Sex Buyers Don’t Care About the Prostituted Person They Buy
Tom Jones was molested at age six by his father, and then sex trafficked until age 15 and prostituted in his mid-20s.
The following video and summary come from a presentation at a national briefing at the U.S. Capitol, “Creating a World Without Exploitation: How Consumer Demand Drives the Commercial Sex Trade and What We Can Do About It,” hosted by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and World Without Exploitation in 2017.
The foundation of Tom’s abuse is not at all unique. In fact, countless survivor testimonies, backed by reliable research, indicate that the vast majority of adult women and men involved in the sex trade were either: molested as children, witnessed domestic violence as children, or have experienced various other forms of adverse childhood trauma. Such victimization does not simply vanish from one’s childhood once they become a consenting adult at age 18. Instead, the victimization continues into adulthood.
Some people want the sex trade to be legal, or they want to decriminalize the sex trade in its entirety (meaning pimps, traffickers, and sex buyers would face no penalties).
These people suggest people selling sex are happy to be there, but resoundingly that is not the case. In fact, people in prostitution are groomed to make the sex buyer believe that they are there by choice.
In the above video, Tom says:
Our safety and our wellbeing, and our very lives, often depend on us making the buyer believe that we are there by choice. The consequences of failing to do so can be severe. Buyers just want the sex and do not care about the plight of the person providing it. Exploiters who may be enslaving us just want the money, and they do not care about the ordeal of the person enduring the paid rate.
It’s time to hold sex buyers accountable for their choices to buy and sexually exploit another human being.
After processing the trauma and impact of his own exploitation, Tom Jones founded The H.O.P.E. Project (Healing, Outreach and Peer Empowerment) to create an open and safe space for men to talk about being sexually exploited and to work through deep feelings of shame and secrecy to be able to begin healing. The aim of this project is to be a peer-led trauma-informed support network of men who have been sexually abused, exploited, molested, or trafficked for sex.
Additional Research and Information on the Behaviors and Attitudes of Sex Buyers
- “Very inconvenient truths: sex buyers, sexual coercion, and prostitution-harm-denial.” Melissa Farley. Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture. 2016
- “Consent, Coercion, and Culpability: Is Prostitution Stigmatized Work or an Exploitive and Violent Practice Rooted in Sex, Race, and Class Inequality?” Rachel Moran and Melissa Farley. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 2018.
- “What We Know About Sex Trafficking, Prostitution, and Sexual Exploitation in the U.S.” Jody Raphael, Katie Feifer, Jayne Bigelsen, Michelle Dempsey, and Shea Rhodes. World Without Exploitation. 2017.