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WA Human Trafficking Sting Highlights Importance of New Law

A recent human trafficking sting in Washington State led to the arrest of 12 men, all of whom are being accused of trying to sexually exploit children.

The charges include attempted child rape, communication with a minor for immoral purposes, and commercial sex abuse of a minor.

The sting, which was conducted in Pierce County by Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force, involved officers posting and responding to sexual ads online, according to the Tacoma News Tribune. The officers impersonated “preteens or parents offering their children for sex.”

Officers say they rescued two children during the latest sting. Detective Sergeant Carlos Rodriguez, who runs the task force, told the Tacoma News Tribune that suspects who unknowingly meet with undercover officers often bring along children.

The recent sting highlights the need for recently passed legislation that helps protect those who are trafficked for sexual exploitation.

In addition to experiencing inconceivable trauma, victims of sex trafficking often find themselves with criminal records after being convicted of engaging in prostitution and other crimes.

Thankfully, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation earlier this week that allows victims of sex trafficking to petition the court to vacate their convictions stemming from their time being trafficked.

The new law empowers victims of sexual exploitation to begin the arduous process of rebuilding their lives free the criminal records resulting from their time as sex slaves.

Although most Americans mistakenly assume that slavery has been eradicated in the United States and throughout most of the world, “sex trafficking in the U.S. a ‘problem of epidemic proportion,’” according to an FBI law enforcement bulletin quoted in the Washington Times.

Human trafficking victims are often prostituted or forced to participate in pornographic videos distributed online. It is believed that there exists an “inseparable link” between porn and sex slavery:

“The truth is, there is no way for [viewers of pornography] to tell if what they are watching was made illegally or if all parties are there willingly. And even if they’re there willingly, performing on camera, were they coerced or threatened into agreement? For this reason, clicking porn directly fuels the demand for sex traffickers to make money by selling video of their sex slaves to porn sites.”

Washingtonians need to be aware that human trafficking for sexual exploitation is occurring in their communities. Any progress against human trafficking in our beloved state will need to come through a concerted effort by law enforcement, legislators, and concerned citizens to prevent exploitation, punish traffickers, and protect victims.

 

Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and research fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

New Study Finds Porn Damaging Teens At Alarming Rate

 

More young adults now believe that not recycling is morally worse than watching pornography.

A new study conducted by the Barna Research Institute has found that an alarming rate of Americans are consuming a vast and ever-increasing quantity of pornography.

With the ease of access granted by the evolution of smart phones and tablets, over ten percent of teens (aged 12-17 years) and young adults (aged 18-24 years) are accessing porn daily.

But the reignited debate over pornography isn’t purely a matter or religious vs. non-religious this time around.  Secular organizations like Fight the New Drug, have put together an incredible database of information on the negative physiological effects of porn on the brain, effects on relationships, and effects on behavior.  Celebrities like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Terry Crews, and Russell Brand have taken on the pornography industry, and actress Rashida Jones produced Hot Girls Wanted, a documentary about the objectification and violence shown towards women in the amateur porn industry.

With an estimated 76% of young adults between the ages of 18-24 intentionally viewing pornography, the understanding of porn as “immoral” or “wrong” is shifting.  While 88% of adults say that having a romantic relationship outside of your spouse if wrong, only 54% of adults say that watching pornography is wrong.

“There appears to be a momentous generational shift underway in how pornography is perceived, morally speaking, within our culture,” says Roxanne Stone, Editor-in-Chief at Barna Group and one of the lead designers and analysts on the study. “This shift is particularly notable when it comes to personal choice regarding pornography use. But these attitudes and preferences toward porn among the younger generations need to take into account the broader social and cultural context that American young people inhabit.”

Anti-pornography activists at Fight the New Drug, have similar concerns about society’s acceptance of pornography and its correlation to violent sexual behaviors.  “In a 2012 survey of 1,500 guys, 56% said their tastes in porn had become ‘increasingly extreme or deviant.’  Because consistent porn users’ brains quickly become accustomed to the porn they’ve already seen, they typically have to constantly be moving on to more extreme forms of pornography to get aroused by it.  And once they start watching extreme and dangerous sex acts, these types of porn users are being taught that those behaviors are more normal and common than they are.  And when people believe a behavior is normal, they’re more likely to try it.”

Even the left-leaning Huffington Post opined that there is an undeniable link between sex trafficking and pornography, noting that much of the consumable pornography on the internet is, in fact, not between consenting adults, but rather an exploitation of women who are being held and traded against their will.

Pornography is dangerous on every level, regardless of whether or not its protected by Constitutional free speech rights.  So why is it so prevalent today?  Simple.  Because a lot of people stand to gain a lot of money from the success of the pornography industry.

Our men, women, and children are losing themselves behind a computer screen for hours at a time, addicted to false feelings of love and intimacy with a person that will never see or know them.  FPIW is proud to stand with millions of Americans in opposition to the growing influence of pornography on our culture.  Will you stand with us?

If you’d like to learn more about the dangers of pornography, visit Fight the New Drug.