In light of the recent report by Responsible Robotics The Salvation Army has released the following statement on the possible impact of the availability of ‘sexbots’ on the demand for victims of sexual exploitation.
Kathryn Taylor, of The Salvation Army’s Anti Trafficking and Modern Slavery Unit, said: “The Salvation Army’s work with victims of sexual exploitation and modern slavery means we hear and see the impact on people first hand of the dreadful realities of sexual exploitation.
The Salvation Army is concerned that by offering another option for purchasing sex though ‘a sexbot’ (sex robot) it could fuel demand for sex with people and lead to traffickers exploiting more vulnerable individuals to meet this demand.
‘Sexbots’ won’t fulfil the need for human interaction and for rewarding, loving relationships. In the same way that pornography normalises certain behaviours, the availability of ‘sexbots’ could normalise a distorted power dynamic which devalues the other person involved when transferred to human interactions. This could encourage increased objectification of women and children and a lack of respect for their fellow human beings.
Through The Salvation Army’s delivery of specialist support to victims of modern slavery we witness on a daily basis how people are being bought and sold as commodities for sex. Right now in the UK individuals are being used and abused by traffickers when they should be free to make choices for themselves.
It has been argued that the availability of this technology could reduce demand for women, and even children, in prostitution. However, we believe that the more sex is viewed as a commodity – something this technology could certainly encourage - the more likely it is that people will look to purchase other people for sex.
As a Christian church and a charity, The Salvation Army wants to promote the humanity of every individual, including those people who might choose to be consumers of this technology. Its introduction brings the potential to devalue and dehumanise both the consumer and the consumed.
The Salvation Army therefore believes that this technology is more likely to have a detrimental effect on both existing and potential victims of modern slavery. We will continue to fight to bring an end to this dreadful exploitation whilst working to help those striving to regain their self-worth and faith in humanity having suffered at the hands of traffickers who trade in people.”