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THE TRUTH ABOUT PORN

Some of you may read about porn and think what is the big deal? But as is the case with every type of media production, it is not what it appears to be on the screen. And in the case of porn, what goes on behind the scenes is a very dark world. Below is a video of Madyson Marquette, a former porn star, sharing about her experiences in the world of porn.

 


THE REAL STORY

What images come to mind when you think of someone in the sex industry? For as long as I can remember, our culture has portrayed sex workers (prostitutes, porn stars, strippers, etc) as women with no moral compass, who enjoy turning tricks or exotic dancing. Even now, most people carry this mindset, and the media doesn’t help.

Founder and Director of Knoxville based Hosea’s Heart, Angie Duncan, paints a very different story of what it was like for her when she was trapped in that world in an excerpt from her memoir:

“An excerpt from my memoir, Chapter Two, about my first night working in a Memphis club:

I have never been able to forget the first “lap dance” I experienced as a new dancer in Memphis. It was a moment I believed was the beginning of the rest of my life. A division of a time where I thought I had escaped sexual abuse but rather found it had entrapped me. I can’t tell you the gentleman’s name or what he looked like, but he was an older man. We went upstairs into one of the very dark private dance rooms which had tall booths all throughout. There was always a bouncer present but many of the booths faced away from him and most bouncers, I later learned, were okay with whatever the girls were okay with. There’s not supposed to be any touching and definitely not any “services” other than a lap dance with the patrons keeping their hands to the side but that’s more the exception than the rule. Bouncers were often paid or tipped extra to allow sexual services to take place in the private rooms. At any rate, I didn’t know all that at this point and I was just ready to get the “dance” over with quickly and get the heck out of there. I thought I was prepared for and understood what was going to take place but immediately and aggressively the patron pulled me on top of himself, and groping and grinding me on his lap, he did his business quickly and not even a minute later he was done with me. I was paid $40 of which I had to give completely to the club as a fee for my first dance.

Now I don’t know exactly how to explain what all I experienced in the time it took for that one song to end. I also can’t exactly explain why I didn’t just yell out or resist. Nothing was ever explained to me well as far as the “work” and coming from a lifetime of sexual abuse, I just sank back into that familiar place of numb submission and dissociation with the patrons. During that first “dance”, I had flashbacks of an older relative that molested me as a young child in the very same manner and a neighbor’s father who also molested me the very same way, even at the breakfast table while his kids ate and wife cooked. I felt like a young, helpless child all over again just waiting for it to stop so I could walk away.

That first “dance” served to validate a huge lie in my life: that the only thing giving my life any value was the sexual pleasure others could gain from my body and that there was no escaping it. Just as in my childhood, just as with the loss of my virginity, just as with every date rape, sexual battery and boyfriend I ever had, I was used for sexual pleasure then tossed aside like damaged goods. My new “work” just made sense. I almost immediately felt it was where I belonged and what I was created for and it didn’t take me too long to become comfortable in this new life. Up to that point everything only seemed to validate that I was unlovable, unwanted and only desired for momentary sexual pleasure. My chains, although invisible, were powerful!”

There are so many different elements, and experiences that even lead a woman to the sex trade, and once they are there, shame and worthlessness goes a long way to keep them there. What these girls really need is for us to get a mind and heart change toward them and to reach out with love and compassion. They need to know they have value and worth and are made for far greater than what their lives have dished out to them.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me. Till next time. 🙂


TOO YOUNG TO WED

Another atrocious practice that is epidemic in the world today is the practice of child marriage. It goes largely unchecked in many third world countries fueled by tradition and socioeconomic factors.

According to Graça Machel,  the first education minister of Mozambique, and Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town,  “Child marriage happens because adults believe they have the right to impose marriage upon a child. This denies children, particularly girls, their dignity and the opportunity to make choices that are central to their lives, such as when and whom to marry or when to have children. Choices define us and allow us to realize our potential. Child marriage robs girls of this chance. “

Prolific documentary photographer, Stephanie Sinclair, has devoted over a decade to promoting awareness in hopes of inspiring change in this fight for the rights of small children worldwide. I invite you to peruse her website below and ask if there is something you can do to help these girls.

http://tooyoungtowed.org/


WORDS TO LIVE BY

Jeremy Cowart is a phenomenal photographer, and artist. His work is moving. It speaks. Read this great blog he put out last week. Really, what he talks about is applicable across every aspect of our lives. And his work with “Voices of Haiti”, “Voices of Reconciliation”, and “Help Portrait” are awe inspiring. Read his blog here and check out his work. Definitely a post worth reading.

