Hotel chain ends porn channels over human trafficking link

Washington D.C., Sep 5, 2013 / 05:16 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Citing connections to human trafficking, a major Scandinavian hotel chain has announced that it is eliminating pornography channels from its hotel rooms.

“The porn industry contributes to trafficking, so I see it as a natural part of having a social responsibility to send out a clear signal that Nordic Hotels doesn't support or condone this,” said Petter Stordalen, the owner of Nordic Hotels.

A Norwegian billionaire and philanthropist, Stordalen announced that he is removing pay-per-view pornography channels from his chain’s 171 Scandinavian hotels and replaced them with contemporary art.

He said he decided to stop selling the material after he started to work with UNICEF’s campaign to help the child victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, who number over 1.2 million annually, the British newspaper The Guardian reports.

Stordalen said the move may seem “shocking and unusual,” but he compared it to the initially unpopular ban on smoking.

“We were the first hotel chain in the world to ban smoking and people thought we were crazy. Now it's totally normal for public spaces to be smoke-free,” he said.

The move was applauded by Princeton law professor Robert P. George and prominent American Islamic scholar Hamza Yusuf.

“The pornography industry is corrupt through and through—inherently so,” George and Yusuf said in a Sept. 4 essay for Public Discourse.

“It should come as no surprise that it is connected to something as exploitative, degrading, and dehumanizing as human trafficking. Bravo to Petter Stordalen for refusing to continue profiting from peddling the industry’s wares.”

The scholars wrote a letter to hotel executives in the United States last summer asking them to consider removing pornography from their establishments because it reduces women to “a sexual object” rather than a “precious member of the human family.”

Asking the executives to consider their own sisters, daughters and mothers, George and Yusuf charged the pornography is “degrading, dehumanizing, and corrupting,” teaching young people to “settle for the cheap satisfactions of lust” instead of achieving a love that is “liberating and fulfilling.”

Pornography policies in U.S. hotel chains vary. Omni Hotels and Resorts stopped selling pornography in 1998. Marriot has said it is “phasing out” pornography sales, while the Hilton chain has defended its continued sales.

Geroge and Yusuf are now calling on American hotels to follow Stordalen’s lead.

“If Nordic Hotels can demonstrate this kind of moral and social responsibility, then there is no reason that Hilton Hotels and the other large chains cannot,” they said.

“Let them stop trying to deceive the public – and perhaps even themselves – with rhetoric about respecting or even protecting their customers’ liberty. Pornography is a social plague with horrific real-life consequences for real live people – addicts, spouses, children, communities, girls and women trafficked into sexual servitude.”

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