The Rise Of Sex Trafficking in Pornography

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Eloise Gordon

In America, there are 40 million people who support the porn industry by watching videos and looking at pictures provided by any of the 42 million porn websites available on the internet. Recently, the platform that has reserved 12% of the websites in the world is facing some backlash and more then usual. So much that the entire industry is at risk of being “canceled.”

 

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, sex trafficking has been on the rise and so has the success of the porn industry, up until now. Last month the New York Times released the chilling reality of the collaboration between the sex trafficking and pornography industries. Thousands of people have come out with stories sharing that their experiences facing sex trafficking, rape and sexual assault have come back to haunt them on mainstream porn websites such as pornhub. Rose Kalemba, who was kidnapped and raped, found videos of her assault on pornhub with hundreds of thousands of views. Kalemba is someone who has just recently come out with stories of what happened to her years ago.

 

 The outpouring of people sharing their stories that have happened for years now, as well as the fact that in nine countries, 49% of sexually exploited women said that they were filmed for pornography while they were being sold for sex, has been a big factor in the creation of #cancel porn. On the social media platform Tik Tok, videos created with the hashtag have a total of over 71 million views. Predators that are a part of the sex trafficking industry seem to have the mindset that if they are going to participate in trafficking, they may as well gain as much money as possible. As the years and months go on, it is seeming that websites within the porn industry are a threat to many people in society – especially towards teenagers and women. On the website pornhub, it was found that the keyword “teen” has remained in the ten most popular searched terms on the website for the past ten years. 

 

Why there can’t be a fair balance

One of the biggest problems about videos of sex trafficking being released on pornography websites is that technically most pornography websites are not in the wrong, at least not legally. An anonymous lawyer explained to me that various websites and social media platforms have the option of monitoring what is posted on their platforms or letting people post whatever they want. Websites such as Twitter and Youtube have chosen to monitor what is posted on their platforms, to hire people to ensure that what is being posted abides to their guidelines. However, the vast majority of pornography websites have not chosen this option. It can be really challenging for people who run these websites to see if everything being posted and everything going on in videos is safe and consensual. This can be for several reasons, including the fact that it can be common for people to lie about what is going on in videos. For example, people can put key words like “teen” and “youth” to gain more traction, views and money, even when no one in the videos are teenagers. The other reason why it would be challenging for people who run pornography websites to take control about what is being posted is the livelihood of the one million sex workers in America. If pornography websites are constantly taking posts down of people who are trying to grow a career, it can be extremely harmful. 

 

If pornography websites take more control, they risk hurting innocent sex workers. If they continue what they are currently doing, more and more people are going to find non-consensual videos of them on the internet. Regardless, both the porn and sex traficking industries are growing increasingly unsafe and there needs to be a balance.