Pornography creates and drives the demand for trafficked women and children.

Porn users often seek to act out what they have viewed in pornography.

Research (see demonstrates that pornography changes the brain, which leads to addiction and a desire for harder, more deviant materials. It also creates permission-giving beliefs — for example, that it is normal to pay for sex or that all women enjoy violent sex. These changes often lead users to act out what they have viewed. Spouses and girlfriends usually do not want to participate in the violence associated with porn sex, so the user seeks it elsewhere – often through prostituted or trafficked women and children.

In The Projection Project: Journal of Human Rights and Civil Society, a study conducted interviewed 854 prostituted women from 9 countries, 47% were upset by customers trying to make them perform what the customer had seen in porn. In a separate study, reported by The Witherspoon Institute, interviews with 200 prostituted women revealed that 23% had been assaulted by clients seeking porn sex who “insist[ed] that the woman enjoyed the assault.” Because the women in porn appear to be willing participants, the idea that a woman would enjoy sexual assault is an especially toxic product of pornography.

A former prostitute, “T.S.,” testified at a public hearing in support of an anti-pornography civil rights law in 1983. In her testimony, T.S. described the pervasive influence of pornography on men who engaged prostitutes. She stated:

In my experience, there was not one situation where a client was not using pornography while he was using me, or that he had not just watched pornography, or that it was[n’t] verbally referred to, and directed me in pornography… Men witness the abuse of women in pornography constantly, and if they can’t engage in that behavior with their wives, girlfriends, or children, they force a whore to do it.

T.S. went on to say she was concerned about the young girls currently being prostituted because the content in porn was so much worse than the porn her clients had been viewing in the 1970s. She worried the girls would be required to perform increasingly unsafe and humiliating acts. T.S. made this statement in 1983. Since then, pornography has grown exponentially in violence and degradation.

Those who use prostitutes have graduated from porn to real people because they are not satisfied simply viewing porn. They have been desensitized and require ever increasing levels of stimulation for arousal, culminating in harder and more degraded activities.

Porn users demand a constant stream of new, increasingly violent and fetishized content.

Mainstream pornographers have commented that they are having a hard time finding girls willing to perform the increasingly deviant sex acts demanded by porn users.  Pimps and traffickers have started to capitalize on this demand by forcing women and children to engage in sex acts while filming and photographing this.

Learn more about how pornography affects the brain and changes behavior from these resources:

Trafficking Demand

“One study conducting interviews with 200 prostitutes found that about a quarter of them  mentioned pornography being intimately tied to a sexual assault they had experienced, with the abuser making reference to something he had seen as inspiration for his acting or insisting that the woman enjoyed the assault.”

SOURCE: The Social Costs of Pornography – The Witherspoon Institute

“Interviews with 854 women in prostitution in 9 countries…made it clear that pornography is integral to prostitution… [A]lmost half (49 percent) told us that pornography was made of them while they were in prostitution. Forty-seven percent…were upset by tricks’ attempts to make them do what the tricks had previously seen in pornography.”

“Men witness the abuse of women in pornography constantly, and if they can’t engage in that behavior with their wives, girlfriends, or children, they force a whore to do it.”

SOURCE: The Protection Project: Journal of Human Rights and Civil Society


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“Women were forced constantly to enact specific scenes that men had witnessed in pornography. They would direct women to copy postures and poses of things they had seen in magazines and then they would take their own pictures of the women.”

SOURCE: T.S., “In Harm’s Way,” Minneapolis public hearing, December 12, 1983, pg 114

“As a clinical psychologist, I have treated…approximately 350 sex addicts, sex offenders, or other individuals (96% male) with sexual illnesses. This includes…compulsive sexual acting-out, plus such things as child molestation, exhibitionism, voyeurism, sadomasochism, fetishism, and rape. With several exceptions, pornography has been a major or minor contributor or facilitator in the acquisition of their deviation or sexual addiction…”

SOURCE: Dr. Victor B. Cline, “Pornography’s Effects on Adults and Children” (Morality in Media, 2001)

“So it is with...pornography. The johns watch porn, seeing violent and aberrant behaviors on film, then they crave the realization of what they have seen. Those obsessions drive them to the prostituted women and girls to get what they have seen depicted so graphically.”

SOURCE: J.S. Crouse, Ph.D., "Pornography and sex trafficking," Statement at National Press Club, 5/19/08

“One of the most significant and persistent barriers to combating human trafficking is widespread insistence on distinguishing between sexual trafficking and prostitution. While linking the two is about as easy as connecting smoking to lung cancer, we continue to decouple trafficking from branches of the commercial sex industry like prostitution and pornography...[M]ost of us want to end sexual slavery, but the commercial sex industry—which is the very lifeblood of trafficking—is increasingly tolerated. Prostitution is seen by plenty as a legitimate, if suboptimal, form of “work,” and pornography is taken to be harmless. And yet the commercial sex market and sex trafficking are symbiotically related; the latter simply would not exist without the former. Women and girls are trafficked into brothels, strip clubs, and massage parlors. They’re photographed and filmed servicing men. Customers—including men who simply click on free porn on the web—do not and cannot distinguish between trafficked women, prostitutes, and porn stars.”

SOURCE: D. Arevalo & M. Regnerus, "Commercialized sex and human bondage,", 2/11/11