November 14, 2016

The Porn Industry Chooses Profits Over Basic Protections to Performers Health

Proposition 60, a California ballot proposition which would have required that condoms be used and visible in all pornographic films, failed to pass last week.

This was a loss for human rights, and a loss for public health.

Pornography is causing a public health crisis in America, and the negative effects are felt by not only pornography users and those around them, but the pornography performers as well.

The pornography industry is built on the intersection of mental, physical, and sexual trauma.

Even if Prop 60 had passed, it would not have been able to eradicate the exploitive and harmful nature of the “industry” itself. No condom can protect performers from the myriad of harms intrinsic to pornography.

2011 study found, “Female adult film performers have significantly worse mental health and higher rates of depression than other California women of similar ages.”

Another study reported that pornography performers experience physical trauma on the film set, often leave the industry with financial insecurity and mental health problems, and also experience health risks that aren’t limited to sexually transmitted diseases.

The pornography industry cares about profits, not its performers’ health.

The pornography industry came out in spades against Prop 60, arguing that the burden of visibly using condoms would be too great.

Of course, they were more concerned with the profit-margins or corporate legal liability of the new law, rather than the potential benefit to performers’ health.

Research has found that pornography performers have a ‘high burden’ of sexually transmitted disease. This burden includes and extends well beyond the risk of HIV infection.

The researchers reported:

Undiagnosed asymptomatic rectal and oropharyngeal STIs were common [among pornography performers] and are likely reservoirs for transmission to sexual partners inside and outside the workplace. Performers should be tested at all anatomical sites irrespective of symptoms, and condom use should be enforced to protect workers in this industry.

What other industry would insist that its employees ingest or be covered in semen on a regular basis, and risk constant harms to their physical health?

Why is it unreasonable that these individuals receive at least some feeble modicum of protection? Firemen, law enforcement officials, and healthcare professionals all wear special protective gear, but pornography performers are for some reason exempt.

The saga of Proposition 60 has reconfirmed the dark and dangerous nature of the pornography industry. Profiting from sexual exploitation is the industry’s only concern.

You can learn more about the public health crisis of pornography here: endsexualexploitation.org/publichealth

Haley McNamara (Halverson)

Vice President & Director, International Centre on Sexual Exploitation

Haley McNamara (formerly Halverson) is the Director of the International Centre on Sexual Exploitation in the UK, and a Vice President at the U.S. based National Center on Sexual Exploitation. She leads international efforts and joint campaigns to improve policies and education among global governing bodies, citizenry, and corporations regarding the full web of sexual exploitation issues. Her advocacy work has contributed to policy improvements in social media, online advertising, retail, and hotel industries. She has advocated at the United Nations, led international coalition campaigns, presented to Danish, Croatian and Rwandan government officials, and more

She is a former member of the Washington DC Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. This Committee advises DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on the multi-faceted continuum of the District of Columbia’s child welfare services, including prevention, early intervention, treatment, and sources of permanency.

Haley regularly speaks and writes on topics including child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, prostitution, sexual objectification, the exploitation of males, and more. She has presented before officials at the United Nations, as well as at several national symposia before influencers from the Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Croatian government officials. She has provided training to Arlington County Child & Family Services on the social media grooming, recruitment, and advertising for sex trafficking. She has a Master of Arts in Government from Johns Hopkins University where she received honors for her thesis regarding the online commercial sexual exploitation marketplace.

Previously, Haley served for two years as Director of Communications for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation where she oversaw strategic messaging development, press outreach, email marketing, and social media marketing.

Prior to working at NCOSE, Haley wrote for a cultural media outlet. Haley graduated from Hillsdale College (summa cum laude) with a double major, and conducted a senior thesis on the abolitionist argument regarding prostitution. During her studies, she studied abroad at Oxford University and established a background in policy research through several internships in the DC area.

Haley has appeared on, or been quoted in, several outlets including the New York Times, NBC’s The Today Show, BBC News, New York Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Fox News, San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, Voice of America, Dr. Drew Midday Live, The DeMaio Report, the New York Daily News, the Washington Examiner, USA Radio Network, the Washington Times, CBC News, The Rod Arquette Show, The Detroit News, Lifezette, The Christian Post, Lifeline with Neil Boron, EWTN News Nightly, KCBS San Francisco Radio, LifeSiteNews, The Drew Mariano Show on Relevant Radio, News Talk KGVO, and American Family News.

She has written op-eds for the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, FoxNews.com, Washington Examiner, Townhall.com, Darling Magazine, the Daytona-Beach News Journal, and has been published in the Journal of Internet Law and the journal Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and ViolenceShe has also contributed to a digital middle school curriculum regarding the links between sex trafficking and pornography as well as the public health impacts of sex trafficking.

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