10 Oct
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Dig Deeper

Several Pennsylvania government employees have resigned following accusations including viewing and sharing pornography during work hours on Government computers.[1] Naturally the story is being viewed through political lens, but the greater issue is being overlooked. Pornography fuels sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, and if these incidents are simply blown off as “good ole boys” viewing naked women, we fall into the trap of ignorance and complacency and miss an opportunity to look deeper and make directional change.

As Director of an organization that fights sexual exploitation[2], I am fully aware that Pennsylvania continues to receive a steady failing grade on its annual human trafficking report card.[3] The state needs to take onus of its failing efforts and take action to protect victims and hold criminals accountable. The story above is simply a peephole into the larger issue of sexual exploitation and the current lack of legislation to change that.

“As Victor Malarek put it in his book The Johns: “The message is clear: if prostitution is the main act, porn is the dress rehearsal.” Pornography becomes a training ground for johns/tricks. When pornography is the source of sex education for our generation, the natural outcome is a culture of commercial sex and sex trafficking.” So although the story of men viewing porn will generate some outrage because it was done during work hours on government computers; the issue of exploitation will be overlooked. We could rally around this exposure and use it as a platform to change that yearly “F” to a solid “A.” Neighboring state, New Jersey, is leading the country in anti-trafficking efforts and certainly Pennsylvania can join suit.

Until legislation is changed in Pennsylvania, a rescued sex trafficking victim will be thrown into a detention center or prison, depending on their age and labeled a prostitute. While this great state is adding casinos, which is a breeding ground for sexual exploitation, it has yet to step up and reverse it’s failing efforts to protect exploited victims.

While some would cry, “far reach” to connect the story of men just wanting to have fun viewing naked women performing sex acts, and innocent victims being exploited, I beg to differ. Ignorance is blinding and as a state, if we refuse to see the real issue, the bigger picture, the roots of exploitation, we will never see full results. There are some amazing people fighting injustice and demanding change in Pennsylvania and I applaud that. However, there is no excuse not to fully engage with changing legislation so that innocent victims can receive healing and justice. Pennsylvania, you can do better!

 “AT THIS POINT, it might be harder to find a government computer in Harrisburg that hasn’t been used to view or transmit porn.”

Kelly Master, Director of Dining for Dignity


[1] http://articles.philly.com/2014-10-09/news/54832400_1_tom-corbett-tom-wolf-revenue-employees

[2] www.diningfordignity.org

[3] http://sharedhope.org/PICframe3/reportcards/PIC_RC_2013_PA.pdf

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