February 26, 2008

ObscenityCrimes.org tipline reaches 70,000 citizen complaints (MIM Release)

NEWS RELEASE from MORALITY IN MEDIA, Inc.

NEW YORK (February 26, 2008) – In June 2002, Morality in Media (MIM) launched thewww.ObscenityCrimes.org website, where citizens can make complaints about possible violations of federal Internet obscenity laws. The site was created primarily for citizens who are unintentionally exposed to pornography on the Internet or whose children are exposed to pornography on the Internet. On Saturday, February 23, the ObscenityCrimes.org website recorded its 70,000th citizen complaint.

Robert Peters, President of MIM, had the following comments:

“The www.ObscenityCrimes.org site was intended to provide a link between citizens, whose homes and children are assaulted by Internet obscenity, and federal prosecutors, who enforce federal Internet obscenity laws.

“The site was patterned after www.cybertipline.com, which allows citizens to report possible violations of child pornography laws. MIM forwards complaints submitted to www.ObscenityCrimes.org to the Justice Department in Washington and to local U.S. Attorneys.

“In 2002, MIM also retained the services of two retired law enforcement agents to follow up on select complaints and to prepare investigative reports which provide information about various pornographic websites. MIM also forwards these reports to the Justice Department and local U.S. Attorneys.

“From one perspective, www.ObscenityCrimes.org has exceeded our expectations. Prior to launching the project, we wondered whether citizens would make complaints and whether the Department would welcome these complaints. We now have more than 70,000 complaints; and after its launch, the Justice Department expressed appreciation for the project on several occasions, including in testimony before a Senate Committee. In 2005 and 2006, Congress also earmarked funds for the project.

“From another perspective, however, www.ObscenityCrimes.org has not achieved its laudable purpose for the reason that the Justice Department and FBI have prosecuted very few Internet obscenity crimes. Rather, with the apparent blessing of President Bush and Congress, they have focused almost exclusively on curbing sexual exploitation of children and now trafficking in women and children.

“These too are important battles. But ‘adult’ obscenity (hardcore pornography that does not depict actual children) also causes great harm. Among other things, addiction to hardcore pornography contributes to sexual harassment and violence against women and to the breakup of marriages. Evidence also abounds that large numbers of children stumble into and seek out hardcore pornographic materials on the Internet. At this time, ‘adult’ obscenity laws are the main legal weapon that society has against websites that allow children to view hardcore pornography free of charge and without proof of age.

“Furthermore, the explosion of ‘adult’ obscenity on the Internet contributes to sexual exploitation of children. Many sexual predators use ‘adult’ obscenity to arouse themselves and to arouse, instruct and desensitize their victims. Many sexual predators also begin their downward spiral by looking at ‘adult” obscenity. In the article, ‘Confessions of a child porn addict’ (Buffalo News, 10/17/07), we read:

Clarence once enjoyed the adult pornography sites he viewed on the Web. But after a while, the thrill was gone. So he started clicking on some of the ads that popped up on his computer screen above the naked men and women he was watching. He was seeing something new – young teenagers and even young children, posing in the nude, having sex with each other, or being molested by adults. At first, Clarence was appalled. But once the shock wore off, he couldn’t get enough. Like thousands of other men throughout the United States, he was hooked…

“The explosion of ‘adult’ obscenity also contributes to sexual trafficking in women and children. Supply typically follows demand, and as the demand for ‘adult’ obscenity grows, so does the demand for women trafficked for the purpose of creating obscenity. Many men who become addicted to pornography also act out their fantasies with prostitutes of all ages, helping create the demand for prostitutes. In the article, “The men who sleep with prostitutes” (BBC News Magazine, 2/22/08), we read:

Having visited prostitutes for 18 months, Pete says he was attracted while surfing on the Internet. I’ve been leading up to it; using pornography and looking at various websites. Rather than it being a fantasy, it was someone you could have sex with.

“During the Reagan/Bush presidencies, the Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section had great success prosecuting both ‘adult’ obscenity and child pornography. By 1994, however, President Clinton’s choice for Attorney General, Janet Reno, brought enforcement of federal obscenity laws to a virtual standstill. Now, once again, pleas to take strong action against the explosion of ‘adult’ obscenity apparently fall on deaf ears at the White House, Justice Department, and FBI.

“The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the First Amendment does not protect obscenity, and opinion polls indicate that adult Americans support enforcement of federal obscenity laws. Hopefully, the next President will speak out forcefully against obscenity and nominate individuals to lead the Justice Department, FBI and U.S. Attorney offices who will enforce obscenity laws effectively.”

Author: MIM   02/26/2008

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