Why Does Turning a Camera on Make Abuse Legal?

A few weeks ago woman was arrested in my town when detectives raided a massage parlor.  The woman arrested was charged with prostitution, selling sex.

The story was passed on to my from a friend who knows I volunteer with a local group that seeks to raise awareness of human trafficking, as well as to become active in eliminating human trafficking in our county.  From what I have read on this particular case, there is no evidence of human trafficking.  It is possible though: a case where a woman is in the USA illegally, working in a massage parlor and selling herself, often includes someone higher up forcing her into the whole thing.

What struck me as I read this article was that the difference between prostitution and pornography is whether it is being filmed.  This woman was arrested for accepting money in exchange for sex.  Such an action, prostitution, is illegal.  Yet pornography is women being paid to have sex…on film.

So I wonder (and I do not mean to sound flippant about the situation), if she just turned a camera on, could she claim she is not guilty of prostitution because she is making pornography?

It makes me wonder why pornography is unquestionably legal?  Why is sex for money wrong, until a camera is filming it?

I do not think the solution is simply to legalize prostitution.  This is a debate that is beyond what I am writing here.  But from what I have read, legalizing prostitution does not end the inherent abuse of women and other crimes that surround prostitution.  In other words, an abusive pimp does not become a legitimate businessman because the law is changed.  If you want to read more about this, I would suggest you go here, here and here.

The growth of pornography in our culture is frightening.  It is damaging to those who consume it and it is damaging to those who make it.  What would it take to change the conversation in such a way that we are able to question the legality of it?


2 thoughts on “Why Does Turning a Camera on Make Abuse Legal?

  1. Great thought provoking article about the distinction between prostitution and pornography.

    I wanted to let you know about a feature film we’re producing – Lessons from Violet. It will be the first romantic comedy about human trafficking. As the movie Life is Beautiful got us to laugh while revealing the reality of the holocaust we are aiming to do the same with the issue of human trafficking. The awards given to our screenplay seem to indicate that we’re headed in the right direction.

    Here’s an article about it from Yahoo News:


    Let me know if you’d like more info about it or if you’d like to feature it on your blog. We’re in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to build a team around Lessons from Violet:


    I look forward to your thoughts!


    Johnson Lo
    Morning Star Pictures

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