07Aug, 2015

This weekend, an adult entertainment expo, Exxxotica, is coming to the Dallas area. It’s caused quite a debate in the city, with your typical critics, such as pastors, speaking out against it. That’s to be expected. But here’s what I found interesting: It’s not just pastors or the “religious” types who have a problem with it. Last week, a women’s rights group sent a letter to the Dallas mayor, and begged the city to understand that there are deeper issues at play than just porn.

“There is a huge correlation between pornography, sex trade, violence against women, and trafficking,” Roslyn Dawson Thompson, the head of the Dallas Women’s Foundation, says. “How can you not reconcile that, and realize that this is not a good thing for our city to be doing?”

And that group isn’t some stuffy, Bible Belt coffee clutch. Their annual fall luncheon will feature actress Eva Langoria, who led efforts to have Barack Obama elected.

Thompson isn’t the only one that thinks porn can lead to a lot of other issues. “Pornography documents and facilitates trafficking,” writes Melissa Farley.

And just consider another group that’s concerned about the weekend’s events — a group that has a unique perspective: former prostitutes.

When you get down to it, they say the expos are fronts for and gateways to prostitution and human trafficking.

“It opens doors for women to be degraded,” one tells Dallas TV station WFAA.

“I lost myself in this world of sex, to be used as a sex toy as an object,” says another.

Listen to them in their own words:

Annie Lobert knows exactly what these women are talking about. She was an escort for high rollers, working for a pimp and fulfilling the fantasies of men who couldn’t get enough but were willing to pay a lot of money to try. She charged $10,000 for a full night. It started as a way to buy nice things but quickly turned into beatings and addiction. It even involved turning tricks as she battled cancer.

Watch her tell her story of what she thought was going to be a glamorous lifestyle that left her empty, and the one night that led her to finally find something more:

You can read Lobert’s blog post from earlier this year, too, or read her book, Fallen.