“Think of a tree. We could rescue one hundred victims tomorrow, but as long as there is a demand, there will be 100 more next week. That cycle will only continue. Our goal is to break that cycle to address the infrastructure and industry enabling sex trafficking to thrive in our world. What is the root? The root is demand, and the demand thrives in the soil of pornographic culture.” -Helen Taylor, Exodus Cry
Exodus Cry, our feature organization for November and December 2022, is an organization dedicated to abolishing sex trafficking and breaking the cycle of commercial sexual exploitation.
I had the privilege of learning about Exodus Cry from Helen Taylor, the Vice President of Impact. Helen has been with Exodus Cry for about 10 years, but even before that, she always had a heart for women in prostitution. Helen recognized the unequal power dynamic of prostitution: the sex buyer, the one with choice and money, purchases sexual consent from a vulnerable person who otherwise would not consent, oftentimes because they are controlled by a pimp. With Exodus Cry, Helen fights for a world where no women will ever have to find themselves in this situation.
Helen shared the importance of viewing sex trafficking from a supply and demand perspective. The anti-trafficking movement has to address the demand for the sex industry, or the sex industry will continue to grow and increase. A massive reason for that demand is pornography. There are multiple intersections between pornography and the sex industry. In a new documentary that Exodus Cry will be releasing, much of the focus is on the stories of sex buyers. Every man they interviewed talked about childhood exposure to pornography. Exodus Cry understands that if one watches porn, or has a porn addiction, that doesn’t necessarily mean that individual is a sex buyer, however it was a commonality between all the buyers they interviewed.
“The pornography industry is a predator. It is the equivalent of a heroin dealer injecting kids on the playground every day. If that were happening in our schools, there would be absolute national outrage, of course. Rather, this is happening in the digital arena; every single day kids are being exposed to the most violent and addictive content that is destroying their lives.” – Helen
A key aspect of addressing the demand for sex trafficking is talking about pornography. Helen described the porn industry as the wild, wild west, with little to no regulations. “The average age of porn exposure is around 11, but reports are showing younger and younger exposure each year. It feels like the porn industry is a predator. The technology exists to put up those barriers to protect children, but they don’t. The access has never been easier and the content has never been more violent.”
Sex trafficking is a result of the massive demand for purchasing sex, and purchasing sex is driven by a pornographic culture.
Exodus Cry’s Solutions:
Exodus Cry strategically thinks and plans years into the future regarding how they can best fight commercial exploitation. Helen described the primary call and mandate of Exodus as a forerunner in the shifting culture. Since Exodus Cry’s founder is a filmmaker, one of Exodus Cry’s strengths is their ability to create powerful and compelling films that shed light on sex trafficking and the sex industry. Some of those films are:
- Nefarious: Merchant Of Souls, which is all about global sex trafficking.
- Raised on Porn: The New Sex Ed, which is about the effects of pornography, especially on children.
- Liberated: The New Sexual Revolution, which goes into young adult hookup culture. Liberated can be found on Netflix.
- Beyond Fantasy – Exodus Cry’s most recent three part mini series exposing abuse and exploitation in the LA-based porn industry (link to watch is beyondfantasy.com)
These films have been shared countless times, changed hearts and minds, and have inspired many to fight for the rights and freedoms of those exploited.
One of the most recent major breakthroughs Exodus Cry has seen is the success of their campaign, Traffickinghub. Through this campaign, Exodus Cry exposed the extremely unethical practices of Pornhub, specifically the massive amount of nonconsensual content and abusive content. After receiving over 2 million signatures on their petition to hold Pornhub’s executives accountable, The New York Times wrote a front page article on the campaign and Visa and MasterCard cut ties with Pornhub. Blaming Exodus Cry in their statement, Pornhub deleted over 80% of their content (over 10 million videos) and removed the download button. More recently, in August of 2022, Visa and MasterCard publicly cut ties with all sites owned by Mindgeek, the parent company of Pornhub. Helen shared that this, along with multiple lawsuits against them, will essentially bankrupt Mindgeek/Pornhub.
This is a huge victory for Exodus Cry and the anti-trafficking movement! There is so much more to be done, though. Helen shared that one of the hardest things for her is, “having patience when you know that, sometimes, it takes years for culture to shift.” She noted that it’s tough hearing stories of survivors, while feeling like the progress is moving so slowly. But, she and her team are hopeful, committed to shifting the needle and continuing to see breakthroughs.
Helen left me with this message: “The courage of survivors is what’s changing the world. None of this work would be possible, and none of the breakthroughs we’ve seen in the past few years would be possible without the courage of survivors.”
Simply Earth is so excited and honored to support Exodus Cry in November and December!
Your purchase is helping end human trafficking. If you would like to get involved, sign up to Exodus Cry’s newsletter, and become an abolition partner! Helen shared that one of the biggest things you can do to get involved is to further educate yourself. She recommended Exodus Cry’s films, as well as Rachel Morin’s book, Paid For. You can also learn so much from Exodus Cry’s articles and podcasts, found on their website, Exoduscry.com.
Thank you for helping us support Exodus Cry!