Cover photo from CBS Channel 6. 4 minute read.

Convicted child sex trafficker from Colorado was sentenced to 472 years in prison just last month, the longest sentence for a human trafficking case in U.S. history, according to a report by local Fox news station in Denver.

Brock Franklin, 31, was found guilty of 30 counts, including soliciting for child prostitution, sexual assault, and kidnapping by an Arapahoe County jury in March. He was the ring leader in a sex trafficking ring that involved seven other traffickers statewide in Colorado.

Franklin recruited young girls and women from Facebook, and forced them into prostitution, physically abusing them if they fought him or refused to comply.

RelatedWhy Fighting Sex Trafficking Absolutely Includes Fighting Pornography

“A 400-year sentence sends a strong message across the country that we’re not going to tolerate this kind of violence to women and vulnerable populations,” Janet Drake with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office said.

The indictment shows drugs were used to control the women and girls, and they had to meet a daily quota. Franklin forced them to have sex with him, then he’d sell their services online.

“I can’t begin to even explain what he did to my life,” one of the victims, Breahannah Leary, said.

Three girls and five women cooperated with prosecutors during the case, which was brought under Colorado’s Organized Crime Control Act. Authorities believe more women were victimized.

Shining A Light on Trafficking

We bring this issue to light because awareness is a powerful tool in this fight against sexual exploitation. The fact is, this issue is not only global—it’s local. And we can’t tell you how many people don’t believe us when we tell them one of the negative aspects of pornography is how it fuels the demand for prostitution and human sex trafficking. Or that sex trafficking happens here, in the United States, in communities everywhere.

RelatedWhy Fighting Sex Trafficking Absolutely Includes Fighting Pornography

And on top of the disbelief, we live in a world that needs to see hard numbers to legitimize an issue. Unfortunately, since sex trafficking is an underground business, those numbers are hard to come by. But a lot of what we do know about the current state of the industry comes from survivors, and they have a lot to say about how widespread this issue is, and how porn was largely connected to or included in their trafficking.

– By some estimates, 4.5 million people are trapped or forced into sexual exploitation globally. (International Labor Organization)

– In one survey, 63% of underage sex trafficking victims said they had been advertised or sold online. (Thorn)

– And 70% of underage trafficking victims say that pornography was made of them while enslaved. (Thorn)

– Sex trafficking is big business—it generates $99 billion annually, just from commercial sexual exploitation alone. (International Labor Organization)

Here’s a real-life example. In the Netherlands, investigators were able to calculate the profit generated by two sex traffickers from a number of victims. One trafficker earned $18,148 per month from four victims (for a total of $127,036) while the second trafficker earned $295,786 in the 14 months that three women were sexually exploited according to the OSCE.

RelatedOne Simple Rule That Could Stop The Demand For Sexual Exploitation

What does any of this have to do with porn? It means that exploiting vulnerable people for profit in the sex industry is a sure way to make a lot of money. And seeing as the porn industry is worth an estimated $97 billion on its own, it’s clear why many traffickers choose to capitalize on the opportunity.

The Connection Between Porn, Prostitution, and Trafficking

According to anti-trafficking nonprofit, Rescue:Freedom, in 9 countries, 49% of trafficking survivors said that pornography was made of them while they were in prostitution, and 47% said they had been harmed by men who had either forced or tried to force their victims to do things the men had seen in porn.

The reality is that prostitution, sex trafficking, and porn are more closely linked than society would believe. The truth is that sex trafficking is a global issue, and it is only made worse by pornography. Any form of sexual exploitation only fuels the demand for the sex trade as a whole.

 RelatedBy The Numbers: Which Country Is Watching The Most Internet Porn?

In the end, porn fuels prostitution; and porn and prostitution are the products the sex trade exists to deliver.

Now, we’re not claiming that all porn is non-consensual. We’re just pointing out that some of it is and some of it isn’t, and when you watch it there’s no real way to know which is which.

And because porn is tied to exploitation, we fight to bring awareness to the fact that porn isn’t harmless entertainment, and the porn industry wouldn’t be where it is today without sex trafficking and prostitution.

Why This Matters

If this news story out of Colorado shows us anything, it’s that trafficking is everywhere. It’s in our local neighborhoods, our communities, and even in the people we interact with on a regular basis. And because of that, each one of us has a responsibility to know the facts, and spot the signs when we see them. Education is power in this fight for love and healthy relationships.

Take up the challenge to be aware and bold in ending the demand for sexual exploitation.

What YOU Can Do

Sex trafficking is a local issue, as well as an international one. SHARE this article and get the word on porn’s connection to sexual exploitation.

Inspire Lasting Change

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 up for the challenge? Check out all our styles in our online store, or click below to shop:

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