iStock scared teen girlWhen you start fighting the influence of pornography, it’s amazing the stories you hear and the people you meet.

A few weeks ago I met Michelle Withers, a woman in our community who is committed to fighting sex trafficking. She is the local coordinator for the Deceptions and Illusions educational programs that teach kids how NOT to get involved in sex trafficking and pornography. (In fact, this weekend I’m attending the AWARE conference in Kennewick, WA.)

I had no idea how prevalent sex trafficking is right here in the U.S.! (Check out how tough the laws are in your state on this map at Shared Hope.) I thought it was a problem over in Thailand and other foreign countries, but apparently it’s much bigger than I ever imagined. Even upper middle class kids who have grown up in stable families are getting trapped into this modern form of slavery.

In fact, at least 100,000 American children are being exploited through pornography or prostitution every year, as reported by Shared Hope. And what’s crazy is this: the average age a child is first exploited is 13, but kids as young as infants have been used for pornography.13 year old sex slave sign

My eyes were really opened when I watched this video by the WellHouse organization about sex trafficking in the Southeastern United States. It’s amazing how sophisticated these traffickers are and how easily kids, and in some cases, adults can get trapped. (Note to self: never sign up with a modeling agency, fly to L.A. and let them take away all my I.D. for purposes of “expediting travel” to exotic foreign locations for photo shoots.)

But what does sex trafficking have to do with pornography? Or kids?

Do you have a few hours? No?

Well to be brief, they feed one another. (Great article here from Covenant Eyes.)

  • Pornography drives demand for sex trafficking (prostitution).
  • Trafficked women, men and children are used in the production of pornography.

violenceA scary statistic is that 1 out of every 5 pornographic images is of a child. And 55% of child pornography comes from the U.S.—sale of child porn from the U.S. earns more than $3 billion (that BILLION) annually.

So. Very. Sick.

It’s a crazy world out there. Don’t let your kids be victimized by ignorance. Give them a fighting chance by teaching and porn-proofing them early.

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.
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