http://jeremycowart.com/2014/07/the-meeting/


SHOOT THE SKIES

I’m always on the lookout for other photographers and designers who move and inspire me. One such photographer is Tanner Wendell Stewart, a Seattle-based Emmy Award winning photographer who has devoted his career to raising awareness for human trafficking, and spent the entire year of 2013 to creating a book that would raise money to fund A21’s fight on the issue. Not only does he have a huge heart, but also makes breathtaking photographs depicting the beauty of the world around us. Check out his work. You wont be sorry you did. 🙂

http://shoottheskies.com/archive


MAKING A DIFFERENCE

I remember when I first learned the magnitude of the problem of human trafficking within the United States, and to further realize what a huge problem it is in my own home town. A gut wrenching feeling of grief overtook me, and anger, and I knew I had to do whatever was in my power to change that situation for the better. I looked high and low for any kind of organization I could find that was reaching out to the victims of trafficking, and could find none.

After over a year of contacting different organizations trying to find some way I could make a difference in my area, my paths crossed with this groundbreaking organization, Hosea’s Heart. Since I have been a part of their efforts, I have learned so much about the adult entertainment industry. I learned that even though yes there are those who have been physically forced into this world of sex for sale, there is another more prevalent group who have been forced into the industry by the desperation of their personal circumstances. And yes there is a small percentage of women in the adult entertainment industry who have no problem being there.

Whatever the situation, Hosea’s Heart, is dedicated to provide support and encouragement to those either in the industry, on their way out of the industry or having been out for years. It is a safe place for the women to connect, find acceptance, and affirmation, and healing, as well as any resources they may need. Hosea’s Heart is also working on providing transitional housing for those who are exiting the industry.

If you would like to know more about Hosea’s Heart, or live in the greater Knoxville, TN area and would like to get involved, check out their website below.

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Return to Innocence

I know it has been a while since I have posted. Have been busy with the everyday demands of life. School, Kids, Business, Relationships. I even had the amazing privilege of being a world traveler and took a trip to China. It is so easy to get caught up in the daily demands of life and forget there is a world beyond our own sphere of influence. And that world can be a very ugly place to live in, especially for the girls who find themselves trapped against their will in the sex trade industry. And lets be realistic, shall we? No little girl ever really grows up dreaming of being a prostitute. Even those who were not “trafficked” were forced into the lifestyle by circumstances beyond their ability to control. I found this very poignant video that exposes the reality these girls face. Take a moment and let it sink in….. then….. do something about it. You can make a difference.


Is Porn a Harmless Industry?

The porn industry is one of the most lucrative businesses in the world. It brings in a whopping $14 billion annually. Countless people engage in the purchase of porn entertainment. So what’s wrong with porn you might ask? Besides the overwhelming statistics that contribute porn to the downfall in most marriages, the inability to form and maintain healthy sexual relationships and the debilitating effect on our sexual health in general, there is a much darker and more sinister side to the world of sexual entertainment. Check out this blog I found on PornHarms.com.

Trafficking Within the Professional Porn Industry

 Posted by Hysen Sisco | March 6, 2014 
cozzee sex trafficking full (shop)

Written by Hysen Sisco

Morality in Media has launched stoptraffickingdemand.com, a site dedicated to educating about the links between pornography and sex trafficking. Specifically, that the demand for trafficked women and children is due in part, to the proliferation of pornography. In a four-part series, I will discuss each of the main ways pornography significantly contributes to trafficking.

The United Nations defines human trafficking in Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons as:

the recruitment … by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, … of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services…

According to this definition, many performers in pornography are sex trafficked. The filming of these performers is carried out by fraud, deception, threat or use of force, coercion, and abuse of power or vulnerability for the purpose of prostitution, sexual exploitation, and forced labor. The fact that many are underage when they begin, in their mid-teens, is an additional definition of sex trafficking.

Performers may enter willingly into the business, but face a harsh reality once they’re in. They will sign contracts stipulating what scenarios/acts they are and are not willing to perform. Then their directors, photographers, agents, and other performers will ignore these limitations, initiating them into the business with the exact scenarios or acts they are contractually prohibited to do. If the performer protests against doing something they feel uncomfortable or unsafe performing, they are threatened with physical abuse or other forms of blackmail.

Pornographers exploit and abuse their power over the performer. Activist, lawyer and professor, Dr. Catherine A. MacKinnon explains, saying:

[Performers] usually ‘consent’ to the acts only in the degraded and demented sense of the word (common also to the law of rape) in which a person who despairs at stopping what is happening, sees no escape,… is often trying to avoid being beaten or killed, is always economically desperate, acquiesces in being sexually abused for payment, even if, in most instances, it is payment to someone else.

