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In America child pornography is a legal term used in the criminal justice system. There is a growing movement objecting to the term and a corresponding debate about what this crime should be called. Some argue child sex abuse is not adequate because sex describes legal, consenting adult behavior rather than the illegal rape of children. Child exploitation, others say, is a weak phrase that does not capture the reality of the crime. These arguments are accurate. What is being done to our children is not child pornography, exploitation or sex. It is rape and torture often meeting the Convention Against Torture (CAT) definition.
Pedophiles frequently discuss being aroused by committing and watching others commit violence against children. They say they want the child to suffer. They want to "see blood." Children are often bound, gagged and violently assaulted. Pedophiles like Benjamin Levin, a former University of Toronto professor and Deputy Minister of Education in Canada, say things like they want to "f— all three (of her children) in front of you with your help ... would they submit or would I need to tie them?" Pedophiles ask for images of babies being raped saying, "the bloodier the better."
Pedophiles also discuss, and are involved in, killing children with what seems to be alarming frequency. In 2000, for example, the Guardian reported son a British child-snuff network which included a video series titled Necros Pedo where children were raped and tortured until they died. Many of the children had been taken from Russian orphanages. In June 2017, Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commander Lesa Gale warned about child snuff films seen by the AFP in their investigations. More than a few of those arrested in America, including people holding government positions, have discussed killing children. People like the former Acting Director of Cyber Security at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Timothy DeFoggi, who "expressed an interest in the violent rape and murder of children" and planned these crimes with other pedophiles.
Additionally, murdering and/or attempting to murder the child witness is not uncommon. As Rita Karakas, of Save the Children Canada, explains "sexual abusers kill children to eliminate witnesses." Such as Michael Gardner, Democratic Party Chair in Falls Church, Virginia. Gardner attempted, from jail, to have the children he abused killed so he might avoid prosecution. He had used his own children as bait, as pedophiles often do, to sexually assault their friends during a "slumber party for his daughter's 10th birthday." If pedophiles are killing children for pleasure, as documented by investigators and media reports of arrests, then murdering a child to avoid prosecution is not surprising pedophile behavior.
The "trade in child rape and torture" is the phrase I am most comfortable with because that is what is occurring. Although I agree with Interpol's position "terms such as 'kiddy porn' and 'child porn' are used by criminals and should not be legitimate language used by law enforcement, judiciary, the public or media," I do use "child pornography" throughout this book because it is still a current legal description in the United States. Of course, this term needs to change. The crime should be legally called what it is and prosecuted as such. Prosecutors should use the Convention Against Torture. Organizations devoted to ending torture, such as Amnesty International, should focus on aiding American children depicted in these crime scenes.
There is also a debate about the word "pedophilia." Some believe the term should be "pedosadism" because what is being done to children is not "child love," as pedophilia implies, but sadistic, violent abuse; sadism. While I agree with this logic, I use the term pedophile because it is commonly understood in America. I do not use any of the terms that seek to differentiate pedophiles, like hebephilia, because I find the views of some mental health professionals who use these various terms to be incorrect and, perhaps, based on false premises.
This crime is not about sexual attraction. The "sexual attraction to pubescent youngsters" is not normal – as some mental health professionals argue. It is important to note, when considering the mental health research, that more than a few in the mental health sector have been arrested for trading in child rape. So many, indeed, it is a subject for an entirely separate book. Mental health experts making the argument that pedophilia is normal may be creating a legal cover to justify their own crimes. In naming the crime, it is important to consider three key flaws with the mental health argument about "attraction."
First, from my own extensive reading of hundreds of child pornography arrests, what pedophiles most often discuss is a desire to harm children – not an attraction to children. They trade files labeled "torture12.jpg." They write "slut hurt me" across the bodies of small children before raping them. They want to see the children bound and gagged, hurt, bleed and sometimes murdered. If there is any "attraction" within this crime in America, judging by the arrest records, it is white men in leadership positions "attracted" to their own power to harm society's most vulnerable; our children.
Second, it is documented that most offenders "do not automatically have a sexual preference for children." Pedophiles rape and abuse children because it is easy to do. The more vulnerable the child the better. They do this because they care about obtaining gratification for themselves, regardless of the damage it does to anyone else. In fact, the pain they inflict on others is often what gives them gratification. Children are easier to control and abuse than adults, with a far greater chance of impunity for the crime. That is why pedophiles target children. They are an easy and safe mark. It is a strategic choice, not a sexual preference.
