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Rick Santorum one of the Republicans seeking the presidential candidate nomination in America posted a piece on how and why he opposes pornography with some claims that he suggests is backed up by research (of which none is cited):

America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography. A wealth of research is now available demonstrating that pornography causes profound brain changes in both children and adults, resulting in widespread negative consequences. Addiction to pornography is now common for adults and even for some children. The average age of first exposure to hard-core, Internet pornography is now 11. Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women. It is a contributing factor to prostitution and sex trafficking.

[..]

Is it true that research has shown that an increase in the availability of pornography leads to an increase in prostitution and sex trafficking?

  • The claim is not that it causes an increase. Just that it is a factor in it. If one former porn actress becomes a prostitute because she cant/wont find other work then it has contributed. If a single person is trafficked for use in porn then it has contributed to that. – Chad Mar 16 '12 at 19:48
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    The actual claim is: A wealth of research is now available demonstrating that pornography causes profound brain changes in both children and adults, resulting in widespread negative consequences. – Chad Mar 16 '12 at 19:49
  • @Chad Well no, that's not the only claim in that paragraph. We already have a question regarding pornography and the effect that has, so it seemed redundant to be to bring that up again. Since he's using this as an example against pornography, claiming there's scientific research supporting his position in the same paragraph, then yes he is claiming that pornography increases prostitution and sex trafficking. Yes he is claiming it leads to an increase, since he's saying it's a factor and is speaking out against it. He's just not saying it's the only reason for such things. – Kit Sunde Mar 16 '12 at 23:45
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    I take issue with a lot of the research that is in this field due to its bias. I saw a panel discussion and 2 of the researchers made fraudulent claims (the top 50 DVDs were misogynistic gonzo, false). They are agenda based researchers, so most of the work in the field is rubbish. – Tim Scanlon Mar 17 '12 at 5:23
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    @Chad The definition of contribute is: "Help to cause or bring about." I'm not sure how you can interpret his statement as him saying it has no effect or negative effect, the alternatives are strange in the context even if the definition of contribute was different. – Kit Sunde Mar 19 '12 at 12:40
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There is little direct evidence as to whether increased access to pornography increases prostitution or sex trafficking, but based on the evidence we have I think its more likely that porn decreases or has no effect on rape. I link to the most rigorous research I've heard of below, but there is also the following brute fact that is hard to explain away: Access to porn has radically increased since the late 1990s with the rise of the internet... during the same time period the number of rapes in the U.S. has fallen quite a lot.

Research suggesting access to porn decreases rape.

Research suggesting access to porn increases rape.

More research on pornography.

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    I'd up vote you if you used some summaries or quotes from the links so we could see their key conclusions without following the links. – matt_black Jul 15 '12 at 15:02
  • I upvoted you because even though it's not answering the question, you are saying something true and important. Who care if pornography increase prostitution. What matter is if it increase or decrease rape and even that is not important. Now we should start seeing those that oppose porn to prevent rape to change their stance and start making watching porn mandatory. I wouldn't settle for less. – user4951 Sep 12 '12 at 5:06

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