April 8, 2021

STATEMENT – NCOSE Research Institute Director Addresses How “Adult” Hardcore Pornography Fuels Child Sexual Abuse at Harvard Institute Symposium 

Washington, DC (April 8, 2021)– The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) announced that Lisa Thompson, vice president and director of the Research Institute at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, is a keynote speaker at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science’s International Symposium today, April 8, the World Day for Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, Healing and Justice. 

In a presentation titled, “The Elephant in the Room: The Role of Adult Hardcore Pornography in Fueling Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation,” Ms. Thompson addressed why child sexual abuse material is increasing.

“The rise of child sexual abuse material is not a ‘dark web’ issue; it is being fueled by the rise in consumption of hardcore pornography,” Thompson said. “So called ‘mainstream’ pornography websites like Pornhub have profited from child sexual abuse material.”

Thompson cites the addiction-related brain changes that occur when adults view hardcore pornography as a key link to explaining the rise in child sexual abuse material. “Over 45 studies published since 2009 have found negative impacts on a person’s brain structure and function after viewing hardcore pornography. These studies support the premise that pornography can cause addition-related brain changes. ‘Mainstream’ pornography is rife with sexual violence, child sexual abuse, incest, racist and misogynistic themes. This ‘adult’ pornography normalizes these themes in the mind of the viewer and causes viewers to seek more extreme content. This process helps fuel the demand for child-like or more violent pornographic content,” she said.

“Mainstream pornography must be confronted as a harmful exploiter,” Thompson added. “Our hope is that everyone who cares about ending sex trafficking and child exploitation will care how mainstream pornography operate and call for sites like Pornhub to be shut down.”

“The Harvard Institute is to be commended for seeking solutions to ending this horrific problem in today’s society, and I am grateful for the opportunity to bring this issue to light,” Thompson said.

More information about the International Symposium can be found at Symposium Event page and the April 8 World Day YouTube account.

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography. 

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