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PREVENTING AND COMBATING THE DEVASTATING HARMS OF
PORNOGRAPHY, PROSTITUTION, SEX TRAFFICKING & SEXUAL SLAVERY
My Story of Becoming a Methamphetamine Addict, How It Harmed Me, and My Recovery

 

- By Vanessa Belmond - Ex-Porn Performer, Stripper, Camgirl & "Escort"

- Anti-Porn and Anti-Prostitution Writer, Speaker and Activist

- AntiPornography.org Volunteer

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Life is made up of choices. Making the right choices can lead to great things, and making the wrong choices can lead to devastation. Unfortunately, in my life I have made a series of bad choices. One of the worst choices I ever made was trying meth.

I had just turned seventeen and I was hanging out with an old friend from elementary school, Selena*, and her brother Miguel. They lived on a fairly large-sized property with a main house where their parents lived, and a small house where they stayed. Selena invited three other girls over: Vicki, Ally and Karen. I vaguely knew Vicki and Ally from school, but Karen I had never met. 

At nineteen Karen was older than we were, and from a "rougher" area. I found Karen interesting. She seemed so confident and like she had seen it all and done it all. Little did I know that Karen's "confidence" came from meth. (I also later found out that Karen was pregnant. She continued to smoke all throughout her pregnancy, and for some reason no one in our little circle was critical of this. Thankfully her baby was born healthy. I sometimes think of her, and hope that she was able to clean up and be there for her child.)

Within minutes of showing up, Karen pulled out a little bag filled with white crystal-like powder and a small glass pipe. I had already done cocaine, marijuana, prescription pills and some drinking, so I didn't hesitate for a second when she offered everyone a hit. She showed us how to smoke it, and was even gracious enough to light the pipe for me. After that first hit, I was hooked. It's true what those cheesy anti-drug commercials say -- it only takes one hit to get addicted to meth!

Vanessa BelmondI can't even begin to describe how amazing I felt. I remember looking out of the window at the night sky and feeling so full of happiness that I thought my heart would burst. All of my insecurities, worries and anxiety flew right out the window. It was unlike any drug I had ever experienced. I couldn't believe how amazing I felt, and I wanted to feel that way for the rest of my life.

We stayed up the whole night smoking and talking. When you're on meth it can feel like you're really connecting with people and having "deep conversations," when really all you're doing is rambling on about nothing. We all became best friends within hours. Drugs have a funny way of forming bonds. Too bad those bonds only last as long as the drug does. 

That night was only marred by one thing; Vicki, who was the least experienced with drugs, apparently smoked too much. Her pupils became completely black and she went into some sort of shock for about ten minutes. We were about to get Selena's parents and take her to the hospital, but thankfully Vicki snapped out of it. Of course that only scared us for a few minutes, and the rest of the night we continued to get high. Vicki left, and never did meth again. At least one of us learned a lesson from that incident.

From then on I had a new love. Meth was the ideal drug in my eyes; it made me feel energetic and happy, and best of all I didn't think about eating or food. I had been struggling with bulimia and binge-eating for years (see my story on that here: http://www.antipornography.org/my-bulimia-eating-disorder-story-how-it-harmed-me.html), and meth seemed to erase that problem. Of course, meth came with its own set of problems...

I would disappear for days at a time, staying up smoking and hanging out with Karen and a meth cook named Mike in their sketchy neighborhood. We'd stay awake for three or four days in a row, until we started hallucinating. I remember seeing what we used to call the "shadow people." I'd be walking by an empty car or window and I would see imaginary people staring at me. We'd get paranoid and spend hours staring out of the peephole, hearing and seeing non-existent people that were "out to get us." 

Another memory that sticks out in my mind is when I was at my parents' house after a meth binge, and I started hearing Karen and Selena outside of my window, laughing at me and mocking me. I kept peeking out of the downstairs window and muttering, and my parents couldn't figure out what was going on. They didn't know anything about meth, so they had no idea why I was behaving so strangely. 

