10 Things Men and Boys Can Do to Stop Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is modern day slavery. It is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel another person to provide labor or commercial sex against their will, and it is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world.

The Renaissance Male Project believes that men are complicit in this crime when they purchase sex because they create the demand by allowing others to exploit women and children for profit. Men must play a role in ending this form of modern-day slavery, a vicious industry that exploits and perpetuates the suffering of hundreds of thousands of women and children in the United States and around the world.

Based on a list of statistics that The Polaris Project compiled:

  • 27  million are enslaved globally.
  • 14,500–17,500 individuals are brought into the U.S. as human trafficking victims each year.
  • 1 million children enter the global commercial sex trade every year.

There are specific actions that men and boys can take to end these atrocities:

1. Challenge the glamorization of pimps in our culture

Mainstream culture has popularized the image of a pimp to the point that some men and boys look up to them as if they represent legitimate male role models, and they view “pimping” as a normal expression of masculinity. As Carrie Baker reflects in “Jailing Girls for Men’s Crimes” in the Summer Ms. issue, the glorification of prostitution is often rewarded, not punished, in pop culture:

Reebok awarded a multi-million-dollar contract for two shoe lines to rapper 50 Cent, whose album “Get Rich or Die Tryin” (with the hit single “P.I.M.P.”) went platinum. Rapper Snoop Dogg, who showed up at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards with two women on dog leashes and who was described in the December 2006 cover of Rolling Stone as “America’s Most Lovable Pimp,” has received endorsement deals from Orbit gum and Chrysler.

In reality, pimps play a central role in human trafficking and routinely rape, beat and terrorize women and girls to keep them locked in prostitution. Men can take a stand against pimps and pimping by renouncing the pimp culture and the music that glorifies it.

2. Confront the belief that prostitution is a “victimless crime”

Many men view prostitution as a “victimless crime.” But it is not. For example, American women who are involved in prostitution are at a greater risk to be murdered than women in the general population. Research also shows that women involved in prostitution suffer tremendous physical and mental trauma associated with their work. Viewing prostitution as a victimless crime or something that women “choose” allows men to ignore the fact that the average age of entry into prostitution in the U.S. is 12 to 14 and that the vast majority of women engaged in prostitution would like to get out but feel trapped. Men should stop viewing prostitution as a victimless crime and acknowledge the tremendous harm and suffering their participation in prostitution causes.

3. Stop patronizing strip clubs

When men think of human trafficking, they often think of brothels in countries outside of the U.S. However, strip clubs in this country as well as abroad may be a place where human trafficking victims go unnoticed or unidentified.  Strip clubs are also places of manufactured pleasure where strippers are routinely sexually harassed and assaulted by owners, patrons and security personnel. Men rarely consider whether women working in strip clubs are coerced into that line of work, because to do so would conflict with the pleasure of participating in commercialized sex venues.  Men can combat human trafficking by no longer patronizing strip clubs and by encouraging their friends and co-workers to do the same.

4. Don’t consume pornography

Pornography has the power to manipulate male sexuality, popularize unhealthy attitudes towards sex and sexuality and eroticize violence against women. Pornography leads men and boys to believe that certain sexual acts are normal, when in fact sexual acts that are non-consensual, offensive and coupled with violent intent result in the pain, suffering and humiliation of women and children. In addition, a disproportionate amount of mainstream pornography sexualizes younger women with such titles as “teens,” “barely 18,” “cheerleaders,” etc.  Targeting younger women socializes men to develop appetites for younger and younger women and creates a pedophiliac culture among men. Victims of human trafficking have also been forced into pornography. Men can stop the voyeurism of sex and sex acts that fuel human trafficking by refusing to consume pornography and encourage others to do the same.

5. Tackle male chauvinism and sexism online

Contrary to the myth that men do not gossip, men spend a significant amount of time online discussing their sexual exploits. The Internet provides many men with the ability to mask their identities while indulging in racist, sexist and violent diatribes against women and girls. Choosing to be a critical voice online is an extremely important way to educate and inform men and boys about their choices. Men can change this culture by starting threads in online forums that cause men to talk about their attitudes towards women and how these attitudes and behaviors are linked to human trafficking.

6. End sex tourism

Men in the U.S. and other “first world”  nations routinely travel overseas and have sex with women in developing countries. When men engage in these practices, they do not acknowledge the fact that many trafficked women and children come from developing countries—even in countries where prostitution is “legal.” Traveling overseas grants men a great deal of anonymity. As men, we have a responsibility to confront the men that go overseas and participate in sex tourism.

7. Talk to men and boys about men’s issues in male spaces

The only way to change men is by engaging spaces where men and boys talk and develop their ideas and attitudes towards sex and sexuality. Males spaces such as barbershops, locker rooms, fraternities and union halls are the real classrooms where boys learn to become men and where men develop most of their ideas about how to interact with women. If men do not feel comfortable talking about these issues in male spaces, they can drop off informational brochures and make themselves available to talk with other men and boys when they have questions or concerns. As men, we need to turn male spaces into circles of accountability where men learn about non-violence, social justice and ending violence against women.

8. Support anti-human-trafficking policies

President Obama declared January 2010 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. However, more substantive legislation is required to end human trafficking. Men can educate themselves about the issues by visiting anti-trafficking organizations and by asking their elected officials what they have done to support or sponsor anti-human trafficking legislation. One of the most important acts men can do to stop human trafficking is to support anti-trafficking legislation at the local, state or federal level.

9. Support creation of “John Schools”

There would be no human trafficking if there were was no demand for it. Strategies aimed at ending human trafficking must focus on eliminating the demand. “John Schools” are education programs designed to educate customers apprehended by law enforcement who attempted to purchase sex. By teaching the legal and health effects of buying sex and the realities of prostitution, such schools impart knowledge that can reduce demand, making men conscious of how their actions can spur on human trafficking. Learn whether or not your local community has a John School. If not, encourage your local prosecutor’s office or city counsel to start one.

10. Raise sons and mentor boys to challenge oppression

No boy is destined to be a “john,” a pimp, or a human trafficker. Raising young men in circles of accountability to be respectful and protective of all women and children is one of the most important things men can do to stop human trafficking. Talk about human trafficking as a modern form of slavery to help convince men and boys to become allies in the fight to end this form of oppression.

Editors’ note: What do you think of these suggestions? Please comment and discuss!

This blog post is based on the Renaissance Male Project’s informational brocure; if interested, contact the author through his contact webpage

Above: A sculpture in Vigeland Park in Oslo, Norway of a man holding a child. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Quistnix! // CC 2.0.


  1. Charlotte says:

    As far as number 4 goes, what about Gloria Steinem's essay about erotica versus porn. Shouldn't that play into this somehow?

  2. Voice Of Freedom says:

    Hmmm, Don't get me wrong, I like every one of the above suggestions, but they all seemed aimed at changing the culture that supports trafficking. What about *Actually fighting trafficking*? What about demanding police stings on craigslist ads? What about filming pimps in action and demanding their arrests? What about telling your representatives that you demand that property of traffickers should be sold (ALL OF IT) and given to those who were trafficked while traffickers rot in jail? What about making a world where it is not SAFE for Traffickers.

    Traffickers are cruel loathesome vile wretches undeserving of any mercy. Its time we treated them as such.

    • jewelwoods says:

      I think those are excellent suggestions and i will think more about how to integrate them into gender-specific platforms. I do think, however, that one of the biggest problems is that most of us men don't see ourselves as traffickers and as "cruel loathsome vile wretches.." that you so accurately describe. As a result, we don't see our role in perpetuating the demand for human trafficking. One of the goals has to be to show us- men and boys- how we actively participate in this culture which supports human trafficking and rob us from the convenient comfort of us vs. them. Thank you!

    • Ryan Hopping says:

      Goods points, but they were outside the scope of the article. The article was looking at a specific element human trafficking, not the whole thing. That is why the answers to your questions were not included.

    • Here is an online petition from Avaaz urging Putin and Medvedev to crack down on human trafficking through Russia: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/russia_rape_trade_put…. It's really amazing how often the Avaaz petitions are successful in their goals.

    • Christian says:

      Awesome! No more coddling of violent offenders, which is what traffickers (and, arguably, "Johns") are. No cruel and unusual punishment, but we sure can make it unattractive and unpleasant to engage abuse of women and children. I love this article's concept of changing men's attitudes from one of "exploitation" to one of "protection". THAT appeals to the chivalric component of the male psyche. ~C

    • Check it out! Craigslist has disabled “adult services” ads! Our voices do matter! http://ow.ly/2zPgQ.