The abuse of porn performers by their superiors and other performers is well documented. They are subject to violence and coercion throughout the filming process so the pornographers can get what they want out of them. They are beaten, choked, degraded, and verbally abused by the other performers during filming. Much of what happens on film can be defined as sexual assault at best and rape at worst. If performers do not act as though they are enjoying the sexual abuse, they are physically abused after filming. Many are forced to take drugs so they can keep performing scene after scene or to be unaware of the physical trauma to their bodies.

Other performers will not be honest about what STDs they carry and will continue to work, putting their co-workers in danger of preventable diseases. The use of condoms is discouraged—even disallowed—on set, despite the immense health risks and laws requiring condoms.

These circumstances combine to produce a hostile environment of sexual exploitation and forced labor where performers are prostituted for repeated private consumption. Most porn users do not realize the harsh working conditions and abuse the sex trafficked performers endure for the viewer’s fleeting enjoyment.

Please visit stoptraffickingdemand.com for more information and ways you can help.


“Used and Tossed Away”

“Christine Sabiyumva……..says she has known how serious the problem is for years, but fought a lonely battle, mainly because she had no budget and because police chiefs were not interested.”

These words are indicative of the attituted around the world about this ever growing and horific injustice. I wonder, how many of the black marks on the history of mankind were perpetuated by this very attitude. The inquisition, the crusades, the enxlavement of the african people by american citizens, apartheid, Hitler and the killing of 6 million Jews. Rwanda, Sudan, and the list goes on and on…. How many of these could have been avoided or at least squelched if someone had stood up and said NO! If someone would have taken the time and effort to look outside of themselves for a moment and dig beneath the surface to see the reality of what is happening right under their nose.

The following story from the Guardian is of three girls who were in essence, victims of the apathy of the culture around them. Let’s learn from their story and choose today to be the avenue for change.

Burundi’s child sex slaves: ‘I feel like I have been used and tossed away’

Child intermediaries working for pimps recruit young girls who are then either forced into prostitution or sold abroad.
MDG : Child's handprint on a window
Burundi’s child sex slaves include girls from poor rural backgrounds and those brought up in middle-class families in the capital.
Pamela comes from an affluent family and was doing well in one of Bujumbura’s best-performing high schools – until two years ago, when she became a sex slave.

She recalls befriending a group of girls when she was 14, who at first proposed she join them when they went out. The trips led to dates with older men who would pick up the bill, initially without asking for anything in return.

One night she was taken to a house in Kiriri, a smart residential district in Bujumbura, Burundi‘s capital, where she was held for three months under the supervision of men in police uniform.

“When a client came, if you didn’t want to go with him they would slap you and whip the soles of your feet,” Pamela says, her voice trembling. She was freed in a police raid after her mother reported her missing.

“Such places exist in every part of town. You just have to open your eyes to see them,” says Florence Boivin-Roumestan, who leads Justice and Equity, a Canadian NGO that has exposed the vast scale of sex trafficking in the small central African nation.

“After months of investigations, we’re seeing that human trafficking and sex trafficking in particular exists in Burundi on a scale no one would have imagined.”

Victims include girls from poor rural backgrounds and those brought up in middle-class families in the capital.

In a months-long investigation, Justice and Equity found that young girls were being recruited across the country and either forced into prostitution or sold abroad. “You find girls of nine or 10, but most of them are in the 13, 14, 15 age range,” Boivin-Roumestan says.

The trafficking takes different forms. In Bujumbura, it is girls from well-off families who are targeted in the best schools. Fellow pupils of both sexes are recruited by pimps to play the role of intermediaries. They gradually gain the confidence of the victims, who eventually end up in brothels.

Keza, who comes from a poor district in the capital, says she was locked up and used as a sex slave by a senior intelligence officer for several months when she was 15. “He threatened me and he threatened my parents,” she says, adding that she no longer wishes to see her family after the ordeal.

“I filed a formal complaint against him and he received several summons, but he has never shown up. The case has gone nowhere.”

Khadija, 15, a Muslim girl from a poor rural family, remains traumatised by her year-long ordeal, during which she was lured to the Gulf. “Some people came to see my parents and said they had well-paid domestic work for me in Oman,” she says, staring at her feet.

“In fact, I worked 16 hours a day, every day. I slept on the floor and I was never paid anything … Whenever my back was turned they would come up from behind and try to lift up my dress.”

Eventually she escaped and was able to return home. “I came back with just the clothes I had on my back and the plastic slippers I had on my feet,” she says.

The three girls have been placed with families who work with Justice and Equity.

Boivin-Roumestan says it is difficult to establish exactly how many children are affected. In Rumonge, for example, a small lakeside town south of Bujumbura, the investigation found that of the 50 adult sex workers questioned, half had been forced into the trade while they were underage.

