How much pornography is made of prostituted women?

There are at least 42 million prostituted persons worldwide and less than half of them are ever identified.* At least half of the entire total are children, 80% female, and 80% under the age of 25. The average age someone is trafficked into prostitution is 12 years old, and the average life expectancy for females is 7 years from the moment they’re trafficked – largely by homicide. Needless to say, research and studies of any sample of prostituted persons could never be random, and hence may not be typical of all prostituted persons. That said, of the surveys and reports conducted on pornography being made of prostituted women, a clear pattern emerges: around 50% of prostituted women have had pornography made of them.**

One of the more comprehensive studies was conducted by Dr. Melissa Farley, of Prostitution Research & Education in San Francisco. She found that across 8 countries, including Canada, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, the United States, and Zambia, of the 854 female respondents, 49% reported having had pornography made of their being sexually violated. These statistics were comparable to a study conducted by the WHISPER Oral History Project more than a decade earlier, which found that more than 53% of prostituted women had been filmed for pornography – by the johns / buyers of sex alone. Both studies found that between half or two-thirds of these men specifically demanded the prostituted women re-enact scenes they had consumed in pornography.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that of prostituted persons, 68% had PTSD (a very high prevalence of psychological harm for any group). Most of them had come from a home of childhood sexual abuse, rape, and other forms of abuse. Of these women, those who had been filmed in pornographic videos had significantly more severe PTSD symptoms than those who hadn’t been filmed.

Much of the pornography made of these prostituted persons is, of course, available online, everywhere, free of charge, today. Identified or nameless, twelve years or twenty, 2,000 days or one from being murdered, their prostitution lives online forever across small sites and large networks, comprising likely, or very likely, millions of hours across Xvideos, Pornhub, YouPorn, and so on.

As has been noted in many studies, it is the pornography industry itself that largely fuels the demand for sex trafficking and prostitution. And it is the consumption of these videos that continues to drive a demand for men’s sexual access to women. It is not illogical to state that the people who consume pornography regularly have likely found and even masturbated to a number of these women, many of whom were brought into this industry when they were children, most of whom suffered from PTSD, and a large number of whom are no longer alive.

* Of the 42 million prostituted persons, only 4.5 million are recognized as having been trafficked into the industry. Pornography FAQ maintains that mythologizing the false distinction between sex trafficking, or forced prostitution, and “free” prostitution perpetuates the irresponsible ideology that one is bad while the other is good. In the context of the sex industry, which sells women, men, and children as commodities for personal sexual pleasure, the concepts of “free” and “good” are deeply insulting.

** Pornography FAQ also maintains that pornography is prostitution, albeit filmed. Most people readily distinguish between the two. For the sake of keeping this individual post coherent and clear for the majority of readers, I maintain that distinction. The clear connections between the two will be explored in length and in scope elsewhere on this site.