Federal law prohibits distribution of obscene adult pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops, through the mail, and by common carrier. The U.S. Supreme Court has also repeatedly upheld obscenity laws against First Amendment challenges, explaining that obscenity is not protected speech. Even so, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) refuses to enforce existing federal obscenity laws. From the time Obama took office in 2008, no enforcement actions against illegal obscenity have been initiated by DOJ, and in 2011 former Attorney General Eric Holder dismantled the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force.
PRESS CONFERENCE: The Department of Justice Makes List of Top Facilitators of Sexual Exploitation
Held on February 1, 2016 at 11:00 am eastern
Join us in expressing continued alarm and astonishment regarding the U.S. Department of Justice’s abject failure and outright refusal to enforce federal laws against adult obscenity.
The former Attorney General, Mr. Eric Holder, rightfully held the top spot on the Dirty Dozen List in 2013 and 2014, because more than any other person, he made the explosion of illegal adult pornography possible through his failure to ensure enforcement in this area of U.S. law. (In fact, it was during his tenure that the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force was shut down.) In 2015, given Mr. Holder’s forthcoming departure from his position as Attorney General, the Department of Justice’s name was added to the 2015 Dirty Dozen List. Accordingly, the U.S. Department of Justice now shares a shameful spotlight with the ilk of Backpage.com, one of biggest facilitators of sexual exploitation in the nation.
Pornography’s emphasis on teen and young girls is inescapable. Clearly much of pornography attempts to accentuate first time sexual experiences of females, the “barely legal” age of the performers, the petiteness of their bodies, and significant age differentials between sexual partners, thus catering to the sexual fantasies of consumers (i.e. sex buyers) that involve sex with the underaged.
A tsunami of pornography has swept across this nation. Companies like BangBros, Kink.com, Naughty America, Reality Kings, Wicked Pictures, Vivid Entertainment, and dozens more, are freely and openly producing hardcore, adult pornography. Countless Internet websites make this material accessible to homes, schools, libraries, businesses, and government offices across the country.
In an age when our society is struggling to deal with serious child and adult sexual exploitation, racially-motivated sexual violence, an epidemic of sexual assault on college and university campuses, thousands of young women and girls are being trafficked for purposes of prostitution, Department of Justice employees must be admonished to not engage in purchase of sex from prostituting persons, child sexual abuse is 167 times more common than autism in children, and 81.2% of childhood sexual abuse cases are perpetrated by parents, adult, hardcore pornography only serves to exacerbate deeply entrenched social ills that have devastating impacts at the individual and societal level. It is long past time for the producers and distributors of this sexually toxic material to face justice.
A wealth of peer-reviewed research demonstrates the many harms of pornography. For instance, a growing body of neuroscience reveals that adults are developing addictions to pornography, as pornography hijacks the brain’s reward center in a way similar to drug addiction. Moreover, an alarming, nationally representative online survey of 3,000 people reveals that nearly half of young people (ages 13-24) actively seek out pornography weekly or more often. This is especially troubling given that research into how the human brain develops shows that adolescents are not as readily able to access their frontal lobes—the portion of the brain that controls impulses and allows for rapid, smart decision making. Furthermore, adolescents are more susceptible to forming addictions than adults because the dopamine neurons in their nucleus accumbens (i.e. the brain’s pleasure center) are much more active and have an exaggerated plasticity in response to addictive stimulus. Thus, it can be said that a propensity for addiction is more strongly “hardwired” into the adolescent brain.
Additionally, sexual violence against women, including sexual harassment and rape, are correlated to the consumption of pornography. A recent meta-analysis of 22 studies from seven countries provides clear evidence confirming that pornography exposure is associated with sexual aggression in the United States and internationally, among both males and females; associations are stronger for verbal than physical sexual aggression, but both are significant. As the authors state, “the accumulated data leave little doubt that, on the average, individuals who consume pornography more frequently are more likely to hold attitudes conducive to sexual aggression and engage in actual acts of sexual aggression than individuals who do not consume pornography or who consume pornography less frequently.”
A separate meta-analysis of 46 studies demonstrated that pornography contributes to the development of sexually dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors including:
- developing sexual deviant tendencies,
- committing sexual offenses,
- experiencing difficulties in intimate relationships, and
- accepting rape myths.
Further, older adolescents who use pornography are more likely to be attracted to 13 or 14 year olds, and the earlier college men were exposed to pornography the more likely they are to have engaged in nonconsensual sex. Fraternity men who consume mainstream pornography express a greater intent to commit rape; those who consume sadomasochistic pornography express significantly less willingness to intervene in situations of sexual violence, greater beliefs in rape myths, and greater intent to commit rape; and, among those who consume rape-themed pornography, the researchers described “serious effects” including less bystander willingness to intervene, greater belief in rape myth, and greater intent to commit rape. In other words, there was no type of pornography that did not result in a greater intent to commit rape.
We also have testimonials from former pornography performers who report being exploited, given illicit drugs, coerced to perform objectionable acts, and raped, thus constituting sex trafficking under the U.S. Trafficking Victims Projection Act.