During my meth use I couldn't hold a job for more than a month. Smoking was my number one priority, and my jobs just got in the way. School? I couldn't be bothered. I honestly have no idea why my high school let me graduate. I rarely showed up during my senior year and I didn't do any schoolwork. As far as I was concerned, I didn't need school. I totally idolized strippers and porn performers and was planning on becoming a porn star. What did I need school for? And now, thanks to meth, I was "thin enough" in my mind to work in "adult entertainment." So I thought I had it all figured out; turn eighteen, start stripping and get a porn agent, and then achieve instant fame, fortune and validation. 

Things didn't exactly turn out that way. While I did end up in porn and stripping soon after I turned eighteen, I didn't continue doing meth long after my eighteenth birthday. I wish I could say that I realized I had a problem and went to rehab, but what really happened is that I simply couldn't get my hands on meth anymore.

For whatever reason, Karen and Mike stopped talking to me. Selena had gotten pregnant and quit meth the second she found out. I had no other way to get meth, since I didn't have my license or a car, and therefore I had no way to get to the "bad" parts of town and look for it. In a way, my fear of driving (which had prevented me from getting my license at sixteen), and my extreme shyness, saved me from falling deeper into the meth trap.

I went through a terrible withdrawal. I felt extremely low and depressed, was hungry and tired all the time, and just wanted to die. But after a few months my mind cleared up and I started to see how I must have looked to other people when I was on drugs. I finally saw how paranoid I had become in such a short time, and how horribly I had treated my best friend Stacy, who never touched drugs. I saw that Karen and Mike had never been my real friends, and that we had absolutely nothing in common. Our all-night "deep" conversations seemed more shallow than a puddle when I examined them from a sober viewpoint. All of this made me want to never do meth again. 

Sadly, though, I fell back into bulimia. I may have kicked meth, but I didn't get to the root of my issues, so I just went from one addiction to another. It would be years before I faced my inner demons and truly freed myself from all of my addictions and addictive behaviors.

I thought that because I had gotten off meth by myself, that I was fine. In retrospect I see that I should have gotten help to see what made me do meth in the first place. (As well as turn to other drugs and to bulimia.) But covering up my issues and lying to myself was typical for me back then, and it was something that I did for quite awhile. 

Now I am owning up to the harmful things that I've done to myself and others. I'm looking into why I did drugs, why I was bulimic, and why I let myself be degraded in the sex industry for so many years. It's hard to be honest with myself sometimes, but the results are worth it. I don't need to make excuses and hide behind destructive behavior anymore, and that is a wonderful thing. 

I highly recommend to anyone who has engaged in self-destructive behavior in the past, or who is doing so in the present, to consider getting help, and to start facing and dealing with your underlying issues. It may not be easy, but I know that ultimately you'll be glad that you did.

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POSTSCRIPT #1: I heard from Selena a few months after I got off of meth. She told me that Karen had called her and had let her know that Mike had been recently been shot, and that he later died from his gunshot wounds. Karen had moved away and had had her baby, (the baby came out healthy, as far as I know), but she was still having trouble quitting meth. Their stories served as a bleak reminder of what might have happened to me if I had continued down that very unhealthy and dangerous path that I had been on. I was incredibly lucky.

POSTSCRIPT #2: To be clear, it was not easy at all to get off of meth. I'm aware that it may seem that way due to the fact that I did not go to rehab, but there is more to this story, and I will elaborate on my meth use, withdrawal and recovery in my upcoming memoir. It will cover my childhood and teen years growing up in a drug-filled, over-sexualized society, as well my seven years working in the destructive sex industry.

Note: My memoir is currently a work in progress. Please check back to my main page here at AntiPornography.org for updates, or feel free to follow me at Twitter or subscribe to me at YouTube. Thanks!

TWITTERhttps://twitter.com/ExPornStarVLB YOUTUBEhttp://www.youtube.com/ExPornStarVanessaB

*The names of all living people in this story have been changed to protect their privacy.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to see the truly horrific damage that meth can do to people, and what might have happened to me if I wasn't fortunate enough to have kicked meth use, check out the shocking mug shots of meth users below, taken over a series of years, in an infographic created by Rehabs.com. Also, if you are a meth user and need help, please visit their website and contact them, and/or find a treatment center near you. You'll be glad you did, because your life is worth saving!