President Pierre Nkurunziza has vowed a crackdown. “Things are changing. My budget has been increased, focal points are being set up in every province. Today something is being done,” says Christine Sabiyumva, head of Burundi’s youth brigade. She says she has known how serious the problem is for years, but fought a lonely battle, mainly because she had no budget and because police chiefs were not interested.

Trafficking networks have been dismantled in several towns and some brothels have been raided and closed in the past two months. “Arrests are made every day. We have meetings with ministers, generals, churches, youth groups and lawyers who all want to end this traffic,” Boivin-Roumestan says. “But everything needs to be done. It’ll take some time to end.”

For some of the victims it is too little, too late. “I’m angry, very angry. I feel like I’ve been used and tossed away,” says Pamela, who is too scared to return to her family. “I want those who are responsible for what happened to me to be punished.”

Her pimp was arrested after she was freed, but he has since been released. Pamela plans to go back to school and later pursue a law degree so she can “help other girls who suffer what I suffered”.

So what are you doing to fight injustice in your community? We would love to here from you. Share your stories below.


5 Ways People Are Trafficked

We are so very gullible as a people, aren’t we? Most of us really want to believe that the human race is basically good. But the reality is that evil is alive and very present in our surrounding world. This is the flip side of looking beneath the surface. Not every person you meet is a safe person. And it is a wise person who is aware of the dangers, so he or she can steer clear.

I came across this extremely eye-opening blog on the A21 Website. Besides the blog itself, I found the comments very enlightening as well.

These tactics are just as widely used in the United States as anywhere else. Please share with your loved ones so they can take proper measures to ensure their safety.

Across the globe, an estimated 27 million people are in slavery. Everyone’s story is unique. There are countless methods used to recruit victims, but here are 5 main ways people can be trafficked:

1. Misleading “Friendships” – Some recruiters befriend teens and adults for the sake of trafficking them. After they develop trust and a seemingly solid friendship, the recruiters initiate a weekend vacation or gig, only to deceive them into trafficking.

2. False Job Advertisements – Traffickers will advertise paying jobs (nanny, waitress, model, etc.) in a foreign country. When the applicants arrive and are picked up by their supposed boss, their paperwork is often taken and they are forced into work conditions vastly different than they had been led to believe.

3. Family Arrangements – In some cases, a family falls on financial hard times and is willing to sell a child for money. Parents are often promised their child will be taken care of and given a proper education. Sadly, the buyer rarely holds up to his or her part of the deal and the children or adolescents are resold into the trafficking industry.

4. Abductions – Many trafficked victims are kidnapped on their way to school, work, or home and later sold into slavery.

5. Sham Lover – Some women unknowingly marry a recruiter and are then sold by their husbands. Other women are pimped out by their boyfriends and forced or manipulated into commercial sex.

We believe education is a key component in abolishing slavery in the 21st century. Now that you know, who can YOU inform?

Comments

lc – October 1, 2013 at 3:49pm

Thanks for your story ^^^ we HAVE to stay aware.

Isha – September 21, 2013 at 11:17pm

Please stop using the words “trafficked” and “trafficking”. These words are part of the problem, because they result in the general public not taking any notice. These people are *kidnapped* and they are *slaves* and they many of them are continually *raped*. Euphemisms do not help.

nicola Leitch – September 19, 2013 at 2:46pm

Some young ladies are drugged in clubs…never ever leave your drink or even drink something that is out of a can that you open…barmen are sometimes paid to slip something into a drink…In fact be aware of your surroundings. Clubs and raves are notorious places for unscrupulous people to traffic girls. Try and stick together in a group and watch out for one another.

Jocelyn Gandy – September 19, 2013 at 1:43pm

When I was in my early 20’s I traveled extensively in South East Asia. I met an Indian man in Agra who wished to sing around the world with me. He invited me to his bands evenings, asked me to dress in saris. He taught me Indian songs and instructed me in sitar. One morning there were two ? Hungarian boys at the shop where I had my music lessons. They gave me a bung lassie,..ok bung is cannabis. This drink didn’t have bung in it though. I was very frightened, by the comments made by these boys ie: don’t worry she isn’t going anywhere. Also by my rickshaw driver referred to my singing teacher as my master. I decided to leave Agra as fast as I could, although it was difficult to get a train ticket as a single white woman. I was starting to hallucinate by this time, I just knew I had to get out of Agra. I spent 4 days tripping on Jaipur station and then spent a month in a hospital in New Deli. Very few people believed my story when I returned to Australia. Travelling alone as a blond young gullible Australian who believed that people are basically friends, can be extremely dangerous. Have fun traveling, but always be aware, this does happen.