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Dawn Hawkins

Opinion

The porn industry’s opposition to condoms reveals it cares about only one thing: profit

Dawn Hawkins

November 10, 2016 (EndSexualExploitation) -- Proposition 60, a California ballot proposition which would have required that condoms be used and visible in all pornographic films, failed to pass on Tuesday. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation calls on human rights and health activists to continue their campaign for performer health and well-being.

"Pornography pundits may have won on Prop 60, but we stand with the new generation of human rights activists advocating for the abolition of an industry built on the intersection of mental, physical, and sexual trauma,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Even if Prop 60 had passed, there is no condom that could protect performers from the myriad of harms intrinsic to pornography production. Pornography is causing a public health crisis in America, and the negative effects are felt by not only pornography users and those around them, but the pornography performers as well.”

“The pornography industry is not the glamorous experience that its paid ambassadors claim. As a 2011 study found, ‘Female adult film performers have significantly worse mental health and higher rates of depression than other California women of similar ages.’ And, another study reported that pornography performers experience physical trauma on the film set, often leave the industry with financial insecurity and mental health problems, and also experience health risks that aren’t limited to sexually transmitted diseases.”

“Moreover, the pornography industry’s strong opposition to Prop 60, crystalizes what we already know—the industry cares about profits, not their performers,” Hawkins continued. “Research has found that pornography performers have a ‘high burden’ of sexually transmitted disease. This burden includes and extends well beyond the risk of HIV infection. As the researchers reported, ‘Undiagnosed asymptomatic rectal and oropharyngeal STIs were common and are likely reservoirs for transmission to sexual partners inside and outside the workplace. Performers should be tested at all anatomical sites irrespective of symptoms, and condom use should be enforced to protect workers in this industry.’”

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“This is hardly surprising. But, what other industry would insist that its employees ingest or be covered in semen on a regular basis, and risk a myriad of harms to their physical health? Firemen, law enforcement officials, and healthcare professionals all wear special protective gear, but pornography performers have been left without even the most basic protections for their physical health. The dark and dangerous nature of the pornography industry is clear. Profiting from sexual exploitation is the industry’s only concern.”

You can learn more about the public health crisis of pornography here: endsexualexploitation.org/publichealth

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