, no. 10 (2010): 1065–1085.)
2. Paul J. Wright, Robert S. Tokunaga, and Ashley Kraus, “A Meta-Analysis of Pornography Consumption and Actual Acts of Sexual Aggression in General Population Studies,” Journal of Communication 66, no. 1 (February 2016): 183–205.
3. Foubert, John D., Matthew Brosi W., and R. Bannon Sean. "Pornography Viewing among Fraternity Men: Effects on Bystander Intervention, Rape Myth Acceptance and Behavioral Intent to Commit Sexual Assault." Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 18.4 (2011): 212-31. Web.
4. Elizabeth Paolucci-Oddone, Mark Genuis, and Claudio Violato, “A Meta-Analysis of the Published Research on the Effects of Pornography,” The Changing Family and Child Development, ed. Claudio Violato, Elizabeth Paolucci, and Mark Genuis (Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing, 2000), 48–59.
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
This is podcast episode #1, thank you so much for tuning in! Maybe you’re listening because you’re familiar with our organization, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, or maybe you just clicked on it because of the catchy name. Either way, I’m glad you’re here!
Today I’m going to give you a quick tour of what we’re about and what you can expect to gain from this podcast. We’re gonna get you the information and practical tips you need to combat sexual exploitation.
What is sexual exploitation? In a broad (and incomplete) sense, it’s any situation where someone is being used - for another’s sexual pleasure - in a way that lacks consent, or is demeaning or harmful. That means we’ll be talking about sex trafficking, prostitution, pornography, rape culture, campus sexual assault, and more.
Unfortunately, this issue is prevalent in our culture today -- we are constantly hearing questions like “does the super bowl really cause sex trafficking?” and “is prostitution a job like any other?” and “is porn actually linked to increased sexual violence?”
We’re going to talk with experts every week about these topics that are happening around us every day - and even better, we’re going to give you a clear action step you can take at the end of every podcast episode. Sometimes the world can be a depressing place - but we are seeing so much hope, and so many prominent victories in the movement against sexual exploitation, and I want to give you the tools to join in, and make a difference.
To tell you a little more about me, I work at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (or NCOSE), a non-profit located in Washington DC that works to address the links between all forms of sexual exploitation. You’ll hear a lot about NCOSE because most weeks I’ll be joined by a colleague from this organization who will help me answer the big questions.
NCOSE was founded in 1962, and it embraces a mission to defend human dignity and to advocate for the universal right of sexual justice, which is freedom from sexual exploitation, objectification, and violence.
All you need to know now, is that NCOSE does three things 1) public education 2) coalition leadership of around 300 organizations and experts and 3) changes corporate or governmental policies that facilitate sexual exploitation. Last year, in fact, we changed 15 corporate policies at places like Google, Hilton Worldwide, and Overstock.com.
I got into this work because I’m really passionate about human rights, and about getting people like you involved in this fight. I remember when I was in college the topic of “sex trafficking” was really “hip” for lack of a better word. Everyone I knew was talking about it, but nobody knew what they could do to actually make a difference. And now that I’ve found so many ways one individual can have an impact - I’m excited to share!
Anyway, thank you so much for listening and joining us in this movement. Make sure to check out our website: endsexualexploitation.org to learn more about what the National Center on Sexual Exploitation does, and be sure to tune in for our next podcast where we’re going to answer the question: is porn causing a public health crisis?
If you have any questions you want us to address during our podcasts, please email email@example.com.
Thank you again for all of you who have listened - this has been the Sexploitation podcast. Have a great week.