Header image featuring Fighters Joel and Darian from Arkansas.

There was a time when society thought that smoking was healthy. At one point the tobacco industry even had doctors promoting cigarettes, but eventually science caught up with truth, and we now know that smoking negatively impacts health, and even fuels lung cancer. Paralleling what happened with tobacco, the porn industry is now promoting pornography as something that is healthy, despite all of the research proving that porn can be harmful to individuals, relationships, and society.

Porn fuels the demand for sex trafficking. The Fight the New Drug team wanted to create Fighter gear that would raise awareness on this bold, conversation-starting tee features a powerful message that illustrates the close correlation between porn and sex trafficking:

Porn is to trafficking as cigarettes are to cancer. #StopTheDemand

With its subtle color palette and bold message, this tee highlights a simple truth that is difficult for many people in our pornified society to grasp: like the heavy link between smoking and cancer, the porn industry and the global crisis of sex trafficking go hand in hand. One industry fuels the other, and vice versa.

What This Shirt Means

This is the reality of what the porn industry fuels: real people being sexually abused and exploited at the hands of family members and pimps. Each click to porn content directly fuels the demand for sex traffickers to make money by selling videos of their sex slaves to porn sites. But what about major porn studios and porn sites—aren’t they completely separate from the sex trafficking issue? Great question, we’re glad you asked.

The more the mainstream adult entertainment industry flourishes, the bigger the opposing globalized black market for porn will become. So the greater the demand for porn, even porn that was produced in professional studios (which, newsflash, also abuse their performers), the more sex traffickers will want to profit from that porn demand, and the more they’ll exploit vulnerable people to get there.

Related5 Real Stories Of Porn Performers Who Were Trafficked Into The Industry

Those who never intended to become a part of the porn industry find themselves trapped, pimped out, and worse. Some people never recover, leaving their family and friends trying to understand how their loved ones ever got involved in the first place and being marked for life even by an indirect connection to porn. And those that make it out? They—and their families—have to deal with the fallout of being in the porn industry after all the lies that drew them into the industry in the first place are long gone.

At the end of the day, watching just isn’t worth contributing to the demand for sex trafficking. This is why we’re speaking up about it and fighting against the harms porn fuels in society.

Response Tips When Someone Asks About Your Bold #StopTheDemand Tee

One thing can’t be denied about these shirts—they are quite the conversation-starter, and they will turn heads. Some people’s reactions will be positive, some negative, and some will just genuinely want to know more. If you have one of our classic Porn Kills Love tees, you know the feeling: you’re walking in a public place and everyone’s eyes seem to be darting at your shirt and you know it is only a matter of time before someone asks you what the bold statement on your shirt means.

Related“You’re Gonna Be A Star”: The Day I Was Raped On A Porn Set

Basically, the point of our #StopTheDemand tee is more than just looking awesome and repping an important message, it’s being able to start conversations about porn’s connection to sex trafficking and getting this message out into the open. We created these bold tees with THAT purpose in mind. We wanted these tees to grab attention and encourage people to talk about something that isn’t widely known or acknowledged by the general public.

RelatedThe Problem With Saying “If You Don’t Like Porn, Don’t Watch It”

While we like to think we do a good job at sharing research and personal stories that illustrate the connection of porn and sex trafficking, we realize some Fighters might be having trouble putting into words exactly what the shirt means and how to address the issue themselves.

Don’t worry, Fighters. We’ve got your back. Check out a few common questions you may get, and some choice answers you can give in response:

1. Question: Is your shirt saying that porn is the only cause of sex trafficking?

Answer: Nope! Absolutely not. Cigarettes aren’t the only thing to cause cancer, of course, and porn isn’t the only thing causing sex trafficking. However, like there is a proven link between cigarettes and cancer, there is a proven link between sex trafficking and the porn industry.

This doesn’t mean that the commercialized sex trade is the exclusive, sole reason why people are sex trafficked, just like cigarettes are not the sole exclusive reason that people have cancer, but there is an undeniable link between the two issues. There are many causes and factors that go into the issue of sex trafficking, and pornography is something that fuels the demand for the globalized black market sex trade. This is why fighting the demand for porn is also fighting the demand for sex trafficking.

2. Question: What does porn have to do with sex trafficking?

Answer: Did you know that there have been many cases where porn actors were actually trafficked and/or coerced into performing on camera?

Obviously, human trafficking is an underground business, making firm statistics hard to come by. But the facts in cases that come to light are chilling. For example, in 2011, two Miami men were found guilty of spending five years luring women into a human trafficking trap. They would advertise modeling roles, then when women came to try out, they would drug them, kidnap them, rape them, videotape the violence, and sell it to pornography stores and businesses across the country. [1] Not to mention that a very popular Japanese porn company was busted last year for forcing dozens of unsuspecting women into shooting porn. They advertised the porn shoots as modeling opportunities, made the models sign complicated contracts, and then blackmailed and forced these women into degrading and abusive shoots. One woman was even forced to perform in over 100 pornographic movies. How is that okay?

If you want the hard numbers on how porn and sex trafficking are linked, read this blog post.

3. Question: If you don’t like porn, don’t watch it. It doesn’t hurt anyone; it’s a personal choice. Why are you telling people what to do?

Answer A: Porn supports the demand for sex trafficking.

Think about this: By some estimates, 4.5 million people are trapped or forced into sexual exploitation globally. It’s easy to believe that porn doesn’t hurt anyone if you believe the people being filmed are participating of their own free will and choice,  but there have been countless reported incidents in which performers were coerced and threatened into performing sexual acts which were then filmed/photographed and sold as porn. And, a 2004 study showed that men who had viewed porn within the last year were two times more likely to seek out a prostitute. And a majority of prostitutes report that their male customers often show them porn in order to demonstrate what they want to do. Porn, prostitution and sex trafficking are all linked in ways that the general public doesn’t like to think about, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Answer B: Porn encourages violence while showing that it is pleasurable for those who receive it.

A study analyzing the fifty most popular porn videos showed that over 88% of them contained scenes of violence, and almost every time, the violence was met with expressions of pleasure rather than pain. Porn teaches viewers that violence is normal, and even pleasurable. Porn numbs people to the seriousness of violence, including domestic abuse and rape. And, the number of child on child sexual abuse cases that are being directly tied to porn is rising at a pretty alarming rate. In the UK last year, the number of reported rape and sexual assault cases that were carried out by young children doubled, and those cases were directly linked to porn’s influence on the assailant.

Join Us In Fighting To #StopTheDemand

Our aim is to raise as much awareness as possible that porn is anything but harmless entertainment, and it definitely isn’t just a private or personal issue.

Countless people have come forward and detailed their humiliating, abusive experiences with being trafficked into the industry, and it’s time we speak out about it. So many people in society, especially in our tech-obsessed generation, believe that porn really isn’t a big deal and it isn’t hurting anyone. In reality, we are learning that it is just the opposite. It is harmful the viewer, but it’s also harmful for those who are involved in its production. Help us in stopping the demand and fighting for healthy relationships.

What YOU Can Do

Join us in raising awareness that porn and sex trafficking are linked. SHARE this post and grab a tee to spread the word and take a stand!

Spark Conversations

This movement is all about changing the conversation about pornography. When you rep a tee, you can spark meaningful conversation on porn’s harms and inspire lasting change in individuals’ lives, and our world. Are you in?

Support the movement, rep a tee. Click here to shop:

Citations

[1] U.S. Department Of Justice. (2012). Two Men Sentenced To Multiple Life Sentences For Enticing Women To South Florida To Engage In Commercial Sex Acts And Distributing Date Rape Pills. Press Release, Feb. 17.

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