Pornography as Trafficking

In material reality, pornography is one way women and children are trafficked for sex. To make visual pornography, the bulk of the industry’s products, real women and children, and some men, are rented out for use in commercial sex acts. In the resulting materials, these people are then conveyed and sold for a buyer’s sexual use. Obscenity laws, the traditional legal approach to the problem, do not care about these realities at all. The morality of what is said and shown remains their focus and concern. The injuries inflicted on real people to make the materials, or because they are used, are irrelevant to what is illegal about obscenity. Accordingly, as the trafficking constituted by the exhibition, distribution, sale, and purchase of materials that do these harms is ignored. Laws against sex trafficking, international and domestic, criminal and human rights laws-specifically their concept of commercial sexual exploitation, around which international consensus is growing -recognize the realities of the global sex industry increasingly well. These provisions are more promising for addressing pornography than has been recognized.