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How Child Sexual Exploitation & the Adult Entertainment Industry Are Linked

By May 8, 2017 August 10th, 2018 No Comments
TRIGGER WARNING
At first glance, adult pornography and child pornography may seem completely separate issues, separate industries. After all, it’s a felony to even possess child pornography in the U.S., let alone view it, while anyone 18 or older can view legal forms of adult entertainment without worrying about being hunted down by law enforcement.

However, child porn and adult porn are much more interconnected than you would think.

For instance, think about this—one of the most-searched terms on the world’s largest porn site is “teen.” While the actors portrayed are generally not actually underaged, the content sexualizes the abuse and manipulation of adolescents. One of the more common scenarios within the popular “teen” porn genre is a teenage girl getting taken advantage of by an older male—and in countless cases, this is the actual scenario, not a scripted fantasy. This is an easily accessible porn category on most porn sites, and its popularity is only growing. Additionally, there can be an overlap in child versus adult content. For example, in one real life example, a man initially viewing adult websites accidentally came across material depicting actual child sexual abuse. Shocked and curious, he found himself pursuing more child pornography [1].

Related: The Internet’s Most Popular Genre of Porn is Disturbing…

Child pornography has become more prevalent than we ever could have imagined; the people who actually get caught for possessing it are only the tip of the iceberg. The exploitation of minors for commercial purposes is a business that has been virally expanding on the web for years, and the material is getting worse and more hardcore every year. In 2008, Internet Watch Foundation found 1,536 individual child abuse domains. According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, every week, there are over 20,000 images of child pornography posted on the web. Furthermore, U.S Customs Services estimates that illegal child pornography is offered by approximately 100,000 websites. According to a 2009 United Nations Human Rights Council Report, the production and distribution of child pornography has an estimated value of between $3 billion and $20 billion. It’s a booming business, and its effects are spreading quickly.

Like one survivor of child exploitation, Jessa. For most of her life, she faced sexual abuse at the hands of her own family members. They were part of a group who sexually abused her as a child, and after growing up in an environment where she was repeatedly exploited through child pornography, she was forced into sex trafficking and performing for pornographers. Jessa was taken to different cities and countries and sold to friends and pimps.

And while Jessa’s story is heartbreaking, she isn’t alone. Just recently in Toronto, Canada, nearly 400 children were rescued and 348 adults arrested following a massive international child pornography investigation that took down a $4 million child porn production empire that distributed its illegal content to over 50 countries worldwide. Police seized over 45 terabytes of child porn in the bust. What was most alarming about this case? Many of the arrests were of people who worked with or closely interacted with children. Among those arrested were 40 school teachers, nine doctors and nurses, six law enforcement personnel, nine pastors and priests, and three foster parents.

The connection between adult and child pornography

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) compiled a qualitative review of over one hundred scientific studies, court cases and personal accounts detailing the effects of adult pornography on the sexual exploitation of children. Covering a wide range of factors, from the escalating nature of pornography addiction, to pornography’s role in pedophilia and child abuse, the review provides a chilling glimpse into the world of child pornography and its users.

The review cited court cases that reveal the pattern of escalation that these individuals undergo. For many, what initially began as a fascination with adult pornography, progressed to an involvement with child pornography. The following accounts are excerpts from three separate court cases. They demonstrate how an involvement with adult pornography can escalate into darker behaviors:

“From a young age I had access to pornography. My parents had a suitcase locked away with pornography in it. My brother and I found the key and I would frequently get it unbeknownst to my parents. This coupled with my curiosity about girls was the impetus for my porn addiction. In college I continued to purchase porn but it wasn’t until the Internet that I really developed an insatiable appetite for it. It was so easy to get…I found others who loved porn and would steer me towards various sites. I would look up any type of porn I could think of. I found myself wanting more original/amateur and unique pics…It wasn’t till someone sent me a child pornography picture that I gained a curiosity for it. It spiraled out of hand as I found it so easy to obtain. I tried numerous times to delete all porn and not look but I always went back. I spent hours upon hours looking and talking online and had even skipped classes or gone in late to work because of it.” [2]

Related: Understanding the Growing Problem of Child Porn

“One of the men arrested, [Defendant], who…allegedly abused his 18-month-old daughter — said he started watching child pornography after getting “burned out” by regular porn. He needed something more titillating. Something a little sicker. That’s not that unusual for people addicted to Internet porn. Researchers have been finding that Internet porn addicts can build up a tolerance to it and need more and more stimulation. ‘There is something physiologically addicting about it, the flickering images’ compared with looking at photos or porn magazines’, says California psychologist Dr. Barry Gordon.” [3]

