February 1, 2016

Open Letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the U.S. Department of Justice

Below is an abbreviation of a letter the National Center on Sexual Exploitation send to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the U.S. Department of Justice


Dear Madame Attorney General:

We are writing the U.S. Department of Justice yet again to express our continuing alarm and astonishment regarding its abject failure and outright refusal to enforce federal laws against adult obscenity.

To our knowledge, not one new obscenity case has been initiated against commercial distributors of hardcore, adult pornography in the last seven years. Yet, 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.

Soon the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) will publicly announce its DOJ_Obscenity_Law_Lynchannual “Dirty Dozen List,” which catalogs the top promoters of and contributors to sexual exploitation in America. The former Attorney General, Mr. Eric Holder, rightfully held the top spot on this 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.

We write to inform you that given your and the Department’s longstanding, intractable refusal to launch criminal prosecutions of hardcore, adult pornography the Department of Justice has again earned the disreputable distinction of placement on the 2016 Dirty Dozen List.

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. Accordingly, we request to meet with you and representatives of the Criminal Division within the next 45 days to discuss the matter of initiating enforcement of U.S. obscenity law.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation


Lisa Thompson

Lisa L. Thompson, Vice President of Research and Education, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Vice President and Director of the NCOSE Research Institute

As Vice President of Research and Education for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Lisa conducts policy analysis and advocacy, advances understanding of pornography’s public health harms, and liaises with public officials, advocates, and academics to advance strategies combating the web of sexual exploitation, including pornography, stripping, prostitution, sexual trafficking, sexual assault, and more.

Lisa joined NCOSE following two years with World Hope International where as Director of Anti-Trafficking, Lisa oversaw sex trafficking recovery programs in Cambodia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Lisa is a contributing author to Hands that Heal: International Curriculum for Caregivers of Trafficking Survivors, as well as the book Global Perspectives on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:  Europe Latin America, North America, and Global. Lisa also routinely speaks and trains on sexual exploitation topics for a diverse range of audiences. Lisa served for more than 12 years as the Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking for The Salvation Army USA National Headquarters.

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