Got asked for my opinion on this post. Not linking to it because judging from the OP’s posts over the last day they’re just getting increasingly upset about people reblogging to disagree. Kindly don’t harass the OP with this post if you know who they are.
(built-in cw: nsfw due to open discussion of real and animated pornography, though there’s no graphic content. cp mention, pedophilia mention, human trafficking mention, sexual exploitation mention.)
This teen posted to say that a speaker from an organization called Traffic 911 came to their school and confirmed everything antis say about drawn cp and fictional, written/animated porn:
Before anything else, I have to give the OP points for their sheer audacity. by using vague language, they’ve asserted that you, random porny fanwork creator, are directly responsible for human sex trafficking because all porn increases demand! wow. (also yikes.) That’s bold, and probably doing the usual thing where smutty fic featuring adolescents over the age of consent having a sexual interaction with each other is no different from literal child porn.
but hey: they got it from somewhere, right? It seems reasonable to trust an organization fighting sex trafficking to have an educated position on porn. But as this post is thin on details and we have the organization name, let’s see what they’re about.
Traffick911.com is the only anti-trafficking organization that comes up if you search ‘traffic 911’ on Google. And they have two speaker programs aimed at teens: ‘traps’ And ‘hooked’. ‘Hooked’ is all about how porn affects the brain, apparently, and judging by the curriculum, is probably what the OP attended.
I can easily see how the OP of the capped post heard ‘fanworks about fictional teens are child porn and gateways to sex trafficking’ from this curriculum. So what are the resources on which this seminar is based?
Before we dig into these resources below, note that this is some classic SWERF argumentation going on here. ‘Porn is not a victimless indulgence’, it asserts. Well, no – if the people in porn are being exploited/are trafficking victims, then porn is not victimless. but this only highlights the importance of making the effort to obtain ethically produced porn, not a need to stop watching porn altogether.
The seminar’s strongest points seem to be about how developing a porn addiction is harmful to the addict – which, fair, addiction to anything is frequently harmful, and porn can become an addiction. but apart from that, the points run very thin or dovetail neatly with SWERF rhetoric: porn is bad and harmful and must be done away with.
- Fight the New Drug and their subscription-based app Fortify. Fortify is supposed to help people overcome porn addiction and their entire front page is dedicated to convincing people to try their new, updated services. Fight the New Drug features articles like ‘3 Reasons Why Animated Porn is Gaining Global Popularity’.
As this is the only reference provided by Traffick911′s ‘Hooked’ program that seems to have anything to do with porn that doesn’t feature real people, let’s take a look at this article in more depth.
First it helpfully tells us that all animated porn is ‘hentai’, which we should not look up because it’s just that gross. (wake me up when American imperialism is done telling us that all bad animated content comes from Japan.) it then goes on to explain that animated porn is just as bad as porn with real actors because
- people watch it specifically because it’s unrealistic. which is evidently bad because it creates grosser fantasies? or something? even though it’s animated porn viewers who themselves acknowledge the content is unrealistic, and therefore they presumably know not to try it irl.
- people who watch animated porn may lose interest in sex with real people. … look, if you’re trying to connect this back to how porn addiction creates demand and therefore increases sex trafficking, this is the opposite of proving your point. If animated porn makes potential rapists of trafficking victims uninterested in real people, isn’t that decreasing demand?
(is this a screencap from otaku no video? i could swear it’s a screencap from otaku no video.)
- animated porn lets people ‘justify’ their ‘porn habit’ because they don’t have to worry about whether or not the actors are okay. [link goes to the Glamour article they paraphrased for this part of the article. has explicit content in text.] so basically this isn’t about sex trafficking at all. this is about watching porn of any kind being a bad thing to do. sneaky.