    • DeskDiva says:

      You have to change the culture if you expect to change the future. If, as you suggest, people restrict to “Actually fighting trafficking,” then you cannot get ahead of the game. The only way to STOP the trafficking is to change the way people think about it. Stopping the current action is a necessary part, but it’s only part of the answer.

    • It’s like treating a disease. I agree with turning on the culture. People involved in trafficking. They are horrendous people, we don’t know what kind of lives they had. I give no consideration to those bastards who are worse than any other criminal.. But something made them that way, right? Some men turn out very badly from a ghastly childhood. I’ve heard similar stories of women, who have been so hardened by a horrid childhood, that they have turned evil. But the men who find it.. Their lives are not so bad. And I read about men who, when approached by a reporter about sex trafficking in Amsterdam, and who having admitted they thought the women did not mean to be there, and in fact had been trafficked, said they would go on to pay for sex with them regardless. I’ve heard that, in the red light districts, men know full well this goes on, but they simply do not let it trouble them. The message is across to the general male population. Most women I know have awareness of it. I think it is very distressing. I cannot say what majority men think about it…

  3. john delong says:

    Since sex and money are inextricably linked (most women would sooner marry a rich man than a poor man)we should clearly define when sex IS permissible You only seem to define when sex is unpermissible.If you wish people to embrace a moral code concerning sex and money please use a consistent and detailed code.When can it be determined that sex IS legitimate?.A divorce settlement for example could be argued as "payment for services rendered"

    • Amee LeCheminant says:

      In a divorce settlement, money divided is not payment for sex nor is it the man's money handed to the woman. It's community property divided. Equally shared, because they are equal partners, and both share full responsibilities together.

      If marriage from your perception is to hire a wife for HIS personal sexual pleasure, then you've not begun to understand true partnership and love. Your comment shows that you hold no true value to women other than to provide sex for a man.

      Well, her sexual needs are equal to yours, and her value far exceeds your count.

      Let me also point out that caretakers (regardless of gender) should always have equal rights to finances as their employed partners.

      • True partnership and love is between equals. That’s not what he is referring to here. He is referring to a relationship where one partner’s labor feeds, houses and clothes another, almost as if that other person were a minor the first person is responsible for. That is hardly equal partnership and it is enslavement to deprive the first person of earned wealth to further support the second person.

        It’s a different matter entirely when both persons contribute equally to the household. Housekeeping and childcare, as valuated by households that employ nannies and housekeepers, is not eqivalent to what is generally considered a middle-class income.

        “and her value far exceeds your count.”

        How very Victorian a sentiment that is. The fair sex, infinitely more valuable than a man can even imagine……

        “Let me also point out that caretakers (regardless of gender) should always have equal rights to finances as their employed partners.”

        You are not pointing anything out. You are expressing a value judgement. that is not the same as pointing out a fact.

        • Just because childcare and housekeeping are not considered "real jobs" and thus are not valued on the open market as such, does not mean they are not of equal value to the labor performed by the person, male or female, outside of the home. Though your metric happens to be money, another metric might be the worth of having well adjusted children and a clean house to the person working outside the home.

          Also, it's interesting that an "equal partnership" inherently suggests equal money earning to you. I would argue that there are other ways to contribute to an equal partnership.

  4. Great thoughts here.

    I just wrote about men perpetuating the demand on my blog about a week ago. I like the practical suggestions here. Keep thinking of ways men can appropriately be involved in counter-trafficking.

    Seek justice.

  5. Well, I appreciate the intention of the write-up, but really, I'm not sure if giving up activities you might enjoy is the best cure for a closely related problem. We don't cure cancer by shooting the patients in the head, do we? So, why are 'Don't go to strip-clubs' and 'Don't watch porn' reasonable solutions to human trafficking?

    • Yes, really Vin! Part of the challenge is for us to question and critique the things that we "might enjoy as men"- especially when those things are centered around the bodies of women and girls. The reality is that we rarely question what we enjoy as men, and when we do question those activities we are often targeted as "kill-joys", not "real men" etc. If you don't believe that there is a cost associated with questioning the activities that give men pleasure, try engaging men the next time you are at strip club about whether they see a difference between strippers and prostitutes. If that is too much to ask, try watching any mainstream adult film- in the privacy of your own home of course- that does not conflate intimacy with intercourse, pain with pleasure, and does not involve derogatory sexual acts like "the money shot" . My guess is that if you try questioning some of these activities – particularly in the company of other men- you will soon see that much of what gives us pleasure also requires that we suspend any thought about what our pleasure is based on or what the impact is for those involved.

      • You said volumes here— this is the main point ( I believe) is that most men do not intend to contribute to exploitation of women/girls- it is just that they don't think about it. This article just points out simple re-evaluation tips for what our society has claimed as acceptable "men" behavior. It will take all sides to make the world a better place.

      • True, much like free-range organic chicken and the treated-worse-than-hell chicken. Now, in the food industry, the way the revolution came about is people started supporting local farms and ranges that treated their stock in a humane fashion. I subscribe to that school of thought without hesitation.

        However, the impression I get from your argument is to avoid the industry altogether instead of attacking the real problem. If people were more open minded in discussing these things, and legal policies around the sex industry were clear and open to dialog then perhaps we could establish a metric for what institutions are treating their workers with respect and dignity? Maybe I'm just plain deluded, but a small number of studios actually seem to be taking this approach. (kink.com I believe…you can see candid before/after interviews of the performers etc. – this site is RATHER graphic and TOTALLY NOT safe for work though)

        That brings me to another point you seem to be making, but it's possible that I simply misunderstood your tone. It seems that you view the 'money-shot' or acts that involve pain etc as degrading and wrong. I agree with the fact that they are degrading. I disagree that they are wrong. There is an entire subculture of kinksters that actively seek out and enjoy the various aspects of this 'power dynamic'. The key is to keep these activities consensual and safe. An honest, open dialog and education are the only way out.

    • The Joel says:

      When you buy porn or watch a stripper, you support an industry complict in enslaving people. I am not sure were your cancer patient execution analogy comes in. Fundamentally, the next time you watch porn, remember that girl may be 'performing' against her will. Next time you are in a strip club, that girl may be there against her will, with her passport withheld. Finally, just because you enjoy something doesn't make it right.

      • Yes, I do agree that some, or even a significant portion, of porn/strip-club revenues get indirectly used towards human trafficking, and that's really really bad. We definitely need to stop it. But then, is educating/re-wiring ourselves to not-like these activities the only way to go? I'll give you an example, one of my friends is strongly against the terrorist insurgency in Kashmir. Pakistan is often said to be responsible for funding a lot of this activity. Now, this friend of mine strongly believes that eating at Pakistani-owned restaurants is wrong since that revenue will eventually get funneled towards acts of terrorism in the J&K area. Do you agree with his approach?

        The problem isn't trivial, I agree. But taking a 'simple' approach that eliminates the 'host' instead of the 'parasite' seems like the wrong thing to do. Isn't there a better way to emancipate the industry instead?

      • found this somewhere says:

        Evidence? I don’t think there’s anything out there to support this statement. It’s even quite absurd. The majority of all porn, vast majority, is produced in the San Fernando Valley, and guess what it’s all consensual. Certainly there are many who regret their decision, and many get into the industry for the wrong reasons (drugs) and there are many real concerns worth debating about the industry. But to suggest that when watching porn one is supporting an industry complicit in enslaving people is beyond false, it’s absurd. You should consider the honesty of your arguments before presenting them. It discredits you as a speaker and makes people less likely to listen to the rest of your argument even when true.

        I haven’t gone to many strip clubs in my life but all of the ones I’ve gone to none of the women were from another country. Again, given the number of strippers say in the US, can you point to any evidence to support your claim. Certainly it could happen, and probably has, but it isn’t the norm. You do know that these clubs often get audited and it’s not economically viable for them to risk jail and the loss of their business when there are already plenty of women who are willing to do the job? Certainly you can understand this right? There’s an old joke about there being no sex in the champagne room except for guys getting screwed. The largest reason women become strippers is for money. I’ve known some who was a friend’s wife who got paid thousands of dollars a week in Vegas. The real scandal about strip clubs is perhaps the lack of benefits, and underpayment in low wages from employers, not to mention there are plenty who get into that line of work for the wrong reasons like to support a drug habit, but slavery is far from the top of the list of concerns regarding strip clubs.