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Before and After Drugs (Meth)
Before and After Drugs (Meth) via Rehabs.com>

 

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Please feel free to read more of my writing about my life, and the harms of pornography, prostitution, stripping, sexual abuse and related issues. Click HERE.

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DESCRIPTION
 
Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality takes an unflinching look at today’s porn industry: the stories woven into the images, the impact on our culture, the effects on us as men and women, the business machine that creates and markets porn, and the growing legitimacy of porn in mainstream media. Above all, PORNLAND examines the way porn shapes and limits sexual imaginations and behaviors.
 
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TABLE OF CONTENTS AND EXCERPTS
 
Introduction - Porn and the Industrialization of Sex (Excerpt)
 
One - Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler: Paving the Way for Today’s Porn Industry

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Four - Grooming For Gonzo: Becoming a Man in a Porn Culture

Five - Leaky Images: How Porn Seeps into Men’s Lives

Six - Visible or Invisible: Growing up Female in a Porn Culture (Excerpt) 

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For more information about the documented harms of pornography please visit the extremely informative website Pornography Harms at PornHarms.com.  

"Dedicated to providing the most accurate peer-reviewed research on the harm from pornography, along with relevant news and opinion."  


This outstanding website comprehensively addresses the harms of pornography in regards to all of the following categories: addiction, brain science, children, cybersex, family, Internet, Internet safety, marriage, men, psychological, prostitution, relationships, research, self image, sex trafficking, sexting, sexual violence, societal, STDs, teens, and women.

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"Frequently Asked Questions & Responses to Pro-Pornography Arguments"

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~~  NO-PORN PLEDGE  ~~

Have you taken the NO-PORN PLEDGE at NoPornPledge.com yet? If not, now would be a really great time to do so!  Please click here or the banner below.

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See the list of many people from all around the world who have signed the No-Porn Pledge. Click here

Read the reasons why they have signed in the No-PornPledge Guestbook. Click here. Don't forget to join them by signing the pledge and sharing your reasons why in the guestbook there as well!

From NoPornPledge.com:

"Join a growing number of people who have made a decision to eliminate porn from their lives. Sign your name, and publicly declare that you won't use porn, or have an intimate relationship with anyone who does."

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At AntiPornography.org we are working to prevent and combat the devastating harms of pornography, prostitution, sex trafficking and sexual slavery, as well as all other forms of sexual exploitation, through public education and advocacy. We are:
 
 
Anti-Censorship, Pro-Free Speech, Nonreligious, Anti-Banning

Anti-Sexism, Anti-Exploitation, Anti-Slavery, Anti-Violence ~

Pro-Education, Pro Safe, Healthy, Respectful, Equality-Based Sexuality 

Pro-reasonable regulation of the pornography industry for the health and safety of the performers.

*Please see FAQ for more information on all of the above.  Thank you!

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RESOURCES, FRIENDS, SUPPORTERS AND ALLIES:

NOTE: All those marked with * are friends, subscribers or followers of AntiPornography.org at Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or one of our other social networking websites, or have demonstrated support for our work otherwise, such as providing content for this website or linking to us or to one of our blogs and/or social networking projects. Also please note that the below list is a work in progress and that it is not complete. Please share any errors, omissions or suggestions here. Thank you!


WOMEN AND GIRLS FOCUSED RESOURCES:  

(For family, children, men and addiction focused resources, please scroll down.)

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ANTI-PORNOGRAPHY ORGANIZATIONS GROUPS AND WEBSITES:  

*Culture Reframed      Pornography FAQ      *ResistPorn Culture (UK)     No Porn Pledge     *Against Pornography

*Anti-Porn Feminists (Anti-Porn London)    Men Against Porn / Prostitution / Patriarchy     *The Violence of Pornography (Graphic) 

  *No Porn Northampton    Playboy: Talkin' Trash     *Girls Against Porn      Bin the Bunny      Stop Patriarchy

*JoinPornBusters YouTube Channel    The Price of Pleasure Documentary Film Website  

*Come Back From Your Fantasy (Sex-Positive Anti-Porn Feminist Tumblr, by young feminist Kelsey Ruane)

*Make Love Not Porn (Not technically anti-porn but shows differences of porn vs. real life.)

