THE BLOG
11/19/2014 04:53 pm ET Updated Jan 19, 2015

How Pornography Fuels Exploitation

Porn is bad. That seems to be the general consensus. Typically people don't broadcast their pornographic habits because something in us says that indulging in porn is inherently wrong. Or so I thought.

My assumption that our society was on the same page about this was confronted during a discussion in my human sexuality class last week.

A classmate said she thought porn had become so normalized it no longer had a negative connotation. She had come to notice the prevalence of looking at pornography, especially among men and didn't think it to be bad anymore.

She thought masturbation was just fine, so porn must be, too, to meet sexual needs and desires. She said she didn't care if her boyfriend looked at porn, nor does her boyfriend care if she chose to look at porn.

I see the logic, I really do and she really got me thinking.

After contemplating her ideas in my shell-shocked mind, I remained with my first instinct -- pornography is unacceptable.

Why?

We've all heard the classic arguments against pornography. It objectifies women. It contradicts the morals of religions. We've seen it tear families apart. These are all good reasons to hate porn.

But let's consider one more perspective on pornography that often goes overlooked.

When we indulge in porn, we allow and promote the process of making pornographic material that exploits the girls and women involved.

Before we justify pornography with our selfish desires and pleasures, think about the real people behind the magazine page and the real suffering behind the screen. The implication of the porn industry is human sex trafficking and bondage.

In my research as a modern abolitionist, I've seen that human sex trafficking is linked time and time again to prostitution. In the context of sex trafficking, an individual finds him or herself trapped and prostitution ceases to be a decision. Sex becomes forced.

Prostitution is then linked to pornography. Trafficked victims become the subjects for pornographic videos and pictures, whether they like it or not, for our viewing pleasure. It is a vicious cycle of abuse with no way out.

Fight the New Drug is a movement that advocates ending pornography. "In the end, porn fuels prostitution; and porn and prostitution are the products the sex trade exists to deliver," the website said.

Exploitation infests the production of pornography. Exploitation also pervades the consumption of pornography.

An unhappy husband turns to pornography to be sexually aroused. His wife may not care, like my classmate. Still, her husband is becoming obsessed with sex on a 2D level. When that doesn't satisfy, sex with another human being becomes his desire.

The next step is a call for an escort service, a lap dance from a stripper, intercourse with a prostitute.

When the unhappy, sex-starved husband meets with a prostitute, he is client number who-knows-what for the night for the exploited woman stuck in the sex industry.

The prostitutes often have abusive pasts, are brainwashed by their pimp and are trapped as slaves.

What's the root of all of this? Porn. It is the first step in the process of dehumanizing women to the point of exploitation.

I'm tired of the jokes my journalism professor makes in class. "You know what those women are doing at the corner of North Avenue and MLK, right?" My classmates laugh.

Yes, we know what they are doing. And apparently we all think it's funny. Are the forced activities of the most vulnerable and exploited females in our society funny?

When we laugh we spit in the faces of the women and girls. We say, "I have more dignity than you." When I simplify our actions to the last sentence, it somehow becomes wrong, not a joke anymore. That's because it is wrong.

Instead, let's value everyone's dignity. Let's boycott the pornography industry and care about the people who cannot escape from their exploiters.

Put down the magazine and block the sites.