The Other Side of the Webcam

Posted: October 20, 2010 in About slavery/human trafficking
Tags: , , , ,

*** Warning: the following post may reduce your guilt-free consumption of internet porn ***

Fun-loving web surfers, have you ever paused on your merry way to ask yourselves the question “Boy, where does all that porn come from?” Perhaps not. It’s a question we’d probably rather avoid, right? We just want to complete our transaction, if you will, and move on. (Like eating fast food: don’t ask what’s in it–just fill your appetite.)

In the course of our research leading up to this year abroad, and also in the first three months of our stay in the Philippines, however, we’ve been confronted (to continue the analogy) with the ingredients and the supply chain of this sector of the economy that makes the fast food business look wholesome. Now I believe that there are some women who subsist by selling their bodies who are self-actualized and emancipated, catered nutritious foods, treated respectfully, never been abused, enjoy good health, are paid a dignified salary and 401(k), and go home to loving partners, families, and proud communities. I also believe that it’s possible to be attacked at random by a Great Northwestern Spotted Ferret Bat.

What this video dramatizes in four arresting minutes is a story that is all too common, a story that plays out in apartments, condos, and motel rooms everywhere from California to Calcutta, Miami to Manila. It’s not graphic, but it may be disturbing; don’t watch if you don’t want to see what goes inside this proverbial can of Spam.


“We made connections between men’s demand for and socialization through pornography and the rape, woman battering, and sexual harassment we had a decade earlier begun to mobilized against . . . . although many of us believed that we were protesting images of violence, in reality we were protesting violence documented. The rape was not only on paper. The images were mostly photographs of actual women, with histories of horrific abuse, whose bodies were bought, sold and violated for the benefit of sex industry profiteers . . . it was a sobering revelation: the sex industry defenders we were pitted against on TV talk shows were the most brutalized sex industry victims.”*

Dorchen A. Leidholdt, Co-Executive Director
The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women


* For more on the link between pornography and prostitution (and for an excellent history of the fight against sex trafficking), read CATW Dorchen Leidholdt’s complete speech here.  It’s long, but well worth the complete read.

  1. First thing that came to mind was this:
    Before Good Magazine went into the shitter.

    Porn is a funny thing. In the post-broadband era the performers are just a drop in the bucket. The IT infrastructure it takes to keep some of these sites going is pretty damn impressive. They are streaming tremendous amounts of HD video from large distributed computing platforms. The person in charge of network operations is taking home a lot more money than your average performer, and they don’t even have to take off their pants… although I suppose they can if they want to.

    I have a feeling that the link between pornography and prostitution is going to start to degrade pretty quickly in the future. We are entering a new era of porn, an era where it’s all amateur. An era where no one has to be taken advantage of because there are enough people that simply give aware their n00dz for free. The money to be made in porn continues to shift away from porn and into engineering. Let’s hope, anyway.

    • freeisaverb says:

      Hey buddy, I knew I could count on you for some interwebular insight and illuminating linkage. I’m sure you too have heard the stat, maxim, or truism about so many internet innovations being driven by the adult industry, secure online payment and streaming video (if I remember correctly) being just two of the notable ones.

      What we were hoping to accomplish with this post, though, is peel back the glossy coating that many of our American peers in the Stuff White People Like demographic view porn through. Obviously human trafficking (just like drugs and weapons trafficking, the two other most profitable black market industries) is a many-layered thing, but what it’s so easy to forget when consuming a virtual product is that there’s a human being somewhere on the other end.

  2. Bryan says:

    Thanks for the video.

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