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my poetry chapbook about adoption and low self-esteem

By Lara Harlow-Hentz

In a recent investigation of sex trafficking reverberations by Boston Public Radio, they mention that many prostitutes come out of foster care. Why? I believe (and they believe) it’s the young girls (and boys) who suffer from low self-esteem. It’s easy to prey upon and manipulate a person of low self-esteem. Pimps and perverts and pornographers look for and prey upon girls/boys who cannot stand up for themselves or physically defend themselves. I know it’s true. I lived it. I am an adoptee. I suffered with low self-esteem for years!

We know this world has enormously big issues to solve. Poverty and Third World conditions break us down. Low wages break us down. Bad childhoods and low self-esteem break us down.  Foster care and adoption can break us down emotionally as children and hurt us later as adults with stress disorders. Breaking us even further: lack of hope, lack of family, lack of education and lack of mental health counselling for children and young people who have this low self-esteem. As you grow, racism, sexism, “all of the isms” break us down further.

Low self-esteem connects directly to prostitution and porn.

“L.A. County officials say prostitution is a serious problem in the foster-care system. A majority of juveniles arrested on prostitution charges in the county come from foster care, and, in some cases, pimps use underage sex workers to recruit fellow group home residents, county officials said…”  (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/11/many-teen-prostitutes-come-from-foster-homes-group-homes.html)

The levels of sex trafficking are alarming and men are driving it. Sexual violence on television and in film, it’s teaching young men not to respect women. The acceptance of porn depravity and sexual perversion affects both sexes. The rate of violence against women is an epidemic in North America.

Yes, some woman do decide to sell their bodies to break out of the cycle of poverty. Some have nothing else to sell. They convince themselves it’s going to work. The risks are so great, so dangerous, so deadly, it can and does kill them.

But the truth is: Prostitution is illegal yet it’s rampant. When prostitution is de-criminalized and made legal, First World pimps exploit us (all the trafficked girls/boys/women) even more.  Arresting the prostitute or trafficked sex slave stops nothing. Arresting and imprisoning sex traffickers and sex buyers does halt trafficking. It’s being proven. Porn and trafficked prostitutes is about money, big money, in the billions of dollars.  The cost to society is enormous.

From personal experience, sexual abuse can destroy self-esteem. I was adopted, I was sexually abused and I suffered low self-esteem most of my life. For far too long, I didn’t have healthy relationships.  With my low self-esteem, I was living disassociated from reality. Disassociation means you shut down and live in survival mode. This really happened to me.  Yes, disassociation can be described as splitting, which is a personality disorder. You have to steel yourself to survive daily, as I did. No child should have to suffer this way.

It’s possible to heal low self-esteem in both sexes. It’s possible to end prostitution and human trafficking. Sign up for emails on this blog and I will teach you how.

Learn more:

Gail Dines, a professor of sociology at Wheelock College. Her latest book is Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality.

Norma Ramos, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

Visit: www.StopPornCulture.org – You aren’t alone. Stop Porn Culture! is a group for those willing to ask these questions – activists and academics, young people and parents, organizers and ordinary people. We are no longer willing to accept the ways the pornography industry has pushed its way into our lives, distorting our conceptions of sex and sexuality. We are ready to fight back.