JESUSLAND—In an article posted today on Morality in Media's pornharms.com website, MiM staffer Dawn Hawkins (pictured left) accused the adult industry of engaging in sex trafficking. Her charge is based on an article which appeared on AVN.com on August 7 regarding California Ballot Proposition 35, a poorly-written attempt to increase fines and prison sentences for sex traffickers, require them to register as sex offenders, and prevent them from accessing or posting anonymously on the internet.
"Sex trafficking is happening in the porn industry," Hawkins declared in a video accompanying the article. "There's a new initiative on the ballot in California this year that extends protections to victims of human trafficking and sex trafficking... My question is, if the porn industry was not forcing and coercing, abusing, drugging its performers sometimes, getting them to perform in the production of pornography, then why are they so afraid of this? My other question is, if the porn industry really is verifying the ages of the performers, and they know that all of their performers are over the age of 18, then why are they so afraid of this?"
Of course, if Hawkins actually knew anything about the history of the porn industry, the answers would be obvious: That history is replete with minors trying and occasionally succeeding in sneaking into the industry with realistic false IDs. The most famous of these "practitioners" are Traci Lords and Alexandria Quinn, but there have been several others, both straight and gay, though producers are getting a bit more savvy these days in detecting false driver's licenses, passports, etc.
Hawkins bolsters her trafficking claim by citing a handout from the thoroughly-discredited Shelley Lubben of the Pink Cross Foundation, which claims that "agents, porn directors, porn producers, pimps and performers who recruit and entice a woman to engage in a commercial sex act" do so by "beating, slapping and punching; beatings with objects (bats, chains, belts, hangers, whips); physical restraint e.g. forcing a woman to give oral sex by restraining her head; rape and gang rape e.g. anal sex performed on a woman without her permission; attempted rape e.g. male porn actor repeatedly attempts to insert his penis into a woman's anus and she repeatedly has to tell him no."
According to Lubben, other methods of "persuasion" allegedly include fraudulent offers of employment, money, fame; seduction; "sending women to fraudulent clinics for medical care"; and coercion, which includes threats of physical, psychological, reputational, legal or financial harm; "intense manipulation by pornographers to lure naive women into the porn business"; "intimidation and humiliation by older males to cause a woman to be fearful"; offering them drugs and alcohol "to help them get through scenes"; and of course the ever-popular "reward[ing] women by starring them on the box cover."
Sure; promise her a box cover and she'll do anything!
Needless to say, Hawkins believes all this, so it's not surprising to her that adult industry members would attack Prop 35 because, to her mind, they're only protecting their sex-trafficking selves.
As part of Hawkins' article, she links to a frame grab of AVN's article, underlines a couple of sentences and inserts two "word balloons" with questions. Her first underlining is of the phrase, "which would define any producer that knowingly or unknowingly 'causes, induces, or persuades, or attempts to cause, induce, or persuade, a person who is a minor... to engage in a commercial sex act'." Her balloon asks, "How is this a bad thing if they aren't forcing or coercing the performers to do anything??" Obviously, the several sections of the article dealing with the problem of attempting to hold producers responsible for minors who use fraud to enter the industry, which in the past have forced million-dollar recalls of product, were lost of Hawkins.
Hawkins also takes umbrage at the portion of the impending law which reads, "Mistake of fact as to the age of a victim of human trafficking who is a minor at the time of the commission of the offense is not a defense to a criminal prosecution under this section." Hawkins' question: "The porn industry uses underage kids in their films. Now they're not going to get away with it so easily. JUST CHECK THEIR AGE!" In her video, she similarly asks, "If the porn industry is not forcing women to engage in these sex acts for porn, then why are they afraid of these penalties? It [sic] won't touch them at all."
As a "true believer," Hawkins undoubtedly thinks that minors appear in adult movies all the time, and that it's pure luck or amazing subterfuge that allows the producers to get away with it. Of course, the reverse is true: Producers go out of their way to vet actresses' and actors' identities (which the federal recordkeeping and labeling law, 18 U.S.C. §2257 requires them to do anyway), so it's the rare individual who's got the craftiness to create a fake ID and manage to sneak into a movie or web scene. The most recent example was Bieyanka Moore, who just last year stole the Social Security number and expired learner's permit of stripper Tyler Chanel Evans, used the permit to obtain a genuine Nevada driver's license, and managed to appear in a Reality Kings online offering.
So it's not a matter of "just check[ing] their age"; the problem is that some of these children are really good at faking their identities—and any law that puts a producer in prison because s/he was fooled by, in Moore's case, a genuine Nevada driver's license, is not a good thing... much as we're sure Hawkins would like to see every producer of (and director of and performer in) sexually explicit content put in prison for a couple of decades, if not executed.
So yes, AVN stands by its assessment that absent a rewrite, Prop 35 is a Very Bad Thing for the adult industry... and for unwary johns and teen sweethearts as well.
So keep that invective coming, Dawn. We're sure the ignorance of your supporters about nearly everything to do with the adult entertainment industry brings in those big donations.
And of course, we'll continue to be here to smack you down when you publish and publicize such horseshit.