The average person may not see a need to further educate themselves on how the sex industry works. Many people assume that it will never affect them. While humanitarian efforts to end sex trafficking have brought this issue to the forefront, being informed about the sex industry is more important than most people may know.
It is fairly common for the sex industry and sex trafficking to get confused. While there is quite a bit of crossover between the two subjects, there are some important distinctions to be made between the sex industry and sex trafficking.
What Is the Sex Industry?
Generally, the sex industry is understood as the sector of the economy populated by sex workers: prostitutes, nude dancers, telephone sex operators, adult film stars, and all other employees involved in the production and distribution thereof.
While sex trafficking is exclusively comprised of unwilling participants, the sex industry is an elective career path for many people.
This does not mean, however, that abuse and exploitation do not occur within the sex industry. It is quite common that prostitutes, exotic dancers, and adult film actors are unwilling participants and victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
Many porn actors are coerced into working in this industry by sex traffickers and are subjected to sexual abuse, resulting in enormous emotional trauma for the profit of the sex industry. It is also not uncommon for minors to be forced into the sex industry and made to participate in adult films as underage victims.
The same can also be true of sex workers such as dancers and prostitutes. Many are trafficked and forced to perform sexual acts against their will for the profit of their “employer”. These individuals are sometimes trafficked at young ages and coerced into the sex industry at the risk of deportation, or through mental and emotional abuse and manipulation.
How Does it Affect Me?
Assuredly, if you are someone who watches porn, you may be complicit in funding another person’s exploitation. While it is true that some adult film actors are willing participants, you may also want to consider what the consumption of pornography does to shape your views of sex and sexuality.
When pornographic videos depict graphic, violent, and otherwise exploitative sexual encounters, it can normalize those behaviors in your mind. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you will become a monster or a sexual deviant, it’s important to ensure that you have healthy views of sexuality – a view that you are unlikely to find presented in pornography.
The same is true for participation in other facets of the sex industry. Facilitating the services of prostitutes, exotic dancers, and other sex workers may very well contribute to a multi-billion dollar industry fueled by the exploitation and abuse of vulnerable people.
What I Can Do?
You don’t have to be an undercover officer to help assuage the global pain often caused by the sex industry.
One of the easiest and most important things you can do as a consumer is to be aware of what you’re financially supporting. If you don’t want to contribute to the exploitation of vulnerable people, do not engage with products of the sex industry. Don’t risk being complicit in the abuse of vulnerable people.
You can also help to counteract the harmful effects of the sex industry by informing yourself about sex trafficking, how to spot it, and how to guard yourself and others against it.
If you are involved in the sex industry and are looking for hope in the darkness of your situation, TheHopeLine’s Hope Coaches are available to help. We are here to provide a listening ear and to offer encouragement with the truth about God’s love for you.