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"Pornography, the big forgotten in the fight against trafficking in human beings"

2021-10-15T14:27:42.826Z

FIGAROVOX / TRIBUNE - On October 18, the 15th European Day against Trafficking in Human Beings will take place. For researcher Nicolas Bauer, certain excesses of pornography could assimilate it to a form of trafficking, which is prohibited by international law.



Nicolas Bauer is an associate researcher at the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ) and a doctoral candidate in law at the University of Strasbourg.

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Pornographic production is often criticized when it is accessible to children or generates addictions.

On the other hand, it is rarer that we take a close interest in the condition of those who are now called "sex workers".

In April 2021, the French leader of "porn" Dorcel sought to promote a "Code of ethics for production X", aimed at establishing a framework protecting these people.

It was then a question of making forget the indictment of producers and collaborators of Dorcel for rape, aggravated pimping and aggravated human trafficking, three months after a similar investigation targeting the site "Jacquie et Michel".

Prostitution and pornography have several things in common.

In both cases, the bodies are rented, in exchange for money, for the pleasure of others.

Nicolas bauer

Beyond these complaints from actresses, feminist associations such as the Mouvement du Nid denounce the existence of a systemic problem of human trafficking in the “sex industry”.

To fight against trafficking, a comprehensive legal framework has developed over the past two decades, at international and then European level.

Nevertheless, its potential against the excesses of pornography is largely under-exploited, as it faces a taboo.

It is no exaggeration to say that pornography is the big forgotten one in legal and political reflection on human trafficking.

The first international efforts against trafficking were aimed at protecting women from prostitution.

Thus, in 1910, an international convention repressing the "white slave trade" was signed in Paris.

Others followed during the following decades, gradually widening the question to all forms of sex trafficking, then from 2000 to all situations of human trafficking.

However, the most widespread case of trafficking in the Western world remains sex trafficking and it is always on prostitution that the fight against trafficking is focused.

It must be said that international law explicitly prohibits "the exploitation of the prostitution of others" (procuring).

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There is a profusion of reports from United Nations and Council of Europe bodies on trafficking in human beings, in particular prostitution, but none are closely interested in pornography. Yet prostitution and pornography have several things in common. In both cases, the bodies are rented, in exchange for money, for the pleasure of others. Pornography comes from the Greek πόρνη [pórnê], which means “prostitute”; It is also not uncommon for pornographic actresses to prostitute themselves or have been prostitutes in the past. Some activities, such as “camgirls”, amount to both prostitution and pornography. Sociologist Sonny Perseil goes so far as to qualify pornography in general as “filmed prostitution”.

However, at least in part, the pornography industry practices human trafficking, within the meaning of international law.

Indeed, the definition of trafficking is broad and includes many situations.

Recruiting someone, abusing their vulnerable position or offering them payments, with the aim of sexually exploiting them, is tantamount to trafficking.

This is common in the sex trade, and in this sense the pornographic producer is indistinguishable from the pimp.

The first is however better perceived than the second, because pornography has won the battle of the image: it would be a cinematographic genre, with actors.

Consenting to be the object of trafficking does not eradicate trafficking itself, and trafficking therefore remains prohibited by international treaties.

Nicolas bauer

The aforementioned “Code of Ethics for Production X” aims to moralize pornography. She tries to take into account the many testimonies of former pornographic actresses, victims of humiliation, violence and rape, and with physical and psychotraumatic consequences. Respect for the consent and “privacy” of pornographic actors is at the heart of this Charter. In particular, the contract signed by the actor must precisely list the sexual services to be provided. This approach of "consent" is however doubtful, because the very principle of the contract implies that the producer can turn against the actor who would refuse a sexual practice accepted in advance.

Such ethical principles are not sufficient to guarantee the elimination of all trafficking in human beings in pornography.

In fact, the means of trafficking that we have cited - abuse of a vulnerable situation or offering of payments - are aimed precisely at obtaining the consent of the person.

However, international law is very clear: the consent of a victim of trafficking to the practices he is subjected to has no value.

In other words, consenting to be the object of trafficking does not eliminate the trafficking itself, and trafficking therefore remains prohibited by international treaties.

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More fundamentally, consent is not a guarantee that the person is genuinely free, nor that their dignity is respected. Even in our time when individual autonomy is sacred, it is accepted that when a person consents to an act objectively contrary to his dignity, society has a duty to protect him by preventing him from degrading. When in France the Council of State approved the ban on the throwing of dwarves in 1995, the "flying dwarves" consented to this practice, in return for payment. It is in the name of respect for human dignity that the dwarf throwing has been banned and no one is considering reintroducing it in bars and nightclubs today.

Beyond consent, there is thus the dignity of each person, of each body, which society must protect.

Consent is specific to each individual, subjective, while dignity is objective, intrinsic, inherent in the human person because he is human.

Source: lefigaro

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