        Just because you have some philosophical objection to an industry does not mean you are entitled to your own facts. Just because you dislike something doesn’t make it wrong. The concerns you mention are indeed grave concerns, but they’re not an honest representation of the industries your attempting to defame. Your argument is paramount to it is wrong to wear clothing because there are some sweat shops. In fact that’s probably a more viable argument because there’s probably far more human bondage producing cheap clothes than forced participation in porn or striping for Industrialized nations. But as I’m sure you’re aware, we can both have clothes and not support companies that use children and women as slaves to produce those clothes.

        It’s just not honest to state that the industry is complicit in enslaving people.

        • What about US-born sex-trafficking victims? That happens, a lot. Trafficked women do not all come from outside your country!

          What the article is saying is that porn is part of this sex on demand culture. It persuades the man watching that he can have any girl he wants. It makes him want what he is watching, happening to him. So he is persuaded to buy sex, if it is not available to him, and if the partner will not do the things he sees.

          I once saw a statistical report, that in areas where there were lap dance bars, there were increased incidences of sexual harassment, sexual assualt, and even rape. This is Britain. The streets are unsafe for any woman showing her bare legs.

          This is a culture where men, all men, must have sex whenever they want it.

      • If your going to complain about the porn industry you cannot put the blame solely on men. The industry is full of women that CHOOSE to be there and are not forced. So why did you not target why women are doing so. You seemed to put the blame on only the men. Acting as if all the women are victims. Also if you research your facts 36% of women search porn online compared to 46% of men. How can you say MAN is the problem if women are just as much to blame? Why is it that nowhere in your article you acknowledge the fact that most women in the sex industry are there because they choose to be? Why do you place the blame not burden solely on MEN.

    • Voice Of Freedom says:

      Vin, Is an atmosphere where putting dollars in g-strings conducive to an attitude that encourages prostitution? I mean, she wants the money, right? So in that common behavior, you've made the leap into the mindset that traffickers encourage (the transaction of money for sex is consentual and therefore whats the big deal?). Its a simple way of encouraging prostitution.

      Only its not even prostitution because many prostitutes are forced into this form of slavery at a very young age and beaten and starved and kept dependent on their slave master. And all this is kept hidden from the Johns because having Johns think of themselves as rapists is bad for business.

  6. Sheriley says:

    This only addresses part of the problem. it’s a good start, but because of the perception that sexcrimes are committed by males towards females, the trade of boys gets forgotten and as the boys become men they get more or less ignored. The crime is more about adults abusing children.

  7. Jean Enriquez says:

    thanks for the list! we are also educating young men to reduce the demand side in sex trafficking in the philippines and the rest of asia. please correct however the definition of human trafficking, as it does not only involved force, fraud or coercion. see u.n. trafficking protocol definition, section 3a, as it includes 'abuse of a position of vulnerability'. the definition removes the burden of proof of 'force' on the victim. 🙂
    – jean enriquez, exec. director, catw-ap

    • Thank you so much for your work Jean and for pointing out the difference between a definition of human trafficking under US Federal Law and a definition of human trafficking under International Law. This list actually comes from our brochure which i would be happy to send for you to review and to offer critical comments.

    • Voice Of Freedom says:

      I think the underlying assumption you are missing in the US definition is that taking advantage of someone by means of position (or threat) is considered force. So a boss telling an underling that she has to grant sexual favors is considered force.

  8. @Charlotte – As a culture we have to shift our attention away from porn and external images and back to the real bodies in front of us. Of course we can imagine a way to create erotic images that don't involve harm to the parties involved, but why even do that, when we can instead learn to cultivate and expand our pleasure with intimate connection with another, which, because of porn, we know less and less about.

    • Good points. The anonymity and aesthetic (as well as pleasurable) inauthenticity of porn disconnect the viewer from a notion of how simultaneously beautiful, awkward, and difficult intimacy is to achieve with another person.

  9. found this somewhere says:

    The article you cite as evidence that "allows men to ignore the fact that the average age of entry into prostitution in the U.S. is 12 to 14" doesn't support your claim but rather seems to be a statistic related with the "
    Domestic Sex Trafficking of Minors" as the title of the article suggests and not all prostitution as a whole. It clearly isn't a statistic being used to describe all of prostitution as you cite it. You're dishonestly misrepresenting a very horrific statistic in your article.

    Secondly I find you're 4th point to be rather uninformed and in truth quite insulting. The belief that porn somehow "socializes men to develop appetites for younger and younger women and creates a pedophiliac culture among men" is blatantly false. Porn does not create pedophiles nor does it create unhealthy appetites of any kind among healthy adults. Study after study has shown that your point is ill informed and incorrect.

    You can't address the ills human sexuality if you're not willing to accept some truths regarding it. For instance, as wrong as it is to suggest that homosexuality is a choice, it is equally as invalid to suggest that men are attracted to fertile healthy young women by means of socialization. It isn't a learned behavior. And it isn't something that will lead to pedophilia if a man is attracted to healthy fertile women. In order to create policy which protects young women, or any other party for that matter we need to address sexuality honestly without treating generally healthy and natural sexual behavior as if it is learned, predatory in nature, wrong, and needs to be repressed, because no such policy will work. Suggesting that pornography somehow directly fuels human sexual bondage is not only a leap in logic and as something you seem unable to support by other than your own opinion that it creates attitudes amongst men to devalue others as sexual objects but it is also somewhat insulting to the billions of men and women who consume pornography and who exhibit healthy normal sexual behavior.

    • Ryan Hopping says:

      I am really disappointed that this comment has been put forward.

      Humans are socialised in every way from the moment we come out of the womb. From the very first moment, most boys are in blue and most girls are in pink. This is a simple example of how we are socialised, but believe me there are plenty more. It is these majorities that form popular cultures and reinforce social standards.

      Much the same, current porn socialises men to believe that certain sex acts are so called normal. This porn reinforces acts such as "gagging", "throat fucking", humiliation, abuse and many other acts that demean the other person.

      To say that sexuality is not a learned behaviour is to dismiss the basic premise that humans are social beings. We learn everything from the environment around us. 50 years ago, the average couple would have sex only in the missionary position. Now, the average couple has sex in many different positions. And yes, this too has been studied very extensively. I am not saying here that we should be safeguarding against sexual exploration, or that making use of different sex positions is wrong (because it is not), but you must recognise that the rise in porn as popular culture over the past 50 years has also lead to the rise in this sexual exploration. Therefore, because porn has been accessible, men (the vast majority of porn watchers) and women have seen new elements of sexuality which has in turn meant that they have desired to experience it; thus they have been socialised by porn to take on new elements of sexuality.

      Porn does not have to be a negative influence, but with society (in accepting and consuming) and the porn industry (in production) as it is currently, porn will continue to be demeaning to women.

      You position us to trust your opinion over Jewel Woods' and challenge her to accept some truths regarding the ills of human sexuality, but your opinion does not reflect that you understand the truths, or rather the realities of porn, sexual development and sex trafficking; and the complexity therein. It might be a good idea that before criticising someone so abruptly that you inform yourself on the issues and have something more than just an opinion to back you up.

      I commend Jewel Woods on tackling such an important issue in a succinct and clear manner and know that anyone willing to write on this topic already appreciates its complexity and the difficulty with capturing it all in a one page article.

      • Complexity?

        Where in this screed is there any idea of complexity, Ryan?
        Asserting that majority of prostitutes start at 12 to 14 ( I live in a poor neighborhood of Baltimore city and we have a streetwalker problem here, and I've never seen a prostitute that young, nor heard of any arrest of a pimp in the city proper for underage child trafficking), that so many tens of thousands are trafficked from Mexico each year, that pornography has been shown to be harmful (I've read studies on this for 30 years!), that strip clubs are always exploitive and that the normal male bio predilection for young and FERTILE women is socially constructed (they, that's YOU that made this claim) are just ridiculous claims not backed up by any peer reviewed research.

        I don't think the article was fair, balanced, nuanced, nor do I feel the advice was given in any kind of a helpful manner. This article seems intended to shame male sexuality as being inherently destructive, and its because of embracing one-sided lies and half truths that feminism has nothing to offer a modern man.

