January is National Slavery and
Human Trafficking Prevention Month
The U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking recently held a webinar about the Stop Trafficking Project. This a group of modern-day abolitionists combatting domestic minor sex trafficking. Their goal is to, “End it before it starts.”
Russ Tuttle, the president of the Stop Trafficking Project, spoke about pornography and its relationship to sex trafficking. He said, “If we do not have a realistic understanding of the role that pornography plays…. If we don’t attack pornography, then we really have no right combatting sex trafficking.”
Porn viewing increases the demand for sex trafficking and the National Human Trafficking Hotline reported that pornography was the 3rd-most common form of sex trafficking. A disturbing fact is that more than 1 in 5 victims of sex trafficking are children, and of those that are forced into the porn industry, the average age of starting is 12. Also distressing is the fact that pornography is becoming increasingly violent and dehumanizing. Sadly, some young people are growing up believing that fear, pain, and domination are a normal part of sexual behavior.
Unfortunately, porn has become acceptable and mainstream in our culture. Celebrities glamorize the hypersexuality of women and applaud the objectification of women and girls. This helps fuel the demand for sex buying and encourages girls to imitate the seductive behavior they see in music videos and on social media.
Tuttle recently spoke at a Catholic high school. After that presentation, eleven juniors and seniors approached him to push back at what he’d said. They told him that they actually felt empowered taking their clothes off and sending pictures to men through Snapchat and Instagram. After asking them a few questions and talking to them about how they really felt, many of the girls began weeping, showing him the cut marks on their arms from self-harm. At another school assembly last month, a fifth grader told Tuttle that she had been using the Omegle app to chat with adult men who convinced her to send nude pictures to them. They were also trying to get her to meet them in person.
The grooming of young girls and boys online and through phone apps is increasingly common, with some eventually being blackmailed and trafficked. The Stop Trafficking Project is working hard to end it.... before it starts.
We can find encouragement in the words of former slave and abolitionist, Harriet Tubman who said, "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
To find out more about the fight against trafficking and pornography visit:
Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
~St. Luke Life, Justice and Peace Ministry