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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Study: Porn consumers less likely to be concerned about human trafficking

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 24, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A new study survey confirms that the use of pornography, strip bar attendance, and participation in prostitution numb one's attitudes and beliefs about human trafficking.

Researchers from Northeastern University, Colorado College, and Texas Christian University have issued a report entitled "Identifying Effective Counter-Trafficking Programs and Practices in the U.S.: Legislative, Legal, and Public Opinion Strategies that Work," which surveys Americans nationwide.

"After more than a decade of sustained efforts to combat human trafficking in the United States, it is necessary to step back and examine the effectiveness of key anti-trafficking strategies," Drs. Vanessa Bouche, Amy Farrell, and Dana Wittmer reasoned.

Specifically, they surveyed "the effectiveness of state-level human trafficking legislation" to find out what results in "desired outcomes" and reviewed how state laws are being used to hold human traffickers accountable. They also drew conclusions about public knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about human trafficking.

To find out public knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs, the research team surveyed a representative sample of 2,000 Americans in the spring of 2014, with a goal of identifying what behaviors influence a greater or lesser concern for human trafficking.

One of their conclusions was that "[s]ex-related behaviors affect beliefs about human trafficking." Viewing pornography, strip bar attendance, and engaging in prostitution all contributed to a more laissez-faire attitude toward the practice of such "human slavery."

The study states, "Respondents who consumed pornography within the last year have more knowledge of human trafficking, but they think that it should be less of a government priority."

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Also, men who attended strip clubs considered human trafficking less problematic. The study concluded, "Respondents visiting a strip club within the last year reported lower levels of concern about human trafficking and thought that human trafficking should be less of a government priority than those respondents not visiting a strip club within the last year."

The research team drew similar conclusions regarding people who paid for sex.

"It is the public that generates the demand for both commercial sex and certain goods and services that makes trafficking in human beings among the most profitable enterprises in the world," the researchers stated. "Increased public awareness and engagement could have a large impact on reducing demand and driving traffickers out of business."

"Research has long demonstrated that pornography is linked to increased in prostitution and sex trafficking, largely because porn users often seek to act out what they have been watching," Haley Halverson, director of communications for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, told LifeSiteNews.

"Additionally, porn users demand a constant stream of new and often increasingly violent and fetishized content," Halverson continued. "In order to keep up with this demand, more women and children become prostituted and trafficked."

"Viewing pornography lends itself to a mindset that is more accepting of sex trafficking and prostitution because it conditions the user to see other human beings as objects that can be used for their own pleasure," Halverson explained. "Those who want to learn more about the connections between sex trafficking and pornography can learn more at StopTraffickingDemand.com."

The study researchers concluded that the public needs more education on human trafficking, specifically materials and ads that demonstrate the negative effects of trafficking on its victims. "Given the intimate relationship between public opinion and public policy, it is vital that we gauge what the public knows, thinks, and feels about human trafficking and uncover the mechanisms that make human trafficking a more salient issue for the general public."

Regarding accountability and prosecution, 37 percent of human trafficking suspects were also charged with pimping/pandering, 34 percent were also charged with prostitution, 29 percent were charged with sexual abuse or rape, and 17 percent of human trafficking suspects were also charged with kidnapping.

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