        P.S. I fully intend to do some of the things one of the posters on this thread listed instead. They seem more likely to make a difference even though the problem in this activist piece is exaggerated.

    • I think I love you.

      This. 100% this.

  10. The world of human-trafficking is very intrisic and complicated. There is not a single solution that will eradicate it; however, this article just points out areas that have a connection to the the way in which women (girls) specifically are devalued. As in the issues of Domestic Violence and Rape- they are not women issues alone- men are an important part of the equation. Our young men (and women) need to love each other and respect the value of the other. The article may not be the overall solution but it points out real avenues of human trafficking. It is perfectly acceptable to state that it is not ok to keep oppressing women- and objectifing them. Maybe this is where you feel bullied? Is it that you like the objectification of women (and young boys?) I do a lot of work around the areana of advocacy for human trafficking- unfourtnately the main "one's" being prosecuted are the sex workers? I find out Judicial system bullying and dominating to women and extremely bias and forgiving to those who create the demand- the Johns. It is pure and simple economics- get rid of the demand and the supply is no longer needed.

  11. I have to admit, after reading this, I highly disagree with much of what this article says and find it more than mildly offensive. First of all, the responsibility lies with all of us as human beings — not just men (though perhaps disproportionately), and certainly not boys, who aren't even of age to enter a strip club or watch pornography — to put an end to trafficking and sexual exploitation. I had never heard of Ms Magazine before reading this, but if most of the articles are written in as bullying and domineering of a tone as this one was, Woods and the magazine will be doing a great disservice to gender relations and to equality. One cannot boss others around and tell them what's best for them if he or she expects that the target audience will digest it civilly. By pointing fingers and acting like a holier-than-thou commandeer, Woods does nothing but put his fellow men (and possibly many women) on the defensive. While he may have had the good intention of raising awareness of the human trafficking and sex trafficking problem, all of that gets lost in his diatribes to the point that one can only focus on the bad of his argument rather than any of the good. Woods' words are based on hate, not love, and that's very unfortunate because the issue of sex trafficking raised in the article is an important one.

    • Tony Howard says:

      Phillip, human trafficking is a grave issue in our culture and pointing the way out will naturally put some people on the defensive, including yourself, and that's no problem. Your response tells me that you have material to examine in your own consciousness, as there are no words "based on hate" in the above article. You write "One cannot boss others around and tell them what's best for them if he or she expects that the target audience will digest it civilly". But this article points the way to things we "can do" WITH OUR OWN FREE WILL. There is no bossing around mentioned.

    • To target pornography and strip clubs as conducive to this problem, as Woods does, is in my opinion, frankly ludicrous and would probably offend many of the women who are employed in these industries and who enjoy their jobs. Instead of encompassing the wide scope of opinions that women may have on pornography and strip clubs, Woods resorts to conspiracy theories about these topics without citing any references. He bases his arguments on assumptions that female strippers are more often than not coerced into their line of work and that there are few if any women who enjoy BDSM or "kinky" sex. Woods also conveniently ignores this study done by comScore (http://www.theagitator.net/wp-content/uploads/Women-on-the-Web_comScore_English.pdf), which reports that 34% of women who are active on the internet browse pornography, compared to just 46% of active men. To me, Woods is not writing to the audience of the world's men who he is supposedly trying to help. Instead, he's merely "preaching to the choir" — writing tips that few men will ever read (because the magazine in which the article is published is not targeted for men in the first place — heck, just look at the title of it) but which will probably instead be digested impassionately by female readers who share his bitter views.

      Instead of making gendered generalizations without merit or proof — "Many men view prostitution as a 'victimless crime'" — Woods would better help advance the awareness of human trafficking if he stopped pointing fingers at an entire gender and acknowledge that the problem of trafficking is global and scope and cannot be solved by simply instilling guilt in a mostly guiltless population of men. And with sentences such as this: "Targeting younger women socializes men to develop appetites for younger and younger women and creates a pedophiliac culture among men," Woods conveniently ignores the notion that many women and girls would rather be with men older than them and that the "appetites" of which he describes usually goes both ways. I don't think it is healthy for either men or women to date people much older or younger than them, and I believe that there is indeed a societal problem that men feel that they ought to date and marry younger women and that women feel that they ought to date and marry older men. However, one cannot put the blame of this phenomenon entirely on men. Is it right, for instance, that many women only want to date or marry men who are taller than them? Next thing I know, Woods will be blaming short men for not being tall enough, because to him apparently, a man's shortcomings are always his own fault and not society's.

      I'm sorry, but Woods' article stinks. While tackling sexism online is a noteworthy goal — remembering that sexism goes both ways — and while noting that men need to discuss important issues with one another, Woods fails to make the connection as to how either of these things relates to human trafficking — what the article was apparently supposed to be about in the first place.

      • Sounds like this article hit a little too close to home for Mr. Wu.

        • This comment upset me not just because it was delivered in a manner that, in my mind, is linked to a old fat man on his throne, sneering at his underlings ("oh, ha ha, look at the ignorant ones kissing my toes,") but also because I agreed with him.

          And it certainly didn't hit close to home with me, unicorn.

  12. WOW!!! I can't believe that there are "men" on this comment page who are offended by this article. A lot of defense here for "backworldsman behavior" we even have fledgling logicians pointing out incongruities in the the logic of Mr. Woods–oh save us from their fierce and cutting magnum opus!!! Truth is that porn is a lowlife industry and if you engage in it then you're a lowlife too. Highschool is over guys—time to wake up and stop defending the (defective teenage behavior) that you should have dropped a long time ago. Whether or not porn defiles the mind of the "man" viewing it (and I think it does), the question still remains–do the women in the magazine want to be there??? And I am not talking about playboy–I am talking about the magazines for lowlifes–do I really have to name them??? This article is not put forth as a SINGLE SOLUTION but the suggestions can't hurt–as a matter of fact they are very good. So drop the beer and take some notes and just maybe–you won't grow old in vain!!!

    • MOVIE, REVIEWED says:

      So, looking at adult entertainment "defiles" the minds of men?

      You have got to be kidding!

      As for "do the women in the magazines want to be there" – well, they are professional models who are being paid for their work, so the answer to that question is YES.

  13. A good starting place, but insufficiently nuanced on some fronts. My thoughts:

    1) Check your own speech for the word “pimp”. For example, “pimp my ride”, “pimp my work” — you don’t necessarily have to cut it out, but be aware of how often you say it and whether this is contributing to normalization of the word.

    If you’re shunning music that glorifies and normalizes pimping, avoid painting with too broad a brush — there’s more to rap and hip-hop than just pimping and sex, and if you dismiss the whole genre, fans of the genre will likely dismiss your statements.

    2)If your reason for wanting to pay for sex is because you’d like to do something specific that your current partner won’t do — have you tried asking if they’d like to try that? Remember to be open to what they’d like to do as well, and concentrate on their pleasure as well as your own. They might surprise you.

    If there are some circumstances when you *do* hire the services of a prostitute, be mindful and ethical. Ascertain that she is doing sex work by choice. Keep your own disease-testing up to date, as well as checking on hers. Use a condom. Pay her directly, or if you are visiting a brothel, make sure that it treats its employees properly. Behave respectfully — just because she is doing sex work does not mean that she deserves your contempt. Don’t go beyond the limits of what you have agreed on — if she gives limits (no kissing, no anal) abide by them. Don’t verbally abuse her, unless she’s agreed beforehand to a humiliation scene (you would probably have to pay extra for that). This sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? But if you can’t do your research and behave respectfully to a sex worker, don’t hire one.

    Fight the circumstances that result in people who don’t genuinely like sex work turning to it. Fight poverty. Fight drug addiction.

    Stop calling women you disagree with “whores”, “sluts”, “bitches”. Stop implying that a successful woman must have traded sex for advancement, and could not possibly have gotten where she is on her own merits.

    3) If you do visit a strip club, be as rigorous about your research as if it were any other sort of sex work. Beware of strip clubs with drug use, or if someone offers sex for an additional fee.

    4) Be smart about your pornography. Do your research on the studios that produce it, and how they treat their workers. Do not consume pornography that is produced by a studio that disallows condom use, for example. Home-produced sex videos may not have the sleek production values of professional studios, but the likelihood that everyone involved is enjoying themselves is pretty high. Written stories and art may not always have the immediacy of video or photos, but they can be produced entirely without exploitation.

