Porn & Sex Trafficking


As you read this, there are at least 12 million men, women, and children worldwide toiling in some form of slavery;[1] some experts believe as many as 27 million may be living as slaves.[2] Of that multitude, almost 1.4 million are repeatedly sold and raped in a violent and dehumanizing global sex industry.[3] According to the United Nations, 2 million children alone are prostituted in the commercial sex trade.[4]

The magnitude of the numbers cited above is eclipsed only by the magnitude of the injustice. It is shocking, and appropriately elicits moral outrage.

But should it shock us that such a reality exists? Should we be surprised? Like eighteenth-century British aristocrats who wept when confronted with the stench and suffering of the slave ships from which they profited, is it possible that attitudes and behavior in our modern consumer society fertilize the cultural soil in which the seeds of injustice germinate? And if so, how ought we to strive individually to alter those attitudes and behaviors?

This paper proposes answers to those questions as they relate to the issue of the global sex industry by shining a light upon the injustice of sex trafficking and the culture of sexual objectification that underlies it. Once the nature and scope of the sexual commodification of human beings is understood, it is possible to assess the impact of this reality on our individual and collective lives and to respond with conviction and efficacy. It is the thesis of this paper, and the central message of the p.u.r.e.JUSTICE initiative, that the necessary and primary response to the massive sexual exploitation existing today is a justice lifestyle centered upon personal sexual integrity and communal accountability.

Want to be informed and take action? Read on. But prepare first to peer into the blackness of commercial sexual exploitation. Be revolted. Be undone. Then commit to making a difference through prayer, understanding, resolve, and engagement.

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1 United States Department of State, 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report (“TIP Report”), p. 8. The International Labor Organization (“ILO”) estimates that there are at least 12.3 million adults and children in forced labor, bonded labor, and commercial sexual servitude.
2 Kevin Bales, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy (University of California Press, 2004), p. 8.
3 TIP Report, p. 8, citing ILO estimates.

4 TIP Report, p. 22, citing UNICEF estimates.