All girls, boys, women, and men have a natural human dignity and thus a right to live lives free from sexual exploitation. All pornography is degrading, dehumanizing, exploitive, and a violation of this right. All pornography is a serial attack on human dignity, identity and worth. NCOSE exists to make society aware of pornography’s many harms, to equip individuals and families to overcome and protect against those harms, and to advocate that all laws defending the right to be free from pornography are vigorously enforced.
Our nation is now suffering from an emerging public health crisis fueled by the widespread distribution of adult, hardcore pornography, and the Department of Justice bears a great burden of responsibility for this crisis.
 We note that this has been a problem for federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Missile Defense Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, etc. See: http://dailycaller.com/2015/04/30/epa-employees-watched-porn-harassed-women-and-got-promoted/ and http://fellowshipoftheminds.com/2012/08/22/federal-employees-watch-child-porn-on-govt-computers/ (accessed January 14, 2016).
 Bryce Covert, “Women in Baltimore Public Housing Were Forced to Trade Sex for Basic Repairs.” Think Progress (Jan 9, 2016), http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2016/01/09/3737612/baltimore-housing-sex-settlement/ (accessed January 9, 2016); U.S. Department of Justice. “The National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction: A Report to Congress, (August 2010), http://www.justice.gov/psc/docs/natstrategyreport.pdf (accessed January 14, 2016).
 Victoria Olive, “Sexual Assault against Women of Color.” Journal of Student Research 1 (2012): 1-19; Gabby Bess, “Notre Dame Tutor Accused of Forcing Student into ‘Racially Motivated’ Sex.” Broadly, (November 2, 2015), https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/notre-dame-tutor-accused-of-forcing-student-into-racially-motivated-sex (accessed January 14, 2016); Donna M. Hughes, “’Welcome to Rape Camp’ Sexual Exploitation and the Internet in Cambodia.” Journal of Sexual Aggression 6, no. 1/2 (2000):1-23, http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/rapecamp.htm (accessed January 14, 2016).
 The White House Council on Women and Girls. Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action, (2014), https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sexual_assault_report_1-21-14.pdf (accessed January 9, 2016).
 Polaris. 2014 Statistics, https://polarisproject.org/sites/default/files/2014Statistics.pdf (accessed January 9, 2016).
 Adam Lerner, “Holder’s Friday Memo to DOJ Staff: Don’t Hire Prostitutes.” Politico, April 10, 2015, http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/eric-holder-prostitution-memo-116865 (accessed January 14, 2016).
 National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation. The Health Impact on Children & Youth. http://www.preventtogether.org/Resources/Documents/Health_Impact_on_Youth.pdf (accessed January 9, 2016).
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families. Children’s Bureau. Child Maltreatment, 2010. Data Source for CM 2010 Table 5-5 Perpetrators by Relationship to Victims 2010. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/child-maltreatment-2010-data-tables (accessed January 9, 2016).
 Simone Kühn and Jürgen Gallinat, “Brain Structure and Functional Connectivity Associated with Pornography Consumption: The Brain on Porn,” JAMA Psychiatry 71, no. 7 (2014): 827-834. Ji-Woo Seok and Jin-Hun Sohn, “Neural Substrates of Sexual Desire in Individuals with Problematic Hypersexual Behavior,” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, (November 30, 2015). ). Porn Study Critiques, “Current List of Brain Studies on Porn Users, (September 29, 2015) http://pornstudycritiques.com/current-list-of-brain-studies-on-porn-users/ (accessed January 28, 2016).
 Barna Group, “The Porn Phenomenon: A Comprehensive New Survey on Americans, the Church, and Pornography,” (2016).
 Frances E. Jensen with Amy Ellis Nutt, The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guild to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults, (New York: Harper Collins, 2015).
 Paul J. Wright, Robert S. Tokunaga, and Ashley Kraus. “A Meta-Analysis of Pornography Consumption and Actual Acts of Sexual Aggression in General Population Studies.” Journal of Communications, (December 29, 2015): 1-23.
 Elizabeth Paolucci-Oddone, Mark Genuis, and Claudio Violato, “A Meta-Analysis of the Published Research on the Effects of Pornography. In C. Violato, E. Paolucci-Oddone, & M. Genius (Eds). The Changing Family and Child Development (Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing), 2000: 48-59.
 Kristinn Henga, Svein Mossige, and Lars Wichstrom, “Older Adolescents’ Positive Attitudes toward Younger Adolescents as Sexual Partners,” Adolescence 39, no. 156, (2004): 627-651.
 Mary Anne Layden, unpublished data, 2015.
 John Foubert, Matt Brosi, and R. Bannon, “Pornography Viewing among Fraternity Men: Effects on Bystander Intervention, Rape Myth Acceptance & Behavioral Intent to Commit Sexual Assault, Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 18, no. 4 (2011): 212-231.
Congress has oversight of the DOJ. They can help us move them to action.
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Call your members of Congress and ask them to help pressure the Department of Justice to enforce existing federal laws.
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We want @TheJusticeDept & @LorettaLynch to enforce existing federal #obscenity laws! Stop giving pornographers a green light to break law. #EndExploitation http://dirtydozenlist.com
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Watch Our Latest Video Here: Dani Pinter from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s Law Center explains obscenity law and it’s implications for Internet pornography today. All speech is presumptively protected under the First Amendment. However, “obscene pornography” is not. There are large categories of speech that are unprotected, for example child pornography, blackmail, or […]
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