    Be aware of any kinks you have, and look for depictions of Safe, Sane, and Consensual/Risk-Aware Consensual Kink. Even if some pretty weird things turn you on, there are probably other people out there who are into it. Your kinks are likely a private matter, but should not be a source of shame. Many people have fantasies that arouse them that they’d never want to carry out in person; just because you enjoy fantasizing about something doesn’t mean you’ll want to do it.

    5) Agreed. Men can start discussion threads. They can also call shenanigans when other men display disrespect to women, refrain from linking to misogynist humor, quash other men who say that some woman needs to be raped, and let other men know that if they do not cut it out, they will be shunned.

    6-10) Agreed.

    • Thank you for your nuances! Your list gives us a much clearer, much more manageable day to day idea of how to change the trends that are so normalized, they are invisible to us most of the time. About 4: The article did not mention porn sites that win feminist awards like the "Crash Pad Series." It's a queer porn site to boot. Both facts are nuances the article didn't address.

  14. A Real Feminist says:

    Sex trafficking is awful, wrong, and scary. We must find realistic ways to stop it as a global society. I had expected this article to offer realistic suggestions and dialogue; it did not. In fact it made some irresponsible and dangerous claims in the process. There are young women who are forced in to sex work however it amazes me that this articles acts as if all are. For as long as history has been recorded there have been men and women choosing to work in the sex industries. These workers have various reasons and the ones that are not necessarily working for a "pimp" on a street corner to buy drugs. History and modern day stories like the women in the New Orleans brothel and the diary of the woman that is a high end prostitute in london are a few of numerous examples. To lump it all in and ask us to teach our children that it is all bad and wrong and that all women in sex work are slaves sounds like a ultra conservative possibly religious burn in hell fire argument under the guise of ending a horrible enslavement and preventing it. It would serve the author wisely to retitled this article and even more so to look in to laws for regulations to protect the people that are forced into the industry against their will, to protect those who willingly choose to, and yes even to protect the economy and the money that safe sex labor could bring in.

  15. I love this article and I hope it has better luck reaching people than I have, because the people who need to embrace it most are most resistant to the truth here stated.

  16. Please check out Shelley Lubben's site called Pink Cross Foundation. She is an ex porn star & has much insight into the real life behind the scenes. http://www.thepinkcross.org/

  17. to those, who keep criticizing the points about porn creating a paedophiliac climate, sexualization of little girls is a real problem, not taken out from Nabokov. Go watch "Killing us softly 3". I do agree, that article failed to grasp the idea of doing voluntary sex-work, but then again, it wasn't supposed to. It was about human trafficking, not the intricacies of sex-working industry.

  18. seriously? you lost every man out there (and a lot of women too) with #4, which appears singularly uninformed about what porn actually is, depicts, and incites.

  19. JustJessp says:

    An open mini-letter to the Renaissance Male Project Inc.

    First, thank you for all of your work with men and boys. I wanted to share just a few quick thoughts on the advice listed in the “10 Things Men and Boys Can Do to Stop Human Trafficking” blog post in MS and distributed over various listservs.

    YES, let's do what we can to end human trafficking. YES, we need men and women involved in the work. But, this list is not very sex worker friendly or sex positive and manages to silence those whom you purport to be advocating for.

    “Men should stop viewing prostitution as a victimless crime and acknowledge the tremendous harm and suffering their participation in prostitution causes.”

    Missing here is a critical component. Yes, acknowledge the harm and suffering but also SUPPORT sex-worker activism; get involved, donate, volunteer, etc. Do something with that acknowledgement that is positive. Wouldn't it perhaps be more successful and less condescending if this list included things like-support sex workers' rights campaigns and organizations like (in the US): http://www.swopusa.org, http://www.bayswan.org, http://www.desireealliance.org, http://www.sexworkersproject.org, http://www.bestpracticespolicy.org

    “Men can combat human trafficking by no longer patronizing strip clubs and by encouraging their friends and co-workers to do the same.” And “Men can stop the voyeurism of sex and sex acts that fuel human trafficking by refusing to consume pornography and encourage others to do the same.”

    Advocating that men not consume pornography and stop patronizing strip clubs subsequently advocates the unemployment of a HOST of individuals; not just the sex workers, but the bartenders, make-up artists, videographers, directors, bouncers, costume designers, DJ’s, security guards, cooks, etc. that rely on these jobs to feed and clothe themselves and their families.

    I am not trying to take away the critical work your organization does, but it is important to think through the ramifications of some of these quasi-judgmental, sex negative, infused “tips”.

    • anabolitionist says:

      I would rather see the host of 'free' people you listed that work at strip clubs find jobs at other bars – if that is their preferred place of employment. It is more important to end slavery. The workers you listed are free to come and go and CHOOSE where they work. The women who perform usually don't have a choice.

      • are you seriously making an unemployment argument Re: men stop visiting strip clubs/ viewing pornography. Though I disagree with your other points, I certainly can see a logical argument, but the unemployment argument was too much. Made me laugh.

  20. It is wonderful to see this type of passion behind a subject to which I have dedicated my life and career. However, I must bring to this discussion a few points, with the rise of the internet we have seen drastic changes in the sex industries. Pornography increased exponentially, while becoming more interdependently operated. At the same time, the nations prostitution industry (legal and illegal) has also used the internet to become more independently operated. Using escort sites, many working in the industry have become independent contractors, and are no longer using pimps. In turn, this has forced the pimps to concentrate on a more “black market”, child prostitution.

    Here is where we differ in understanding. There are laws in place to protect children from sex trafficking. The federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 makes any commercial sexual transaction involving a minor a federal trafficking law. However, most children arrested for prostitution are not treated as victims, but as criminals. The FBI still records arrests of minors for prostitution, despite the fact that they are legally victims.

    Although sex trafficking of adults does occur in the United States, the sex trafficking of children is a far larger issue. The low estimates are that 100,000 American children are sex trafficked each year within the US. This raises a secondary, but just as pertinent factor in combating sex trafficking in the United States; we need to stop the sexualization of children.

    As a society, we seem to have given tacit consent to the turning children into sexual objects. Teen magazines will show children in sexually provocative poses. Children’s beauty competitions have a sportswear portion of the competition. The pop music industry turns teens into sexual objects. As a society we are supporting this through our consumption of it.

    Now, if you are looking for a very practical solution to stopping sex trafficking in the US, here’s a real suggestion. The one commonality amongst all child prostitutes is not gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, it is that 90% have experienced physical or sexual abuse in the home. If you want to stop trafficking; 1)do not allow your friends to get away with mistreating their children, 2) take time out of your day to mentor a troubled child, and 3) take responsibility for the way your community treats its children.

  21. Jewel;
    This is most excellent! thanks for your work in this area and in general. I'm glad that there are brother's who are in the work together!
    Rus Ervin Funk,
    MensWork: eliminating violence against women, inc.
    Louisville, KY

  22. stellachiara says:

    You know, it isn't mainstream culture that has created the glorification of pimps. It's rap music and the culture around it. That is the source. This vile thing has been somewhat picked up by mainstream culture, but it should be tackled at its source instead of soft-pedalled as "mainstream culture."

  23. As a feminist, I have some serious issues with this article. This position is not new to feminism, and unfortunately, if it doesn't outright hurt women, it certainly doesn't empower them. First, there is a difference between stopping "trafficking" and stopping prostitution/sex industry. There is no doubt that sex workers are at a much higher risk of rape, violent assault, and worse, but the solution it seems to me isn't banning their jobs–this is the reality today; more than ever, women are turning to sex work because it pays the bills, whether you are a working/middle class American mother of three or a sex worker in Asia supporting an extended family or a "trafficked" South East Asian wife, mother, daughter of four in the U.S. who sends money home. It is true that certain women might not have a "choice" to decide whether or not to be in the industry, but it is simplistic to suggest that the cause of such problems are men and criminal male sexuality. Many women–and children–work in the industry because of economic necessity, and because of this, it is "forced" in the sense that there is no real choice available. But then the answer it seems rests in the economy (domestic and global) and addressing the question of why women are increasingly turning to prostitution and sex work to begin with.