Third, the extensive involvement of organized crime in the trade of child rape is well established. Organized crime's sexual exploitation of children "is motivated by the vulnerability of the child rather than a specific sexual interest in children." People who obtain pleasure watching, possessing, trading and producing the rape and torture of children are criminals. Pedophiles are situational offenders who rape children and trade in child rape because they can, "simply because it is available." Because we, as a society, have allowed child pornography to be easily and profitably accessible.
Because we have failed to protect our children.
It is beyond the scope of this book to provide a detailed description of the history of child pornography and legal statutes prohibiting the offense. It is also outside my remit to include a complete analysis of all the literature. Instead, I provide a brief overview of key literature for those interested in reading more extensively about this crime. The body of academic research on child pornography is not extensive, largely out-of-date and broadly divided into three categories: (1) legal analysis of prosecution and sentencing guidelines, (2) investigative techniques and (3) mental health/therapy for perpetrators, with a notably limited focus on victims. The best journalistic work has been done by Julian Sher in his book Caught in the Web: Inside the Police Hunt to Rescue Children from Online Predators. Research by government agencies appears to be the most detailed and current. The International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) provides information on child pornography laws in 196 countries.
In America until 1977, when The Protection of Children Against Sexual Exploitation Act was passed, there was no federal law against child pornography. Child pornography was legal in Europe in the 1970s with Denmark and the Netherlands producing magazines exported to America. Publications were also domestically produced and, apparently, freely available. Says Philip Jenkins, author of Beyond Tolerance: Child Pornography on the Internet, "it was easy to walk into a store in New York, Los Angeles, or London and purchase what was frankly advertised as child porn." Pedophiles also openly organized groups such as North American Man-Boy Love (NAMBLA) and the Pedophile Information Exchange (PIE). In 1996, the Child Pornography Prevention Act was passed in America, criminalizing sexual images of individuals under eighteen.
While there is now a federal child pornography statue, at the state level definition and sentencing vary widely. Usually but not always when federal prosecutors take over a case, the state will drop charges. The state can and sometimes does pursue charges concurrently with the federal government. What a pedophile is sentenced to is extremely inconsistent at both the state and federal level, despite the federal statue. Sentencing depends on the judge in the district and the person being prosecuted. A police chief, like Robert Geist, Pennsylvania's number one possessor and distributor of child pornography trading in files like "6Yo babyj – Bedtime rape," may not spend a day in jail, while people who do not enjoy government positions or personal wealth, like Patricia and Matthew Ayers, can be sentenced to 1,590 years and 750 years, respectively, in prison.
It is important to note that the investigation and prosecution of child pornography in America occurs within the context of a broken, sexist and racist judicial system. If you are unaware of how corrupt our courts are, please read Matt Taibbi's The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap and Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryon Stevenson. The judicial system in America is widely documented, by a vast body of literature, to protect the rich, white and male. Women, people of color, and the poor are destroyed by America's judicial system. Why? In my opinion, far too many white, racist, sexist men dominate our criminal justice system and more than a few have been caught engaged in trading in child rape and torture themselves. This is further discussed in Chapter Six on the legal profession.
International government and law enforcement agencies are producing important reports. In June 2017, the national police in the Netherlands issued their Annual Trend Report, describing, for the first time, child pornography as a "threat to Dutch society." Europol, the European police agency, is releasing perhaps the most detailed reports. Europol's Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online 2015, and Strategic Assessment of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online 2013, are excellent sources of knowledge on the crime. Australia's 2016, Online Child Exploitation Material – Trends and Emerging Issues Research Report of the Australian National University Cyber-crime Observatory with the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner, is also a must-read. The National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings in the Netherlands also issued a comprehensive report in 2011, Child Pornography: First Report of the Dutch National Rapporteur. In April 2017, the European Parliament released Combating Sexual Abuse of Children Directive.
In America, the most recent U.S. Sentencing Commission report is from 2012, Report to the Congress: Federal Child Pornography Offenses. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) published The National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction in 2016, updating the first National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, from 2010. DOJ's Child Exploitation and Obscenities Section (CEOS) has some material available in their resource section, the most recent from 2010, and the latest Congressional Testimony, with one exception, from 2006. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) most recent report is "Federal Prosecution of Child Sex Exploitation Offenders, 2006." BJS is currently completing a report on commercial exploitation of children, including child pornography, expected to be released in 2017.
