A missing teenage girl showed up in internet porn. How many others situations like this are out there?

· October 30, 2019  
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Some stories cannot be described as anything short of horrific: A missing Florida teenager was found in pornographic online videos almost a year after she disappeared.

The Florida Sun-Sentinel reported the story last week. According to a police report obtained by the newspaper, the missing 15-year-old’s mother found sexually explicit photos of the girl online. When law enforcement looked further, they found her in almost 60 pornographic videos across multiple digital platforms.

In some of the videos, the teen was seen with a bald man whom police recognized as someone she had been seen with around the time she went missing. Using surveillance footage, they were able to track down and find the girl and arrest the suspect, who denies raping the alleged victim.

Upon searching the suspect’s apartment, they also found paperwork from an abortion clinic. A detective explained in the police report, “The victim stated that she got pregnant from the defendant and he took her to the clinic to have an abortion.”

The suspect is being held in jail on felony charges of lewd or lascivious battery on a victim between the ages of 12 and 16, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

The details of this account are terrifying, especially for parents. Perhaps even more terrifying is that we simply don’t know how many other cases similar this are happening right now.

The situation described in the arrest report appears to be nothing less than sex trafficking and doesn’t differ all that much from the plot described in anti-trafficking activist and filmmaker Jaco Booyens’ 2014 film “8 Days,” which was based on multiple trafficking stories. Indeed, this story should force all of those disgusted by it to confront the reality of the link between internet pornography and sex trafficking.

Because of the growth of free pornographic websites, the distribution of explicit material across many different social media platforms, and the underground nature of sexual exploitation, there’s simply no way to know how many crimes like this are out there.

In a July blog post, the anti-pornography educational nonprofit Fight the New Drug explained, “The average porn consumer, likely exposed and hooked in before the age of 18, has no idea what exactly goes into the production of a single pornographic image or video” or whether or not a “performer” was there of his or her own free will.

“We’re not claiming that all porn is non-consensual,” the blog post cautions. “We’re just pointing out that some of it is and some of it isn’t, and there’s no legitimate way to know which is which.”

A 2014 post from the nonprofit Human Trafficking Search explains that traffickers put victims into pornography for both increased financial gain and a means of psychological control. “It is possible for a young woman or girl to walk away from sex trafficking and start a new life, but sexually illicit photos or films will follow her forever,” the post says. “Traffickers know this and use it as a method of control and blackmail, letting the girls know that now they are on the Internet they can never escape the life.”

“I really wish that people who watch porn knew more about” the link to trafficking, Dr. Mahri Irvine, adjunct professional lecturer at American University, said earlier this year. “Because I think they believe that they’re engaging in this activity in a very passive way. And they’re like, ‘Oh, I’m doing it in the privacy of my own home and this is just a video that I’m watching’. And they’re not associating it with the fact that pornography is very often the filmed rape of sex trafficking victims.”


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Author: Nate Madden

Nate Madden is BlazeTV’s congressional correspondent. Follow him @NateOnTheHill or send tips to nmadden@blazemedia.com.