Somebody's Daughter   *Fight the New Drug  *pornTRUTH   

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'ANTI-PORNOGRAPHY ACTIVIST INDIVIDUALS, AUTHORS AND FILMMAKERS:  
 
 
 
 

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ANTI-PROSTITUTION/TRAFFICKING/SEXUAL EXPLOITATION/ABUSE SITES, ETC:
 
 
The above channels are AntiPornography.org pjts with MANY videos & helpful resources! 
 
 
 

Polaris Project     Breaking Free     SAGE (Standing Against Global Exploitation)  

The Lola Green Baldwin Foundation    Stop Demand Foundation  Genderberg

*SCASE (Scottish Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation)    Our Voices Matter   

*CAASE  (Chicago Coalition against Sexual Exploitation)  StopTraffickingDemand.com

*BSCC (Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition)  Beauty from Ashes   *Not for Sale Campaign 

New York Anti-Trafficking Coalition   Coalition for Action on Sexism and True Equality

*Is There Something I Can Do?  *StAT (Stand Against Trafficking)  *Stop Slavery Here

*Artists United for Social Justice  Freedom & Justice Center (For Prostitution Resources)

Donna M. Hughes, PhD  (Dignity List)   Chicago Coalition for the Homeless  

Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault    Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault

California Coalition Against Sexual Assault 

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FEMINIST, WOMEN & GIRLS ADVOCATE ORGANIZATIONS & GROUPS, ETC:

*Equality Now    *The F-Word    *Off Our Backs     *Women for Women International

     *Global Fund for Women  *London Feminist Network  *Feminist.com

*The National Organization for Women (NOW)    Feminist Majority Foundation  (FMF)

*Feminist Campus   Ms. Magazine  *Safe World 4 Women   *Women's Law Society

*WomensLaw.org   *U.S. Department of State's Office of Global Women's Issues  

*SIGI.org  *GlobalSister.org  FeministGifts.com  *The Date Safe Project  *VAWNet  

*No Statute of Limitations   *RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) 

*The National Domestic Violence Hotline  *Guard Yourself Now  *UK Feminista

Chicago Foundation for Women    *The Women's Media Center  The F-Files

*Free Girl Foundation  *Girls Fight Back   *The Girl Effect   *Girls for Gender Equity   

*Girl Fest Hawaii   *Rain & Thunder    Daughters of the Sun - A Youth Leader Project

*Biting Beaver  *No Excuses / No Mercy   *RadFem Hub
 
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MEN AGAINST SEXISM, VIOLENCE, SEXUAL EXPLOITATION  & ABUSE, ETC.

NOMAS (National Organization of Men Against Sexism )    *Men Can Stop Rape     *My Strength Campaign  

*Men Stopping Violence      *A Call to Men UK       *The White Ribbon Campaign (CA)  

  *Reclaiming Sex From XXX       *Byron Hurt       Jackson Katz   

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MEDIA, FREE SPEECH, & OTHER ORGANIZATIONS, GROUPS & SITES:

 *Media Education Foundation Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press

Miboda Agency

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MESSAGE BOARDS AND FORUMS FOR HELP, INFORMATION & SUPPORT:

There are MANY anti-porn groups and pages at Facebook.
 
Just search GROUPS and PAGES for "anti-porn," "antiporn," "anti-pornography" & "antipornography" and similar terms.
 