This crime is expanding so fast that material more than a few years old is already out of date. It is not clear why the U.S. government lags behind in reporting on this crime compared with Europe and Australia. Current and detailed U.S. government data and reporting on this crime is urgently needed. If you agree, contact the U.S. Sentencing Commission and ask for an updated report on child pornography.
Regarding the academic literature, legal and investigative research has been done by Europeans like Ethel Quayle at the University of Edinburgh who published, with Max Taylor in 2003, Child Pornography: An Internet Crime. Quayle also co-published, in 2012, with Kurt Ribisl, Understanding and Preventing Online Sexual Exploitation of Children. Alisdair Gillespie at Lancaster University in the UK published, in 2012, Child Pornography: Law and Policy. Yaman Akdeniz published Internet Child Pornography and the Law, in 2008, covering legal approaches in America, Canada, Europe and the United Nations.
Anti-Slavery Australia, based at the University of Technology in Sydney, and the law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright, released, May 2017, "Behind the Screen: Online Child Exploitation in Australia," providing an overview of the "legal landscape of online child exploitation crimes" in Australia. In America, Chad Steel, author of Digital Child Pornography: A Practical Guide for Investigators, published an excellent overview of child pornography law in America. In 2016, Carissa Byrne Hessick, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, published Refining Child Pornography Law: Crime, Language, and Social Consequences. In Canada, Francis Fortin and Patrice Corriveau, published Who Is Bob_34?: Investigating Child Cyberpornography in 2016.
The other area of academic research on child pornography, as mentioned, is by the mental health profession, such as Illegal Images: Critical Issues and Strategies for Addressing Child Pornography Use by Elizabeth Griffin, a marriage and family therapist, and David Delmonico, an education professor at Duquesne University. Or, Treating Sex Offenders: An Evidence-Based Manual by Jill D. Stinson and Judith V. Becker. In Canada, Michael Seto, a psychologist, has published Internet Sex Offenders, in 2013, and Pedophilia and Sexual Offending Against Children: Theory, Assessment, and Intervention in 2007.
Some of the mental health research employs a disturbing tone of empathy for pedophiles. Given that pedophiles exhibit sadistic pleasure in harming children and rarely demonstrate even the pretense of remorse for the crimes they commit, a mental health focus on empathy for pedophiles, and not the child victims, is misplaced. There is also a suggestion in some of the literature that pedophiles should be "cured" by therapy rather than sentenced to jail. Of course, it would benefit the mental health profession, enormously, if judges started issuing court-ordered therapy across the country instead of jail time. Many therapists would earn a lucrative living. Some in the mental health sector also argue pedophilia is a sexual orientation, not a crime. This junk science is being distributed by mainstream media like Gawker "Born This Way: Sympathy and Science for Those Who Want to Have Sex with Children," The Atlantic "What Can Be Done About Pedophilia?" and Salon "Meet Pedophiles Who Mean Well."
Child pornography, the trade in child rape, is not a "mental health" condition to be "treated with therapy." It is not a sexual orientation among consenting adults. It is a horrific crime perpetrated, most often, by organized crime and men in positions of power against the most vulnerable in our societies – our children. The only acceptable legal and societal response to this crime is prison for the perpetrators followed by life-time supervised release and lifetime sex offender registration. Mandatory chemical castration should also be considered. Yes, pedophiles should receive therapy – in jail. If mental health professionals had to visit pedophiles in prison to provide court-ordered therapy, I suspect the call for therapy as a policy solution to this crime would decrease substantially.
Closing the Data Gap
There is a near total gap in the literature, both in governmental reports and academic research, in documenting and detailing the scale of the epidemic. Most of the research on child pornography begins with a disclaimer explaining that there is little research being conducted and, as a result, there is no definitive data on how many children are being destroyed, how many and who engages in the crime, what the arrest rates are, how much illegal money is generated, how profits are being laundered, how and where supply-lines to children are established, how many and which government employees have been arrested, etc.
Excerpted from "Epidemic"
Copyright © 2013 Lori Handrahan, PhD.
Excerpted by permission of Trine Day LLC.
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Table of Contents
The Trade is Global,
Infants and Toddlers,
Race and Child Pornography,
The National Security Problem,
The Legal Profession,
The Way Forward,
Text Boxes, Tables, Pictures & Graphs,