    If the goal is to protect sex workers, then it seems the answer is not to further criminalize the industry, and worse, the women who depend on it for their very livelihoods, but to better regulate the industry and ensure that sex workers are better protected from abuse or violence. Like undocumented immigrants, sex workers are much less likely to report crimes to the police, which creates the perfect environment for creating predators. These predators live in the non-sex trade world with the rest of us. If the violent predators are the problem, then we need sex workers to help identify and report those who illegally traffic and abuse unconsenting adults and children without the fear of being prosecuted or persecuted by moralistic police, legal prosecutors, or feminists.

    The second issue I'd like to address here is the issue of trafficking and slavery, which are also not the same issue. Just as there should be a distinction between forced and voluntary prostitution, there needs to be a distinction between forced and voluntary trafficking. "Trafficking" is often exploitive, but many who are "trafficked" cross borders voluntarily out of economic or other necessity and the dominant majority are not involved in sex work at all. This is increasingly true because of more restrictive immigration laws and policies. These laws and policies only serve to make trafficking a more lucrative trade and strengthen criminal trafficking rings. Federal anti-trafficking laws often target and criminalize migrant sex workers who again are not likely to report crimes committed against them for fear of being deported. Predators may find this environment particularly inviting, but the likelihood is that their behavior–violent or other–will not be directed only at sex workers.

    If society as a whole is ready to morally condemn these women, instead of contributing to this culture of shaming them, shouldn't feminists argue for their rights and equal protections as we would for women in any industry? Every effort should be made to protect unconsenting women and children from being trafficked or enslaved as prostitutes. But most sex workers and other women in the sex trade are not passive victims; they can and do speak for themselves. The least we can do is listen. As for men, there are no innocent victims here and suggestions to end trafficking would be helpful for us all. But, to condemn men as the source of the trafficking problem does a disservice to the very women we consider the "victims" because it does little to address the economic factors and immigration policies and laws that make the trafficking of unconsenting adults and children possible.

    • Amen.

    • Minnie, you seem to have confused trafficking with illegal immigration. Trafficking is always exploitative by definition. Illegal immigration is not trafficking, unless the person is being coerced, forced, or exploited in some way. Many who are trafficked do cross borders illegally and of their own choice, but that in itself is not trafficking, that’s just illegal immigration.

      If an illegal immigrant is held against their will, or forced to do acts that they don’t choose to do, or is not paid for their work, that is the point when it becomes trafficking, and the illegal immigration status isn’t (or shouldn’t be) the focus. Trafficking is slavery; a person is enslaved physically or psychologically, and loses their ability to choose what they will do or not do.

      There is no such thing as voluntary trafficking, because trafficking by definition involves force, fraud, or coercion. We need to get rid of the idea that a person whose business is facilitating illegal immigration is “trafficking” people. It’s illegal and not very nice, but it isn’t trafficking unless force, coercion, or fraud are involved.

      Trafficking is also blind to type of labor. There is trafficking for sex and trafficking for other types of labor (domestic workers, construction, food production). We do trafficking a disservice when we only define it in terms of sex or immigration status. Trafficking, contrary to how it sounds, does not have its central definition in movement (although, it does often involve movement). It is centrally defined when a person becomes an object and can be sold or exploited for the sexual and/or financial benefit of another.

  24. When are you going to stop indulging in this dangerous outdated rhetoric about how everyone who works in the sex business is a victim. it devalues & discredits your efforts, because it's prohibitionist propaganda of the shoddiest kind. I myself worked in the sex business & many of my friends & collegues still do. Certainly there is pain & suffering & coersion in the sex industry. But many many many women, men, & transgendered individuals work in the sex business as adults, of their own free will, and are not victims. I should know, I am the author of Chicken, about my time as a 17 year old in the sex business, and Hos, Hookers, Call Girls & Rent Boys, which last year appeared on the front cover of the Sunday NY Times Book Review. Wanna stop trafficking? Decriminalize prostitution & stop the war on whores, then use the tens of millions of dollars saved to go after traffickers. They're not hard to find. But the criminals who run that industry are rich and powerful & work with crooked politicians & law enforcement to keep their shadow criminal enterprise alive and thriving. Prohibition doesn't work. We know that. It puts the means of production into the hands of gangsters. Make prostitution a legitimate industry & put resources into hunting down true victims & those who victimize them.

  25. Minnie, please identify a feminist who supports persecuting or prosecuting women in the sex industry. I doubt you can. Seriously.

  26. If you think Snoop Dogg or 50 Cent are actual pimps, you are an idiot.

  27. Hi All,

    We need to create a certification system for the porn industry. Legally allow websites to be accessed in the US that have been certified that
    1 – All models are 18+
    2- All models have consented to participate in the actions, and to being filmed, and for the film to be sold and distributed world-wide
    3- All models are being paid a fair wage
    4 – No models has been coerced, pressured or drugged to capture the actions on film.

    Pornography isn't bad. The fake female orgasms porn stars pretend to have are bad. They don't teach guys how to be respectful or decent lovers. Forced pornography is bad. Consuming porn from Eastern Europe and Thailand is bad.

    So let's certify, emphasize REAL FEMALE PLEASURE, and not allow filmed sex trade victims to be consumed by Americans online!

  28. I am glad someone is talking about the root of the problem, men perpetuating prostitution.
    but NO one has addressed the prostitute that ruins lives on the other end…I E the wives and families of the men who get ensnared by these trained women.
    My husband of 38 years divorced me for a trafficked prostitute from Thailand, he is 60 yrs old. She is 38yrs. He purchased her for $30k from the cartel, and is being professionally instructed by her Johns on the pschology of how to keep my husband and his money flowing into their business…hundreds of thousands so far, much of it to"family".in Thailand.. She now has the priviledge of my past upper middle class life, while I struggle to make rent for a roof over my head-

  29. Fantastic piece. Dehumanizing women is the first step towards every other kind of violence and abuse against us. The idea that women are things for sale underlies sex trafficking as well as the sex industry as a whole, including porn, strip clubs, and prostitution. It has to be confronted in its entirety. In a society where men and women were true equals, this industry wouldn't exist. It's a product of inequality as well as an ongoing cause.

  30. I don’t know who this came from, but I’ve seen the link, and clicked on it to see what it was, and who it was from, my opinion is this is kind of interesting, but the root of all evil is money, it really just depends on the person, I don’t believe anyone is going to put a dent in sexuality, after all this is how we all got here, when you are young and inexperienced, no matter what you been told, there is a time in life for experience, and curiosity, however, money has a big part in this industry, if you have money, life becomes easier and you sometimes have time to kill, with money, and nothing to do, it’s easy to use this time, and money, as you please, but if you’re like me,poor, with a wife and three kids, one that is disabled, your time, and money are consumed.

    Almost every one has many experiences in life, admitted, are not, we are all the same in a lot of ways, the problem is, discipline, some critical experiences can occur that alters one’s ability at a young age, that can become habit forming, when we all understand the difficulties of changing one’s life. All we have is the experiences, and memories.

    To try and control, and regulate, is limited to freedom, we are over regulated as we stand today, what is freedom to a newborn who has no say to what he or she is born into, dictation, called freedom.

    I agree there needs to be less advertisement by video and music, that gives youth the wrong impressions, that leads to drugs, abuse, and death.

    • “To try and control, and regulate, is limited to freedom, we are over regulated as we stand today….”

      This article isn’t about regulating sex, it’s about stopping people from selling other people.

  31. QUE POLEMICA !!!!! Tia………

  32. I thought the article was very good and am disappointed in all the defensive comments. There is a huge difference between sex-positive and porn-positive. I am very sex positive, but am definitely not porn positive. Pornography is the opposite of erotic. Pornography degrades women, the erotic affirms women. Nothing saps my libido more than a man who objectifies women.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Only 8 has anything to do w/ trafficking, per se. The writer is obviously coming w/an ax to grind about prostitution & stripping. If they wish to oppose those things, why don't they? Instead they pimp out sex trafficking for the price of a few extra bullet points.

    Claiming that the fight against trafficking can primarily be fought on the battlefield of the American sex consumer's mind is like suggesting that the fight against southern slavery could primarily have been fought on the battlefield of European tobacco consumer's minds. In fact, that battlefield was irrelevant.