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FAMILY, CHILDREN, MEN & ADDICTION FOCUSED RESOURCES:   

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ANTI-PORNOGRAPHY ORGANIZATIONS, GROUPS, AND WEBSITES: 

*National Center on Sexual Exploitation      *Pornography Harms      *Enough Is Enough      ProtectKids.com     

*Pornversations - College tour of an ex porn performer and an ex porn addict    Protect Young Minds

 National Law Center  for Children and Families    *Traffic Control, the Movie     Maryland Coalition Against Pornography   

It's Time We Talked      Utah Coalition Against Pornography       BraveHearts       Diamond Heart Foundation

Report Online Child Pornography/Exploitation at CyberTipLine.com or 1-800-843-5678

*Darkness 2 Light    *XXX Church    Department of Justice  ThePornTalk.com  

Social Costs of PornographyConference Videos   Papers   Report of Findings

*Safe Eyes (InternetSafety.com)  *Convenant Eyes   Internet Filter Review     *Women for Decency     AntiChildPorn.org

Say No to Pornography Pakistan - Let's Wage a War Against Pornography Blogspot

Canadians Addressing Sexual Exploitation  (C.A.S.E.) (Canada)

CANADA - List of other anti-pornography and related Canadian organizations

(Scroll down on above link to get to the list of organizations)

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ANTI-PORNOGRAPHY ACTIVIST INDIVIDUALS, AUTHORS, AND THERAPISTS:  

*Pat Trueman  (Founder of Pornography Harms) Pamela Paul  (Author of "Pornified")

Dr. Jill C. Manning (Author:"What's the Big Deal about Pornography? A Guide for the Internet Generation")

Dr. Judith Reisman   *Dr. Robi Sonderegger

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ANTI-PROSTITUTION/TRAFFICKING/SEXUAL EXPLOITATION/ABUSE SITES, ETC:  

*Shared Hope International     Free the Slaves

*IJM Institute (International Justice Mission)   *Global Centurion   *Live2free

*ECPAT - USA (End Child Prostitution & Trafficking)  *Beyond Borders (ECPATCanada)

*T-Stop (Texas Sex Trafficking Obliteration Project)   *Love146 NYC Task Force

*End Slavery NT (End Slavery in Tennessee and Beyond)   *Chab Dai Coalition

*Justice and Care (South Asia)  *Rock Against Slavery   End Demand

Overexposed, the Movie   Call and Response, the Movie    *Nowhere2Hide

CASEY (Community Against Sexual Exploitation of Youth. Canada)   

 
 

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OTHER RELATED ORGANIZATIONS, GROUPS, WEBSITES & CAUSES:

*Parents Television Council   *Web Wise Kids   *InternetSafety.com

*ClearInternational   *Cyber Safety Book  (Ken Knapton)   *Optenet PC

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PORNOGRAPHY ADDICTION AND COMPULSION HELP AND SUPPORT:  

*PornAddictionHelp YouTube Channel - AntiPornography.org project with MANY videos & resources!

*Inner Gold    *Fight the New Drug   *Compulsion Solutions   The Mindful Habit

*Porn Game Over    MeadowCrest   Your Brain on Porn    HealthySex.com (Wendy Maltz)   Reboot Nation

Sexual Recovery Institute    *Just Be Well    *No-Porn.com  No-Porn.com Message Board

*Impulse Treatment Center (Sex Addict Treatment - Don L. Matthews)   *Covenant Eyes   *Stepping Inward

*Mindful Recovery   My Porn Addiction Story - Porn Addiction Help from a Former Addict

Porn Addicts Anonymous  Porn & Relationships Q&A (By "Porn Trap's'" Wendy Maltz)  Addicted to Internet Porn

Porn Addict Hubby  (Relationship Rescue for Wives & Girlfriends of Internet Porn Addicts)

Partners of Sex Addicts Resource Center    The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH)

Don't Reward Bad Behaviour - Guidance for Partners of Porn Addicts  Desert Solace

Petra Bueskens of PPMD Therapy (Australia)   PPMD Therapy Facebook   Guilty Pleasure

QuitPorn Group Text Hotline - "To become a member and join our group text community, start by texting QUITPORN to 23559"  Twitter: @QuitPornHotline  YouTube: QuitPornTextHotline

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LOOKING FOR A SEX OR PORN ADDICTION THERAPIST OR COUNSELOR? 

