Sometimes I don’t even know where to begin. Sometimes it feels too big, too impossible, and too unrealistic. It is easy to feel small and insignificant in the face of global injustices. But to give in to the fear would be the greater injustice.
I first became aware of human trafficking on a visit to Thailand in 2011. We were visiting friends of ours who had established a home for children at risk. Seeing their world, their reality, I couldn’t comprehend what I was learning. It seemed so unreal that the kids I was playing with could be trafficked, sold, and prostituted. These were just words to me, which I couldn’t consolidate with the faces.
And it send me on this journey. And I haven’t been able to sit still since.
Many people wonder what would make a young Aussie girl want to get involved in this subject. It seems so distant and separate from our lives in Australia. But the main thing I’ve learnt from all the reading, researching and talking with people from all walks of life, the more I’ve realized we’re already involved.
You and I are already involved.
When a plane crashes, it’s generally not caused by a single malfunction. It will involve a series of events, coinciding glitches, that when combined, lead to some of the most horrific and heartbreaking accidents.
Sex trafficking cannot exist by itself. It is the result of a system of problems, perpetuated at every level; global, national, and state, all the way down to the individual. There is no singular cause, and no individual person to blame. But this series of glitches and oversights needs to be addressed.
This may be controversial, but it needs to be said. If you believe that sex trafficking and sexual violence are problems, then you must consider prostitution and pornography the same way. These industries are two of the most significant forces driving the global trafficking industry today.
The line between legal and illegal prostitution is grey, if it exists at all. One industry cannot exist without the other. Prostitution depends on discrimination and exploitation to survive. Exploitation of vulnerabilities, of economic dysfunction, of mental health and of self-esteem. Meanwhile, we use throw away lines like “it’s empowering” and “they probably enjoy it”.
Trafficking for the purposes of pornography is on the rise, particularly increasing the demand for child trafficking. To keep up with the growing demand, porn producers will continue to push the limits until something changes. And so far it’s only getting worse; current research showing that porn use changes attitudes and behaviors of sexual aggression. Its little wonder domestic violence has become such a prominent public health issue.
How did we get here? When did violence in sex become the norm? When did we substitute sex education for porn?
Content of Internet Porn
· 88% Physical aggression
· 48% Verbal aggression
· 94.4% Violence against women
(Dr. Michael Flood, UNSW, 2016)
The way our culture views sex will define the way we have it. And our bureau of statistics show’s we’re abusing and assaulting each other in increasing rates.
I don’t want to be a part of that culture.
Our views need to change because violent and aggressive sex defies the definition of sexual health. We need to stop the silence, stop normalizing violence and stop the traffic.
- Bethany Parson