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Porn Isn’t a Joke—It’s a Crisis

By Brittany Jones, Esq., policy manager for Family Policy Alliance

Pop culture would have us believe that pornography is funny, normal and ok to use, and doesn’t really hurt anyone. The reality is that viewing pornography is linked to a host of mental and physical health issues. It is also linked with the horrible exploitation of human beings in the sex trafficking industry. Pornography is used to increase demand for sex trafficking victims, to groom victims, and creates additional revenue streams for traffickers. This industry continues to devastate men, women, and families—and it’s no joking matter.

Several states are calling pornography what it is: a public health crisis. Ten states – Arkansas, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Louisiana, Kansas, Idaho, Florida, and Pennsylvania – have already passed resolutions declaring pornography as a public health crisis. These resolutions recognize the destruction that the consumption of pornography wreaks on the brain, the family, and especially its horrific impacts on children. These resolutions urge members of state and federal leadership to take action to protect children and families. At least nine other states have introduced similar resolutions this year. Family Policy Alliance and our state allies have been working with state legislatures to pass these resolutions with the goal of helping our leaders understand the porn crisis across the country.

However, state legislators must do more than just pass a resolution if there is ever going to be true progress in combatting industries that exploit human beings. Our ally, Minnesota Family Council, decided to take the next step towards ending sex trafficking and America’s addiction to pornography by introducing legislation that recognizes the link between human trafficking and pornography, requires that statistics about the use of pornography in human trafficking be added to the state’s already existing human trafficking report, and assesses an additional fine on those convicted of child pornography crimes and the dissemination and display of harmful materials to minors. Funds the state receives from this additional fine will be given to Minnesota’s Safe Harbor Program, which helps victims of human trafficking.

Meredith Campbell, Policy Director for Minnesota Family Council, explained how legislators on both sides of the aisle are working together to prevent sexual exploitation in her state:

“Legislators are increasingly recognizing the massive role pornography plays in contributing to human trafficking by driving the demand and grooming victims. Now they’re taking action to publicly acknowledge the link between these horrors. Bills like this one are uniting legislators in their fight against exploitation, for the good of all Minnesotans.”

There is also movement on the federal front through legislation known as the FOSTA-SESTA Act. The bill amends current federal law so that host sites can be held legally responsible for illegal activity that occurs on their websites. In response to the bill’s passage, Craigslist already ended their “personal ads” section. Just last week, Attorney General Sessions shut down Backpage.com, a major site that has helped fuel prostitution and sex trafficking of minors.

With pornography fueling trafficking and exploitation—and of course creating personal and family crises—it will take the family of believers working together to really restore dignity, human worth, and life back into our culture. No one can stop trafficking on their own, but we’d like to ask you to commit with us to three simple steps you can take in your community:

  1. Commit to exhorting your church to NOT ignore the porn crisis, but instead to stand in the gap for those who are struggling. Does your church have a ministry to help victims or users of porn? Does your pastor (or other teachers) address pornography? Will your church be willing to support a good bill, like the one led by our friends at Minnesota Family Council, by encouraging legislators to pass the bill? These are conversations the Church needs to have.
  2. Commit to supporting good bills like the one in Minnesota in your own state. You can do this by asking legislators to support it. Part of our mission at Family Policy Alliance (and our state allies) is to keep you informed when good bills to help end the porn crisis (or bad bills) come up in your state. Please be sure you and your loved ones are signed up so you can receive state-specific action alerts!
  3. Consider donating to support our policy work, including research and drafting of good policies to help stop the porn crisis.