Wow, the end of 2017 has been a whirlwind of firings of leadership positions and media reports of sexual misconduct. It seems our world is drowning in stories of women becoming nothing more than sexual objects for the sole purpose of male domination. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, and the porn industry has grown into a $10 billion business (ABC News).
So, why are we here? What reason could our society possibly have for allowing this to continue? And where does America fall on the spectrum?
First, in an attempt to tackle the enormity of all that is driving the commercial sex industry to the profitable business it is today, we have to take a look at the increasing exposure we face and the effect it is having on our minds and bodies. Media in today’s society has found a trend: pushing the boundaries of what is appropriate to play for audiences. The root issue can be traced all the way back to a physiological reaction the human body has to sex.
When humans view or experience something they see as sexually appealing, the brain releases dopamine (yes, the happy hormone). This seems all well and good, that is until that feeling is sought out again and again. Over time, the brain develops what is often referred to as overstimulation. Simply put, the longer the stimulant exists, the more normal it is to the brain, therefore it releases less dopamine. This creates an issue of escalation as the behavior has to increase in order to incite the same reaction, often leading to riskier sexual behavior and viewing more graphic pornography. The demand this creates has left the door wide open for mainstream media to continue to release content with more and more explicit sexual material.
Increasing supply is fueling the substantial increase in demand, creating a vicious cycle that will more often than not lead to further immersion into the commercial sex industry.
Probably no surprise to you, America is one of the top countries for these viewing activities. Coming in ranked at number one on the per-capita page views of “Porn Hub” (according to their 2016 annual report), our country has aided in the estimated 4,599,000,000 hours of viewing on their website alone in 2016.
With the commercial sex industry rapidly digging its teeth further into the mainstream media, it should also come as no surprise to us the number of social leaders (news anchors, directors, government officials, etc.) that have had reports of sexual misconduct come to light.
There is some hope in the forthcoming of all of these allegations, however. I believe that a misconduct or sin has to be brought into the light in order to begin to change. That being said, I could definitely imagine this time of exposure becoming a pivotal point in our society that leads us toward a future with a better understanding of sexual harassment and exploitation. This is a major change that we can pray about!
There is also room for hope within our government! We are far from where we should be, but we have made great strides. We have continually ranked as a Tier 1 country in the Annual Trafficking in Persons Report, meaning that we meet the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. (Note that this placement does not mean that we do not have room to grow, as we can all agree that is not the case. Simply, we have met the current legal standards of prevention to minimize trafficking).
Also, in September 2017, the United Nations held an assembly specifically on the issue of trafficking and what can be done to better prevent it. Many influential figures in the fight against trafficking, including multiple survivors, shared their stories and encouraged officials to help shift existing laws to better prevent sexual exploitation.
While we are gaining traction and implementing more preventative measures, trafficking is still the fastest growing criminal industry.
So, what can we do to change all of this?
Being here on this blog is a great first step in educating yourself on the issues of this industry. While I am no expert, I can definitely help point you in the right direction. You can head over to my Resources page for some of my favorite educational information on these issues, and if you would like to become personally involved in the fight against trafficking and sexual exploitation you can visit my About My 1Life Team page to learn more about getting connected.
(Please note: this is my interpretation of our society as a whole as it is today in its standing on the issue of sexual exploitation and trafficking.)
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