  34. I agree with many of the points in this article, but not all. There is no need to end the sex industry altogether, but to make it the rule that employees in the sex industry are there voluntarily and treated fairly. You don't have to stop going to strip clubs, but pay attention to what's going on in clubs you may go to. Ask questions of the management or employees. Observe how problems are addressed and how customers behave. Likewise, you don't need to stop consuming porn. Pay attention to where your porn comes from and/or make your own. Plenty of fully mature, consenting adults make porn responsibly that's available in a variety of formats. Support legalization of prostitution in the US. Advocate for prostitutes to have the same workplace protection as everyone else: healthy work environments, fair pay, benefits, etc.

    It's definitely possible to work toward a world where people have a substantial amount of sexual freedom and ALSO end human trafficking.

  35. All agreed, except the part about teaching men to be protective of woman. Protective of girls is lovely, but grown woman should not be protected, in an ideal world, only respected.

  36. On the language front, I'd also like to see it become more accountable. The use of the passive voice, or phrasing things in a way which obscures the perpetrators ought not continue. In every instance of trafficking women, there is the woman, the pimp and the john. Rather than speaking of a the woman as a prostitute, we ought speak of her as a woman used in prostitution, which points at the pimp and the john. Likewise for women used in pornography. A longer discussion of this in the context of domestic violence can be found at http://www.nomas.org/node/251

  37. Cabaret Voltaire says:

    Pornography and strip clubs are legal. It seems feminist theory supersedes the legality of freedom of expression.

    If your really concerned about children, you should address women who sell their children to traffickers

    "Woman who tried to sell infant loses appeal against conviction"

    • If you don't care about the 1 million children that enter the sex industry every year, then you can keep your strip clubs and pornography. Guys can learn to keep their pants on. Yes, there is more to it then just saying "stop!" but it is possible. think of the victims, not the guys who can't keep it in their pants.
      – a straight, happily married man

  38. I don't think that "Don't consume [any] pornography" needs to be so extreme. Pornography is a pretty broad category and includes videos and pictures of real humans, but also includes drawings, graphic novels, animated videos, and prose. Rather than calling men to eschew all pornography, we should be encouraging them to be responsible porn consumers – to chose their porn carefully, to consider the messages it's sending them, etc etc.

  39. Don't watch Porn and don't go to strip clubs are highly unrealistic propositions. It's right up there with prohibitions against alcohol and drugs. Now highly regulating both industries… good idea.

  40. MOVIE, REVIEWED says:

    This political platform has serious flaws:

    1) it demands that heterosexual cisgendered men renounce heterosexuality and replace their sexual desires with a eunuch-like celibacy

    2) perpetuates the myth that sex work is always bad and wrong, and that all sex workers (in particular, cisgendered female sex workers) are helpless victims

    3) invisiblizes sex workers who are cisgendered gay males or transgender women (because they don't fit into the "fallen woman" narrative the way cisgendered women do).

    4) promotes the idea that sexual images, sexual fetishes and roleplay are wrong and evil.

    5) basically promotes a patriarchal world view where sex should be limited to those in monogamous relationships – essentially the same worldview on sex that the Taliban and the Christian Fundamentalists have.

    • This reminds me of what I could call the fundamentalist pro-pornography argument, that any argument against pornography must be antithetical to healthy male heterosexuality (thus sex-negative) and based in reactionary prudery. How illuminating and original for a man to tell feminists who have a problem with pornography we are playing into the hands of the patriarchy and/or religious zealots. The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.

      • MOVIE, REVIEWED says:

        Well, as a matter of fact, you ARE playing into the hands of the patriarchy and the religious zealots – and alienating potential male allies. Telling men that the only way we can support women's rights is to renounce our sexuality and our maleness (which is essentially what Mr Jewel Woods is calling for) is going to turn off a lot of men – myself included – from supporting women's rights.

        • HOW is not consuming pornograpy or hiring strippers or prostitutes "renouncing your sexuality and maleness"? I, as a heterosexual female, do not consume pornography, go to strip clubs, or hire the services of prostitutes (male or female). Yet, astoundingly, I am still attracted to men and have a healthy sex life. And, last I checked, I have retained my "female-ness".

          So how is the same not true for men? How does abstaining from pornography, strip clubs, and prostitutes rob you of your "sexuality" and "male-ness"? NO ONE anywhere in this article or in the comments is asking you to stop having sex with women. Have as much sex as you want! Have sex all day for all we care! As long as your sexual partners are consenting and there is no exchange of money involved. How is that so unreasonable?

          From your comments you'd think that the use of pornography, strippers, and prostitutes are "inherent" in male heterosexuality and that to denounce these things is to denounce male heterosexuality itself. So what are religious or feminist heterosexual men who do not indulge in these things? Gay? Or not men?

          • MOVIE, REVIEWED says:


            There is a reason why pornography, strip clubs and prostitution exist as businesses.

            That is because straight men in the aggregate want to have more sex than straight women in the aggregate do. This excess male sexual demand is absorbed by pornography aided masturbation, visits to strip clubs and the hiring of prostitutes.

            If you tell men that want more sex than uncompensated women will give that they cannot have pornography, strip clubs and prostitutes, as a practical matter you ARE telling them that they cannot be sexual.

  41. big picture view says:

    it seems to me that saying "men don't use pornography" is a bit simplistic. men resort to pornography if they are lonely, isolated, feeling unloved, and/or lack intimacy skills. to simply say "no! don't do that" without addressing the underlying factors is arguably, cruel. it certainly sets them up for failure.

    • Wtf are you talking about, dude?? How many "men" have you talked to about porn? I look at porn quite often, and I have NONE of those factors! Porn is just plain old recreation to me. I do it because I get horny sometimes, and I need to rub one out. It's a convenient way to get off quickly. We men have always been fairly horny all throughout history (not to excuse everything that's been in the name of that libido, though). To blame us as if porn is some kind of 'addiction' for all guys or indicative of some underlying mental problem(s)- THAT is simplistic, if you ask me.

      I think the part about porn in this is kind of unrealistic. We men are a pretty horny bunch, and we have urges and desires that need to be addressed. Getting off to porn is a nonviolent way for me to do that. Suggest ALTERNATIVE porn sites, at the least, not tell us to just "stop looking at porn." What are you, 5? You know abstinence doesn't work! Stop acting like those right-wingers in the anti-drug and Christian Right campaigns and movements.

      • So your mastabutory pleasure is more important than someone's freedom? I'm sorry but I think too highly of men as a gender to think you do not have the self control to not use pornography. 1 in 5 pornographic images online is of a non-consenting minor. Is your ejaculation more important than her freedom and happiness?

        There was a time when abolitionists were told that they would never free the slaves….

  42. Christian C. says:

    Greatly beneficial article—so needed to revive our culture's standards of decency and safety. I know the focus of this article is toward actions that can be taken by everyday men and boys. NOW you need to do a follow-up article on actions that WOMEN can take to reduce the sex slave trade. Just like men can turn away from these pimp-rap 'role models,' women can make a turn back toward decent expression of themselves where they dress and deport themselves in classy ways rather than sensual, skanky ways. The latter so fuels denigrating thoughts about women. Thanks again, Jewel, for spotlighting this critical issue of our day. ~C

  43. About #4: What about queer porn? What about porn that wins feminist awards? The "Crash Pad Series" by director Shine Louise Houston (a queer woman of color) features people from across the gender spectrum engaging in safe sex (using dental dams, rubber gloves etc.). The fact that this series is directed by a woman, features people of color, gender minorities, queer sexuality, and safe sex all add nuances that make pornography a category worthy of being more thoroughly analyzed, especially by this article. Yes, mainstream porn is inauthentic, and lesbian mainstream porn doesn't feature queer people who actually enjoy the acts they are performing. But what about the possibility of creating alternative, erotic expressive spaces that aren't exploitative? The "Crash Pad Series" is a queer expressive space and it warrants further analysis before it's written off as just another manifestation of mainstream oppression.

  44. All very good points, but like any good proposals, when it relates to sex and the almighty dollar, it's not going to happen and you can take that to the bank.

  45. For decades, our culture has decried sexism. Most people nowadays accept this and view sexism as bad, but sexism has not gone away.

    1) A small portion of men are still VERY sexist. The most sexist guys are the ones with good looks, money and/or power. ie. the popular guys who develop huge egos and machismo to match. Somehow being sexist doesn't stop women from flocking to these men. Tucker Max comes to mind, but also phenomenon like Girls Gone Wild. These type of guys enjoy degrading and humiliating women, and they are rewarded in our culture with money, fame, and women.