- and finally – animated porn is bad because it’s a cartoon, and as we all know, all cartoons are for kids. which mean kids are totally going to end up watching animated porn. I … listen. has this author ever bothered to google ‘hentai dvd covers’? (don’t google it unless you’re 18+. seriously.) because I guarantee you, a minimal communication about what kinds of pictures you don’t click on with the kiddos will prevent them from making an error on this.
(We could also really do with the myth that ‘animation is only for kids’ being done away with. When has even US animation ever only been for kids? Warner Bros shorts were for adults, The Flintstones were for adults. The Simpsons are for adults … please. this is a ridiculous falsehood.)
In summary, this article presents a bunch of evidence that animated porn is, at worst, hurting the person who chooses to view it and summarizes with ‘but it’s still just as bad as porn with real actors because reasons!’
- Your Brain on Porn – website with links to lots of studies about the negative effects of porn on the viewer’s brain. I’m a little skeeved out by the top article comparing the minds of porn viewers to rats.
some of these may be worth a read, but I haven’t taken the time to take an in-depth dive into any of the studies to see how solid the methodology is. I clicked through the third link – ‘Studies Find Escalation and Habituation in Porn Users’ – which provided around 20 studies illustrating that habitual porn viewing tends to ‘escalate’ in the sense of moving from ‘vanilla’ to more kinky or ‘extreme’ porn. There was one link that stated that viewing adult/adult porn at too young an age might create a predisposition for viewing cp down the line; another asserted that the high availability of porn thanks to the internet might increase the likelihood of a map who is also attracted to adults discovering they are a map (only the abstract was visible ahead of a paywall, but despite a provocative title, it did not look like research had demonstrated that porn use created an interest in minors/prepubescent kids.
Under the 5th link on the front page, part of a summary reads: “multiple studies reveal a link between porn use and sexual performance problems and sexual dissatisfaction”. so, again: habitual porn use may decrease interest in participating in sexual activity yourself, which makes the link between porn addiction and contributing to sex trafficking demand rather tenuous.
And the final resource:
- pureHOPE – let’s just let their blurb speak for them: “[PureHope is] working with you to build a strong culture of purity and justice in your church, school, or group […] sharing with your team or group to equip you in the pursuit of purity and justice in our culture.”
well. at least PureHope is honest about being a Christian purity culture advocate.
and hey: I’ve asserted before that I think the hypersexualized messaging in contemporary US culture is harmful to young people. But the US flavor of hypersexualization plays heavily on the taboo of sexual desire and sexual acts created by purity culture. its power is in sex being forbidden and dangerous and, for young people especially, mysterious. the sad fact is that when the effort to keep children ‘pure’ is taken too far – to the point of never educating kids about sex or allowing normal, age-appropriate levels of curiosity to be satisfied – it sets young people up to be completely defenseless against the inappropriate levels of sexualization that come all too soon. Ignorance does not protect kids. Accurate, honest education does. (The sexual stuff will, for better or worse, exist either way!)
in conclusion: If you have a porn addiction, getting help is good, and I’m not saying that all porn is ethically produced by any means or that it’s entirely possible that viewing exploitative porn does potentially increase demand for trafficking. but ‘viewing teen porn and cp, even fictional […] directly influences the demand for human trafficking’ is, uh. not well supported, to say the least!
after clicking on that last link, though, I thought I’d take a closer look at traffick911. and, uh, what I found did not improve their credit with me.
I’ve cut the rest only because this post is already long and I’ve addressed the main point, but tl;dr: traffick911 is a borderline-openly Christian organization that supported FOSTA-SESTA. between their hooked seminar and its anti-porn, SWERF-rhetoric-compatible sources that twist their own data in bizarre ways, their disregard for the safety of sex workers who are not trafficked, and their open support for purity culture, we can derive the following:
- Traffick911 is not a reliable source of information regarding the effect of real, much less fictional/animated, porn on human trafficking, and
– When you source OP’s post, it ironically draws a clear, straight line from fandom anti culture to SWERF rhetoric to Christian fundamentalist purity culture.