Debunking The 4 Myths of DMST

MYTH 1: “Pornography is harmless.
Pornography is the leading driving engine of demand for today’s commercial sex industry. The science behind pornography addictions are real and present real dangers that must be understood. It is at the very root of this problem.  The pornography industry and trafficking industry are inextricably linked.  Plain and simple, pornography is marketing for commercial sexual exploitation and most often is commercial sexual exploitation.  Through pornography, deviant sexual behaviors and attitudes are normalized in the human mind. Pornography addictions are created when dopamine is released with the brain and a rush is experienced upon viewing sexually-oriented material. This “rush” is a normal reaction within the human brain to sexual stimuli. However, in the context of pornography consumption, one must seek increasingly extreme, more frequent and even deviant content in order to get that same feeling. Experts on pornography addictions cite the following:

  • 1 out of every 5 pornographic images is of a child; [8]
  • By definition, 100% of children used in child pornography are victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation. Because we are discussing minors, any consent given or implied is irrelevant;
  • “Sexting” photos of children is child pornography;
  • 74% of sex purchasers said they first learned about sex from pornography; [9]
  • Between 2005 and 2009 there was a 432% increase in pornography content containing child pornography; [7]
  • Pornography use over time leads to neurological damage in the brain, sexual dysfunctions such as erectile dysfunction, and lowered levels of overall happiness within marriages; [12]
  • Individuals who use pornography report that their sexual fantasies become more deviant, hostile and violent over time; [12]
  • Trafficking victims report having their exploitation filmed and photographed for use in pornography

MYTH 2: “Prostitution is different because it’s a woman’s choice, right?”
The reality of prostitution reveals an entirely different picture. Prostitution is not a humane or acceptable means for anyone to make a living. Even if it is a “choice”, it is a choice born of desperation. We reject the idea that is the “world’s oldest profession” and that nothing can be done about it. It is the exploitation of a human being and a form of violence.

  • It is estimated that 65% to 95% of prostituted women and men have a history of early childhood sexual abuse and associated trauma. [14] As one victim explained, “We’ve all been molested over and over, and raped. We were all molested and sexually-abused as children, don’t you know that?” [15] Our utmost compassion is called for here, not our disdain or indifference.
  • The average age of entry into prostitution is 12 years old [5], below the age of consent. This makes it hard to say that prostitution is a choice that a woman makes with her body.
  • Most girls and women who are prostituted are being controlled, manipulated, and subjected to frequent abuse, torture, gang rape and threats of violence.
  • Nearly 90% of prostituted persons are controlled by a pimp. [16]
  • Studies cite that the mortality rate of prostituted individuals is between 40 and 70 times that of the general population. [13]
  • Prostituted individuals suffer from a myriad of trauma related mental disorders including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Prostituted individuals often turn to or are forced to use drugs as a coping mechanism or way to be kept compliant.

MYTH 3: “Why can’t victims just escape?

  • Physical restraint;
  • Psychological restraint- i.e. trauma bonding;
  • Threat of violence – to self or others;
  • Drug use – used as a coping mechanism or given forcibly to keep victims compliant;
  • Victims are taught by their perpetrators (and unfortunately sometimes through their own experiences with negative law enforcement encounters) not to trust law enforcement;
  • Hopelessness, depression, despair;
  • They often have nowhere to go and no one to turn to;
  • They are marginalized and isolated

MYTH 4: “There is nothing I can do. This problem is just too big.”
This is the biggest myth of all…

For the atrocity of human trafficking to be wiped out and for the victims and perpetrators to experience healing, we as a community must act with intention. As fellow Americans, we are called to fight for each other. Each of us has a unique set of gifts and talents. We are called to reach out to the vulnerable among us.


UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Article 3 paragraph (a) p42. Retrieved from:
Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, Pub. L. No. 106-386, division A, 103(8), (9) 114 Stat. 1464; codified as amended as 22 USCS 7102(8) [Title 22. Foreign Relations and Intercourse; Chapter 78 Trafficking Victims Protection]
Leidholt, D.A. (2003). Demand and the Debate. Retrieved from:
United Nations International Labor Organization. (2012). Summary of the UN ILO 2012 Global Estimate of Forced Labor. Retrieved from >
United States Dept of Justice
US Dept of State
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Smith, L., Vardman, S., Snow, M. (2009). Shared Hope International. The National Report on DMST; Americas Prostituted Children. .
Farley, M. (2011) “Comparing Sex Buyers with Men Who Don’t Buy Sex” You can have a good time without the servitude vs. you’re supporting a system of degradation.
Roe-Sepowitz, D., Hickle, K., Gallagher, J., Smith, J., Hedberg, E., (2013). Invisible Offenders: A Study Estimating Online Sex Customers. ASU School of Social Work, Office of Sex Trafficking Research. Retrieved from http;// sex-customers
Statistics from WPD Press Briefing on September 21, 2011. Cpt. Michael B. Allred WPD
Covenant Eyes. (2014) Pornography Statistics; 250+ facts, quotes, and statistics about pornography use. (p8) (p11-12)
WHISPER (Women Hurt in Systems of Prostitution Engaged in Revolt) National Task Force
 Farley, M. (2004). Prostitution is Sexual Violence. Psychiatric Times. Retrieved from http://
Seattle: Northwest Resource Associate. (1993). Survival Sex in King County: Report Submitted to King County Women’s’ Advisory Board
Shared Hope Int’l >
Shared Hope International. Retrieved from >
FBI. Retrieved from >