World Congress of Families IX: Pornography and sex trafficking are the scourges of the Millennial generation

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Abby Hobbs
Tim Ballard answers questions from young adults following a forum about pornography and sex trafficking at the World Congress of Families on October 30 at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City. (Abby Hobbs)

Founders of both Fight the New Drug and Operation Underground Railroad campaigns addressed a World Congress of Families audience to discuss the “scourges” of pornography and sex trafficking on Friday at the Little America in Salt Lake City.

Clay Olsen, co-founder of the Fight the New Drug campaign, talked primarily about the damaging effects pornography has on the human brain, relationships and society as a whole. Heart-rending campaign videos as well as startling statistics elicited recurring applause from a largely young adult audience.

One of the videos Olsen showed told the story of a man who was first introduced to pornography at age ten and was arrested at age 13 for sexual abuse. The man said, “It changed the way I viewed women…It just kind of ripped me apart.”

Olsen outlined the process of desensitization that can happen from pornography addiction. “What we consume actually changes what we prefer, what we desire, what we are interested in,” Olsen said, making reference to research conducted by psychiatrist Norman Doidge.

Olsen described the addictive effects of pornography by quoting another young adult he met during his campaign who said, “I’ve been trying to fight this for years and I can’t seem to get away. Its ruined nearly three relationships. It really has a grasp on me.”

Olsen said that pornography is destroying relationships and is the “antithesis of love.” Five percent of males in the U.S. experienced sexual dysfunction in 1992, Olsen said. Today, 53.5 percent of males between the ages of 16 and 21 experience sexual dysfunction, defined as the inability to desire or enjoy sexual intercourse commonly caused by hyper-sexuality, he said.

The evolution of pornography has created a great disconnect between what parents and children consider to be “porn.” Olsen said many parents consider Playboy magazine to be the icon of “porn,” where their teen-age children say they don’t think it’s pornography at all. “The very nature of [pornographic] material has changed. It is no longer people with no clothes. It’s something far more aggressive and violent,” Olsen said.

Today, 88 percent of the most popular pornographic films contain physical violence against women, according to Olsen. He shared a quote from a young girl who was exposed to pornography to demonstrate its devastating impact: “Pornography has made me react positively to nonconsensual sex and violence against women.”

Olsen said there are ways to “join the fight” against the “new drug,” of pornography. Olsen mentioned fortifyprogram.org, which is a website with 28,932 subscribers seeking relief from their pornography addictions.

Olsen’s “Fight the New Drug” campaign began when he and his college friends realized that it was time to end this “epidemic” in society. “Pornography affects what we love, how much we love, and our ability to express love,” Olsen said, adding that the “cure” starts with us joining together and rejecting pornography, “which will eventually change our world.”

Tim Ballard, founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad, focused primarily on sex trafficking and the sex trade of children globally. According to Ballard, two million children are currently forced into the commercial sex trade. “Why?” Ballard asked. “Because there are that many sick people addicted to this ‘new drug.'”

Ballard said that when adults who view pornography stop getting their desired dopamine release from adult material, they decide to view child porn, which leads to abuse and slavery.

Ballard told the story of a young boy he rescued as a member of the CIA and Homeland Security. Ballard was the first to greet the five-year old child at the Mexican-American border in the vehicle of his trafficker, possessor of 11 other children in San Bernardino, California.

“I don’t belong here,” the young Mexican boy said to Ballard. It was this experience that led Ballard to commit his life to rescuing children from sex slavery. “I had to do this. Because there were more kids out there,” Ballard said.

According to Ballard, the current number of sex slaves around the world is greater by far than all the slaves combined during the transatlantic slave trade that was in operation for 300 years. Comparing his role to that of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s acts help end slavery, Ballard said, “We need to emancipate the slaves.”

Ballard and his team travel the world, often going undercover in their rescue operations. In a year and a half, their efforts have rescued more than 300 victims and protected tens of thousands of potential victims because over 100 of their “would-be traffickers” are in jail, Ballard said.

Ballard and Olsen, both from Utah, join together in their efforts to decrease both pornography and sex trafficking, something that Ballard said goes hand in hand. “Get on our teams,” Ballard said. “We need a cultural revolution.” Both the Fight the New Drug and Operation Underground Railroad websites outline what the general population can do to fight these issues, including the use of social media and small donations.

#WCF9 #pornkillslove

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