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Post by: Lauren Moustakas

Addressing Exploitation to Protect

Hello my name is Lauren Moustakas, I am a 3L at Regent Law School and serve as a Law Clerk for the Center for Global Justice. This semester I am thankful for the opportunity to work on two projects for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) that assists in their work to expose the connections between all forms of sexual exploitation.

When hearing the words sexual exploitation many might not associate terms such as prostitution or pornography with the sexual exploitation that is referred to as human trafficking or sex trafficking. However, while they take a different form than what we understand to be human trafficking, both are exploitative of human beings, ignore their human dignity, and fuel the demand for sex trafficking and other forms of sexual violence.

The first project is a compilation of how all fifty states and the District of Columbia are addressing exploitation that occurs through prostitution. Individuals who are viewed as prostitutes are frequently trafficked and otherwise meet the definition for human trafficking – the recruitment, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, through the use or threat of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, for the purpose of exploitation.[1]

However, while there has been a general awareness of the issue of what we refer to as sex trafficking, the exploitation of prostituted persons and punishing those that profit from their exploitation has largely been ignored when states take action against human trafficking. Alarmingly, there have even been calls to legalize prostitution by many states and even nations – even states and nations who are working to address sex trafficking. A state simply cannot be pro-prostitution and anti-human trafficking – both forms of exploitation must be addressed and seen for what they are. NCOSE is dedicated to exposing the connection between exploitation through prostitution and sex trafficking, assist states in their efforts to address exploitation, and I am grateful for the opportunity to assist in this work.

The second project is focused on helping states use the law to empowering parents with tools to protect their children, and children in general, from pornography. Pornography itself fuels the demand for sexual exploitation by normalizing the idea that some women and men are commodities to be consumed for another’s pleasure and enjoyment. However, when it comes to exploitation and pornography, it is not only the person abused for others enjoyment’s dignity that is trampled on but the viewers dignity as well. Pornography affects the dignity of the viewer/perpetrator differently, but is still exploitive in the way it captivates are reduces their dignity to one that abuses another. Further, the viewing of pornography actually affects the viewer’s brain and its development which is exploitative of that individual’s human dignity.[2]

Children are particularly vulnerable, especially in our current online climate, to be harmed by pornography. This vulnerability not only comes from how easily pornography is accessible but because professional exploiters such as PornHub actually target children through popular aps such as SnapChat or purposely use children’s cartoon characters in their search terms.[3]  Until exploiters such as PornHub are seen for what they are and the exploitation of others through pornography is denormalized, it is important for parents to be equipped to protect their children from being exploited through pornography. I am thankful to be able to assist NCOSE in this work to address exploitation, protect children, and empower parents through this project.

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.

[1] United Nations, Human Trafficking,

[2] Gail Dines, Growing Up With Porn: The Developmental and Societal Impact of Pornography on Children, Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence, July 1, 2017,

[3] Chris McKenna, Warning: Pornhub is on SnapChat. And Parents Have No Idea,,