Kendall Johnson compares pornography consumption to compulsive shopping: as people desire more and more of something, their desires are harder to satisfy.
The Woodbury resident says an abundant supply and easily accessible supply of online porn can act as a "gateway drug" fueling relationship issues and dangerous habits.
Some of those habits, he said, could escalate to seeking paid sex through platforms like Backpage.com, a website that gained notoriety as a hub for sex trafficking advertisements.
"Pornography is that path it takes you from, 'Well, I'll just look at something not that bad," Johnson said. "It could feed into this demand where now you need the real thing and your relationship doesn't do it for me anymore."
The links Johnson sees between pornography use and sex trafficking will be among topic discussions at an early-November event he helped organize with Utah-based nonprofit Fight the New Drug.
According to the group's website, FTND advocates for "informed decisions" about pornography usage — and its effects on brain development, relationships and culture.
Johnson said his work on Citizens Against Sex Trafficking, a community-led group in Washington County, inspired him to take action. The group, which currently has six members, formed in response to a spike in human trafficking arrests throughout the county in recent years.
Kathy Woxland, victims services coordinator with the County Attorney's office, said she helped coordinate CAST after fielding an outpouring of inquiries about how Washington County residents can help combat sex trafficking.
If you go...
What: "Fight the New Drug" presentation and discussion
When: 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8
Where: Woodbury Lutheran Church Valley Creek Campus
This event is free and open to the public.