Why is sex trafficking so prevalent? Most people would admit it’s the demand. However, the controversy lies in how a person rationalizes their own demand for paid (possibly underage) sex. The men in my family used to talk about their “need” for sex. They spoke about it as if it was as critical as food and water. I would beg them not to do it. I would tell them that it hurt me, or that I just wanted to go to sleep. They would always answer the same way. They “had” to do it. They would state it as if they were forced to meet their own sexual needs at the expense of others. They would say it as if they were as justified as someone who stole bread to feed their starving children.

Is sex a “need”? Is it essential to our survival? I interpret this question a little differently than the men in my family. I think that love and connection are human needs. I think that joy and pleasure are human needs. I think that without them, we would surely die much earlier. But no, I don’t believe the physical act of sex is a need. If someone requires sex to function, if they require sex with another human being, but it doesn’t matter who, if they are willing to pay for it, they do not need sex. They are addicted to control. Sex is just their mechanism … or better said, their defense mechanism … against the pain they don’t wish to face.

We all have defense mechanisms. Some use food. Some use alcohol or drugs. Some, like me, just keep themselves so busy, they don’t have time to feel anything. Some use sex. Defense mechanisms are completely normal. They are not necessarily a bad thing. They may slow our growth as human beings, but they may also keep us from becoming overwhelmed with more pain than we can handle. Defense mechanisms become a problem when we employ them so frequently that we never feel anything. They become a problem when the fear of our pain overtakes our concern for others. They become a problem when we are willing to tear apart the hearts and souls of innocent people to avoid our own pain. This is the problem with sex trafficking.