Check out this very helpful directory of over 1,000 entries in the United States!

http://www.abattleplan.com/counselors-therapists-sex-addiction-directory/

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ACCOUNTABILITY SOFTWARE:

Saavi Accountability -- The only online accountability program that works with all online addictions. It is also the only program that sends notifications instantly via text message to an accountability partner so that they can be supportive when an individual needs it the most at the point of weakness, while they are accessing the online content. The software was created by a young man (26) who overcame his addiction and is trying to help others.  

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ADDICTION MESSAGE BOARDS & DISCUSSION FORUMS FOR HELP & SUPPORT:

No-Porn.com Message Board

Porn Addict Hubby Discussion Board  (For Wives & Girlfriends of Internet Porn Addicts)

NOTE: There are MANY anti-porn and porn addiciton discussion groups and pages at Facebook.

Just search GROUPS and PAGES for "porn addiction", "pornography addiction", "sex addiction", "anti-porn," "antiporn," "anti-pornography" & "antipornography"

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For more than 50 personal stories documenting the harms of compulsive and/or excessive pornography use and/or pornography addiction please see our "Porn Harm Stories" page.  Thank you.

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NEED HELP WITH PORN ADDICTION?

CHECK OUT THE MINDFUL HABIT!

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OTHER HELPFUL FAQs & Q&As: (By other anti-pornography organizations, etc) 

*Gail Dines Q&A     *Against Pornography FAQ    Pornography FAQ - By Pro-feminist Michael Lovan

  *Shelley Lubben Q&A (Ex-Porn Star)    Prostitution FAQ at Genderberg      Fight the New Drug FAQ   

(Note: The No Porn Northampton FAQ is in the bottom half of their sidebar. In addition to the usual questions about pornography it addresses questions and concerns about activism against sexually oriented businesses such as "adult bookstores.")

AntiPornography.org's "Frequently Asked Questions & Responses to Pro-Pornography Arguments"

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Shared Hope International specifically focuses on fighting the demand for commercial sexual exploitaiton, including addressing pornography as a very significant demand factor for sex trafficking. 

Please see their excellent report on this issue:

Pornography: Creating Demand for International Sex Trafficking

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"Pornography is a marketing device for sex trafficking: It normalizes degradation and violence as acceptable and even inevitable parts of sex, and uses the bodies of real women and children as objects. The difference between pornography and erotica is clear in the roots of the words themselves -- porne means females slaves, eros means love -- so pornography, like rape, is about violence and domination, not sex. Millions of lives depend on our ability to separate pornography from erotica, and to disentangle violence from sexuality."

Gloria Steinem, 2006

For information about Gloria Steinem's important work of fighting against the harms of pornography, sex trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation and abuse, including videos and an audio interview, please see our page on Gloria Steinem. Click here.

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For more information on how pornography fuels prostitution and sex trafficking, please see our page on Pornography and Trafficking.  Click here.  Thank you!

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YOUR HELP IS NEEDED. PLEASE DONATE IF YOU ARE ABLE TO.

Please remember that it is not up to AntiPornography.org, the other organizations listed on this page, the government, or "someone else" to do the entire job of fighting against the devastating harms of pornography, prostitution, trafficking, and other forms of sexual exploitation or abuse. It is an enormous job and the responsibility lies with each and every one of us to do our part as part of the bigger team of those who are choosing to be part of the solution of creating a more just and humane world for everyone, rather than be part of the problem.

So thank you in advance for whatever you are able to contribute to the cause, whether in the form of a tax-deductible donation or your actions. What you do does matter, so for the sake of all those across the world who are being exploited and abused, and for the sake of the future of humanity, please do what you can to create a more compassionate and safer society for all.

Thank you for whatever you are able to give or do to help create a better world for everyone, especially for women, children and future generations.

 YOUR SUPPORTIVE ACTIONS & YOUR DONATIONS ARE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED. 

THEY CAN AND WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

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THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT! IT'S VERY MUCH APPRECIATED AND REALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE!

 

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