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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.

Pornography Hurts Women And Girls

by Silence*

Content warning: Every link.

A couple weeks ago, the Huffington Post was gushing about a new “feminist” pornography magazine, as if such a thing could exist.

It’s as if they all forgot about the time “feminist” porn performer and sex advice columnist James Deen raped his co-star, Stoya, and then several other women stepped forward with similar stories about Deen after she spoke out. It’s as if Pornhub — one of the largest porn sites in the world — hadn’t profited for two years from a video of a sexual assault, which they only took down after getting negative media coverage.

The concept of “feminist pornography” makes as much sense as feathers on a rabbit. It has nothing to do with dignity or freedom.

A few days after this marketing gimmick was announced, Elizabeth Smart — who was raped for nine months as the 14-year old abductee of a sex-crazed porn addict — spoke publicly for the first time about how pornography had made the living hell of abduction and sexual torture even worse. It would be five minutes well spent to click over and watch the video.

The Industry is Growing as it Becomes More Perverse

Pornography is now a $13 billion industry that thrives on sex traffickers filming and collecting royalties from acts of prostitution, often using naive, young women who burn out quickly from the abuse. But this is one big business that the men on the left — who are such great feminists, they insist — can’t stand to see criticized. They only want to hear from “sex positive” women.

Why is an industry whose most popular products are saturated with violence against women something that the left won’t speak against? Why is violence against us so sexy to them?

Let me ask a more pointed question: what is positive about videos with titles like, “Teen Destroyed by Dad’s Friends”? That’s the least bad title I turned up on the first page of a related Google search where the more common, incest-themed titles were even more horrifying. Why is incest seen as sexy, instead of violent and unacceptable? This is an awful thing to discuss, but it’s a serious public health issue when scenes like that are eagerly consumed by millions of viewers, including children.

If you know any survivors of childhood sexual abuse, you’re more likely to find that “destroyed” isn’t simply a metaphor for the women this happens to in real life.  

Presently, “teen” pornography is the most popular genre on the internet. The actors, costuming, and scenarios chosen go as far as possible to depict what looks like the rape of minor children. Much of it even contains lessons on how to groom and blackmail a child for sexual abuse.

“All the sites discussed so far… depict scenarios where the men do not use overt force to get the girl to comply with their sexual demands but rather seduce, manipulate, and cajole the girl into submission. … For perpetrators, this is a safer way than overt force since it does not leave visible scars, and because it is an act of breaking the child’s will, the victim is more likely to keep the abuse hidden for fear of appearing disloyal to the perpetrator. … Pornographers are well aware of the seasoning process since they do an excellent job of depicting it in their movies by showing a whole range of techniques …” Pornland, 2010, by Gail Dines

In Australia, this has led to an organized ring of pornographers recruiting male students to post nude photos of girls (often minors) and young women they attend school with after another site member nominates the unlucky girl or woman by name. As reported in the News Limited story, comments like these are typical on the sites: “I know this is a longshot, but who has nudes of [female name]? If anyone wants to go on the hunt, her t**s are mint and it’s worth it!”

Is [female name] supposed to be empowered by this? Does anyone think that she, or any of her other female classmates, will be treated with more respect by these male peers?  

What’s sexy, or positive, about minor girls being coerced into painful sex acts by male peers raised on a steady diet of pornography?

What’s sexy, or positive, about children being trained to think violence is a normal part of sex?

Pornography is the business of making the world a living hell for women and girls. Lots of us know that Elizabeth Smart is right about that.

This is part one of a two-part series on the pornography industry.  Look for Part II on Thursday, September 1.


*Note from the Author:

“For reasons of personal safety and livelihood, I cannot disclose my real identity. But I can tell you this much: I’m a progressive feminist who has spent years working on the front lines of the left. I have opposed conservatism my entire political life in the most strident of terms; under other circumstances, I wouldn’t admit to even reading this site.”