    2) The double standard of slut/stud is also alive and well, and perhaps worse now. Decades of feminism has not made it go away. On the contrary, women seem to be voting with their feet for "stud" types. There's also this trend of young men reading books on how to become "players". Real gentlemen are apparently "wimps" and "losers" in today's culture. Will they eventually cease to exist?

    3) There's also this trend of women trying to "turn the tables" and put down men. It's popular in tv, movies, etc. to make fun of men in a way that would be called sexism if it were done to women. This reverse sexism is apparently okay since it is pay back for past sexism, and men have big egos so it's okay to deflate their egos a little. The only problem is that the form of this 'sexism' is usually to belittle men for not being manly or "studly" enough (eg. height, muscularity, penis size, status). But women aren't getting back at the sexist type men, they are usually getting back at the least sexist men. If the worth of a man is deemed to be his macho-ness, then this only reinforces the status of the macho type sexist men.

    Ok, I'm exaggerating and oversimplifying a little. But my question is that if women don't like sexism, and machismo is at its core fundamentally sexist, why do some women 1) like sexist macho types 2) put down men for not being macho enough? I'm not trying to blame women for some men's bad behavior — obviously these people are accountable for their own behavior — but just trying to understand why there's this contradiction between people's supposed values and their actual behavior/actions. It's so strange that decades of feminism has apparently resulted in a more extreme form of machismo and "hypermasculinity".

  46. samuel welsh says:

    we should encourage more loving and connected families
    thhis will greatly kill this problem

  47. well, just be brave, be confident, and be you… that's all you need, you win some and you lose some but that's just life. you can't please everybody. the moon doesn't shine on its own.. meaning you can draw your light/ strength from other person but you have to shine on your own.
    male stripper charlotte

  48. Suzie Blue says:

    I was a little insulted at the gendered nature of these comments. I'm a female and a lesbian. But this applies to straight women too. It's especially important for women of all sexual orientations to pay attention to these additions to your points:
    1) Men *and* women participate in glorifying pimps in today's culture. (Think Kim Kardashian.)
    3) Women also patronize strip clubs. (I've only been once, because the women that looked like they were 15 made me profoundly uncomfortable.)
    4) Women also watch porn. Granted, not *many* women I know watch porn, because even the *lesbian* porn out there is designed and filmed by straight men. Porn, however, is not inherently the problem. Pro-women porn exists and can be exciting while being safe. Check out http://www.tinynibbles.com/smartporn.
    6) Oh my God. This one irks me. Do you know how many women participate in sex tourism? I lived in Senegal, as a white woman and they assumed I was there for sex. I found it offensive until I realized that about half the other white women I met were there for just that. Many African and Caribbean countries have this problem and the fact that no one talks about it makes it worse.
    10) And girls and daughters!

    Also, everything MOVIE, REVIEWED and Jana said.

  49. Sex Industry/Human Trafficking: Violence has become an integral part of our collective sexuality, on a global level.

    This is shame-based sexuality. On a microcosm level: Pimp owning Protituted woman/man/transgendered individual, OR the Macrocosm of the First World needing the oppression of and the prostitution of the Third World in order to “prosper”.

    The integration of sex and violence creates pseudo-sexuality, based in outmoded beliefs that sex is something shamful. Sex then becomes the the forbidden fruit, the belief that when someone is not interested it means they really want it, they want to be pursued, it means that jealousy is an indication of Love. It is the foundation of the sex industry and the generated “activities” such as trafficking, strip clubs and “call girls’…the names and terms are changed to indicate that some people are desirous of constant sex, that they like the work, that there are “sucessful” sex industry workers and those that are simply not as talented…the throw-aways, the ones that are even more vulnerable.

    This integration of sex and violence generates the separation between “high class and low class” prostituted people, the division and competition between women, the opposition and discord between genders, separatism of class and race, children becoming increasingly sexualized, and the internaization of self dissonance/dislike, genereating eating disorders, addictions, and the sense that self exploitation is the way to have power over that which caused so much powerlessness.

    To me, this is not sexuality. This is Business. This is the Fat Cats making money. As long as we as women, survivors of trafficking, sex workers of whatever self-identification, as long as we, the representatives of various social constructs created by those in “power” remain in discord, all that the ones in charge need do is to sit back and watch, pick up their checks in the mail as we kill and hurt ourselves and each other through competition, judgement, and systems of oppression. All the ones in charge need do, is sit back and watch while we do all that is needed to insure their station. The oppressors have us beleive that we like it…For Social Change and evolution of consciousness and compassion,

    I propose the following actions:

    #1 Stop consuming so-called sexual materials, stop being consumers of the sex


    #2 Open our minds and (for even a moment) consider that the sex industry

    is a system of profound oppression that hurts everyone…men, women, children,

    the poor, the wealthy, the marginalized, those in pain, those living well,

    the priviledged, the homeless, the employed and the unemployed…oppression in

    any form is toxic…it hurts us all, from the macro to micro level.

    #3 Relearn, unlearn, create new ways of perceiving and expressing our sexuality

    Ways where people are not used, and are taught to believe and feel as though

    they get power by participating in their own victimization

    #4 End the exchange of resources (money, drugs) for sex

    #5 Create new effective ways in which to deal with perpetrators/consumers

    #6 Teach children about oppression; that it is wrong and not simply a part of life

    to assimilate and accept as normal. Teach them to identify oppression by

    pointing it out and by interrupting oppression in a way which promotes evolved

    thinking…interrupting in ways that does not cause ohers to become defensive.

    #7 Stop beleiving that some people are so (and I quote an earlier comment) “horny”

    and sexually “insatiable” that they really enjoy sex work on a daily basis

    #8) Educate ourselves about the systems of the sex industry:

    (porn sales/consumption included) Research, find out the truth about who is

    truly at the helm, who is really cashing in in the name of workers making so

    much money…ask ourselves who really wants to grow up to be prostituted and

    ask ourselves things like, what type of job a sex worker might be eligible for,

    when they can no longer continue in the industry…when they become too old,

    too hurt, too addicted, just no longer good enough in whatever way…

    #9 Have the Courage to ask ourselves what happens to all those workers who are

    inevitably “thrown away” by their “employers” who replace workers

    hiring “new and improved workers for a bigger consumer draw…with new, younger,

    better workers who will bring in more capital.

    #10 Unravel the lies we are told about high vs low class” call girls

    (the term “girls” used here for the sake of simplicity and not to minimize

    the huge population of men, children, etc, representative of every population) #11 Research, Open our minds, and truly examine the untruths we are fed about the

    reality of the lives of sex workers…the belief in the popularity, the glamor,

    the wages, the worker’s endless desires to be sexulaized, etc.

    #12 Take an honest look beneath the surface about who is really making the big

    money and the measurment of what successful means when speaking about a

    sex worker

    #13 Examine the level of vulnerability when a person has been purchased for

    the pleasure of the consumer and what they might want/wish to do even with

    so-called worker “protection” and the propensity for violence.

    #14 Care about what really happens when a human being someone is purchased,

    owned by a consumer, whether it is for 15 minutes, an hour, for the duration of

    a convention; for a day, a week, the residual effects over a lifetime…the

    direct and indirect effects on children the reality of the violence, the

    addiction, the absolute genocide at the core of this industry.

  50. Thanks for a great article, and thank you guys too for coming out in support of women and girls. I read some men’s magazines and would like to see something like this more often in men’s literature. For those who think that women would prefer to marry a rich man rather than a poor man, the news is that men would also rather marry a rich woman rather than a poor one. Entering the dating world after raising a family and supporting my husband, I was amazed how many men want their date to have money, and have high expectations of how much she should earn. Some of it is still economic, as women still lose on the career track for propagating the human race.

    Some naive souls here have said that men will like women no matter how they are presented — I beg to differ. Hairy legs and underarms were okay when they were fashionable and men were very hairy too, now not so. A lot of erotic definition does happen in the mind/culture, and making young girls into sex objects does affect boy and men culture negatively. I went to hear a panel of porn stars, distributor, sex therapist and the porn distributor described how the market has changed, and grown, and he said that because things are no longer taboo, the “appetite” gets jaded faster with what’s out there, and then they want more exotic and extreme. So the idea is to keep boundaries, knowing that there will always be some going over, but it does restate and make visible social values that can help a society to keep consensus on the rights of women and girls. Even those women and girls who want to do porn or prostitution should know their right to not be beaten, mutiliated and to get out if they want to.

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