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Morality

Dallas Mayor Bans Exxxotica Expo

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings waits to speak at a news conference Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, in Dallas. The first contacts of the first Dallas Ebola infection are now cleared of the potential of developing the disease. (AP Photo/LM Otero)Dallas City Council has voted to ban an erotica expo from coming again to the city-owned convention center. Last year, this expo featured porn stars, the sale of sex toys, and a whipping dungeon. Despite legal advice and the likelihood of a lawsuit from event organizers, Mayor Rawlings has decided that it is not the in the best interest of the city. Thus, he has turned down their $70,000 and asked them to go elsewhere.

However, questions have surfaced with this latest move. Couldn't we use the $70,0000? What harm is done if they keep it indoors? Isn't this stand doomed to fail because of the First Amendment?

Pornography is often called "the victimless crime." When we learn the facts, we discover that nothing could be further from the truth. Forty percent of American adults use pornography. For adults age eighteen to twenty-six, usage increases to eighty-seven percent. There were approximately 1.5 billion searches for Internet porn in the first eight months of 2013. Of all Internet searches on mobile phones, one in five were for porn.

Every second, 28,258 users are watching pornography on the Internet. Every minute, $184,538.49 is being spent on pornography on the Internet. The financial cost to business productivity in the U.S. is estimated at $16.9 billion annually.

These numbers demonstrate the pervasiveness of the problem, but they also reveal a great demand. Where there is demand, supply inevitably follows, hence the expo.

Intimacy sought through pornography is not real. Virtual reality may satisfy a temporary desire, but it does not gratify a deep longing like an actual person. As a result, the use of people as sex objects moves from the screen to the street.

Globally, two children are sold into slavery every minute—1.2 million a year. Twenty-seven million people are trapped in slavery today. The average age of entry into street prostitution in America is between twelve and fourteen years old. In the developing world, Gary Haugen notes, it is common for victims of forced prostitution to service three to ten customers in a day.

The FBI states that 293,000 American youths are at risk of becoming victims of sex trafficking. An estimated 200,000 women are forced into the sex trade every year in the U.S. There are 1.5 million victims of human trafficking in America, a business that generates $87 million a day.

Is sex trafficking linked to pornography? Absolutely. Porn creates a demand that leads many users to exploit sex trafficking victims. Eighty percent of sex trafficking survivors report that their customers used pornography to illustrate the acts they wanted. Traffickers use porn to train their victims and to control them psychologically.

The pervasiveness of sex trafficking and pornography shows the depth of human depravity. But it also demonstrates the depth of human need for intimacy. Porn gives the illusion of intimacy but leaves the victim still lonely. Pornography is bad fruit from the rotten tree of false intimacy. And sex trafficking forces innocent victims to eat that fruit.

The three-day expo bills itself as the largest adult event in the U.S. dedicated to love and sex. But love never wins when it is sold. Love is freely given but infinitely valuable. If it is forced onto or paid for, the luster of love gives way to lust. Love for sale is more like lust to gain.

Mayor Rawlings is taking a stand and many are speculating of his defeat. But the inevitability of defeat does not decrease the value of the stand. Some things are worth fighting for and being defeated by. But the sting of defeat would only be heightened if we stood idly and apathetically by.

So for love of God and love of Dallas, thank you, Mayor Rawlings. We stand with you.

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