“In the privacy of his apartment, he watched [adult] pornography. Eventually, he found child pornography. He mainly watched the adult stuff, but sometimes searched out the forbidden images of children. He got everything through a file sharing service, so he rationalized that because he wasn’t paying for it, he wasn’t…supporting the industry.” [4]

In each case, the defendant’s issues began with an exposure and attraction to pornography. Over time, the thrill of regular adult pornography wore off—it wasn’t enough anymore. To quote one defendant, he became “burned out.” So, they pushed the limits, and pursued heavier and heavier material to satisfy their growing struggle and growing need for more illicit material.

Why this matters

It is important to note, however, that we are not suggesting that every person that views pornography will develop aggressive or abusive tendencies, or eventually be aroused by child porn. Rather, we are highlighting the scientific, empirical evidence and anecdotal evidence that tells us how viewing pornography can accelerate such a process and lead viewers into unexpectedly uncharted territory.

Along with evidence of the escalating nature of pornography addiction, The NCOSE review also includes scientific research detailing the effects of even “regular” porn on the attitudes and beliefs of viewers. Dr. Joseph Buchman of the University of Indiana conducted a study analyzing how non-violent pornography affected the sexual attitudes of viewers [6]. The results of the study were shocking— when the participants viewed pornography, they developed substantially more callous attitudes towards both sexual child abuse and sexual assault of women.

We often hear people claiming that a simple porn habit couldn’t possibly impact people around us. After all, it’s not like it’s hurting anybody, right?

Not exactly.

The personal accounts and empirical evidence agree—porn is not healthy for you. At the very least, viewing pornography can impact your beliefs, attitudes, and behavior, changing how you see yourself and others. However, its impacts can go far beyond that. The $97 billion dollar global porn industry fuels the demand for sexual exploitation of all kinds, whether it be from trafficked boys, girls, men and women, to commercial sexual exploitation of children. What may begin as a curiosity with adult pornography could potentially escalate into an even darker world of pedophilia, sexual exploitation, and child abuse. It is becoming increasingly clear that the adult entertainment and child pornography industries are more tightly intertwined than we have been led to believe. It’s time to take a stand.

What YOU Can Do

Clicking pornography directly supports the demand for sexual exploitation. SHARE this article to protect the children that are being exploited, trafficked, and abused.

Citations

[1] Herbeck, Dan. “Quadriplegic spared prison in porn case.” Buffalo news. 1 Dec. 2008.
[2]  United States v. Honnold, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7025 (N.D. Ohio).
[3] J. Hunter, “Pedophiles haunt Internet porn sites,” Chicago Sun Times, 22 March 2006.
[4] McClellan, Bill. “Child Pornography cases: Measuring the time for the crime.” St. Louis Post- Dispatch. 9 Nov. 2008.
[5] Hedges, V. L., Chakravarty, S., Nestler, E. J., And Meisel, R. L. (2009). DeltaFosB Overexpression In The Nucleus Accumbens Enhances Sexual Reward In Female Syrian Hamsters. Genes Brain And Behavior 8, 4: 442–449; Bostwick, J. M. And Bucci, J. E. (2008). Internet Sex Addiction Treated With Naltrexone. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 83, 2: 226–230; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 108; Mick, T. M. And Hollander, E. (2006). Impulsive-Compulsive Sexual Behavior. CNS Spectrums, 11(12):944-955; Nestler, E. J. (2005). Is There A Common Molecular Pathway For Addiction? Nature Neuroscience 9, 11: 1445–1449; Leshner, A. (1997). Addiction Is A Brain Disease And It Matters. Science 278: 45–7.
[6] J.G. Buchman, “Effects of repeated exposure to nonviolent erotica on attitudes about sexual child abuse”. Ph.D. dissertation submitted to and approved by Indiana University, Bloomington, 1988 [available from UMI Dissertation Services](cited in J.B. Weaver III, “Pornography and sexual callousness: The perceptual and behavioral consequences of exposure to pornography,” in D. Zillman, J. Bryant & A.C. Huston (Eds.), Media, Children, and the Family: Social Scientific, Psychodynamic and Clinical Perspectives (pp. 215-228), Erlbaum, 1994.)

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