Addressing child sex trafficking, pornography

Isaac Martin, Political Contributor

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In the time it takes you to read this, at least one U.S. child has been trafficked. It is estimated that, every year, more than 100,000 children are sold into the nightmare of prostitution and forced pornography. This is a staggering number, greater than the populations of Auburn Hills, Oxford, Pontiac, Rochester Hills and Bloomfield Hills combined.

Joshua was one of these children. When he was only five years old, he and his 10-year-old sister Cindy (both names have been changed) were kidnapped from their home in America and brought to Mexico. They were used as toys in drug cartel “parties,” being horribly abused by groups of men. It was a hopeless situation.

They were traumatized by the sexual violence and lonely aching for love after being separated from their family. Every day was filled with dread over the impending horrors that were sure to come when darkness fell. Then, a miracle happened.

One night, during one of the parties, a wealthy American came to inspect and purchase child sex slaves.He picked several children to take back home to the U.S. As soon as he bought them, however, several more men burst into the room and rushed toward the children. At first, Joshua was petrified, thinking the men were there to use him.

But this wasn’t an exchange, it was a sting! The American was an undercover U.S. agent working to free them, and the other men were his associates. When Joshua realized this, he ran to the American, grabbed him by the neck and wouldn’t let go. The awful dream was ending, and morning had come for him and his sister.

Though Joshua’s story is true, it is not the norm.

Steve Wagner, former director of the Human Trafficking Program at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, estimates that a quarter of a million kids are used for the purpose of commercial sex exploitation each year. What is to be done about this? What can we do to help more Joshuas?

The first thing we can do, and I want to talk specifically to men here, is decrease the demand. Around 83 percent of young adult males look at pornography one-to-two times a month, and at least 64 percent view it at least once a week.

“But how does looking at porn enslave a teen girl?” you may ask. Porn helps the trafficking industry in two ways.

First, every year, over 100,000 girls are forced into prostitution and pornography in the U.S. In the era of chatrooms and webcams, the line between the two is increasingly blurred. The greater the demand for pornography, the higher the necessary supply.

Second, according to neuroscientist Dr. William Struthers, “continued use of pornography literally erodes the prefrontal region of the brain, responsible for our willpower.” Eventually, over time, your brain can literally be deformed by the excess levels of dopamine, greatly reducing your ability to make judicious decisions. Porn takes average guys and, given enough time, can turn us into sex addicts.

If we are serious about shutting down the trafficking industry, the buck has got to stop here, guys. Face it, if there was no demand, there would be no supply.

The second thing we all can do, girls and guys, is to support groups combatting this “peculiar institution,” as Abraham Lincoln dubbed the slave trade. Fortunately, we don’t have to look far. Oakland University is home to Freedom Fighters 6.12, an student organization that aims to combat this modern-day specter by raising awareness and equipping individuals.

Whether you are a guy like me who is struggling to overcome pornography, an average person just being introduced to this travesty or maybe a victim of this barbarous trade, we all have a part to play in this fight for freedom.

As William Wilberforce once said, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” Let us fight, my friends.