In the Know: A Survivor's Perspective

What’s Porn Got to Do With It?
By Anna Malika, Policy and Survivor Advocate

When I speak throughout the globe on the issue of human trafficking, everyone seems to be stuck on the idea that a “victim” of sex trafficking is a girl walking up and down the streets in a short skirt and high heels. Although victims can come in this form, this is not always the case. 

My personal focus as an Overcomer Leader  in the Survivor Movement has been to bring awareness that pornography falls under the category of sex trafficking. Our laws are falling short. As a pre-law student, I understand that prohibiting people from posting on public Internet forums can be a violation of their First Amendment rights. However, when did it become okay to post a photograph or video of someone being raped or performing sexual acts on the computer? Regardless as to what people think is rape or not, we seriously consider someone having sex with multiple people a form of entertainment. Something has to change with how society and our government see pornography. 

Porn is also a drug. According to “Porn Changes the Brain,”an article by Fight the New Drug (FTND), the brain is constantly laying down new pathways during new experiences. This process is called neuroplasticity -- neuro meaning “brain” and plasticity meaning “changeability.” Over the years, studies have found that pornography has a similar effect on the brain as drugs. Studies have found that drugs and pornography affect the brain’s “reward pathways.” Basically, being addicted to porn is essentially the same as being addicted to drugs. It is funny how doing drugs once is considered unhealthy, yet looking at women being raped repeatedly isn’t. Viewers of porn often relax at the thought that they have not purchased sex with a real person … only the computer. The truth is -- you have purchased sex. 

Porn is fueling the commercial sex industry. As people continue to watch porn, their brains become desensitized to the women on the screen and cravings intensify. As these cravings intensify, viewers begin to purchase actual people for sex, both boys and girls. After the cravings are satisfied with sex with a 20 year old, they start wanting sex with a 19 year old, etc. THIS is why the ages for prostitution are becoming younger and younger! 

Something must change! Obviously it is not as easy as changing the laws and cutting off your computers. It has to be a heart and mind change by the viewers! The people on the screens are someone’s children. 

Another problem I have decided to tackle is the hypersexualization of women within the media. Magazines are filled with women who are in scantily clad attire. I have started my own fashion line called Anna Malika Designs. My clothes are modest, yet fashionable. My goal is to promote the idea that women can still be feminine when they do not expose themselves. The first collection, launched at New York Fashion Week February 2015, was for Elegantees and is called “Freedom is the New Beautiful.” This collection consists of bright and flowing fabrics with pieces ranging from a couture gown to a clutch. Each piece is made by Overcomers of sex trafficking in the Nepali Rescue Project. Profits from the collection go to aftercare services that work directly with overcomers of sex trafficking. 

Anna is currently an international public speaker as well as a survivor and policy advocate in the movement to end human trafficking. Her main focus is on the link between sex trafficking and pornography. Her role in the movement has been greatly focused around policy, law and curriculum development for safe houses working with survivors of sex trafficking.
You can read more about Anna and shop the collection at annamalika.com 

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Learn more about Anna at AnnaMalika.com