May 2, 2001

To reduce the number of victims of pornography, enforce the federal and state obscenity laws


New York (5/2/01) – Morality in Media issued the following statement today at a Capitol Hill press conference to mark May as Victims of Pornography Month:

Millions of Americans, young and old, are slaves to pornography addiction; and “thanks” to the Internet, thenumbers are growing.  The harm done shows up in failed marriages, rape, sexual abuse of children, sexually transmitted diseases, unwed mothers and abortion.  Curbing traffic in illegal obscenity will reduce the number of such tragedies and the need for programs to deal with them at great cost to the nation’s public and private resources.

The American people support vigorous enforcement of obscenity laws.

In a 1997 poll conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide for Morality in Media, 80 percent of adults said that federal obscenity laws should be vigorously enforced.  Support for enforcement was strong among all demographic groups — age, gender, political party affiliation, race and religion.

The new Attorney General needs to direct Federal law enforcement — the FBI, U.S. Customs, Postal Inspectors, and especially the 93 U.S. Attorneys throughout the country — to make obscenity law enforcement a priority.  Federal law enforcement officials have powerful tools — including the RICO statute — that have lain rusting in recent years.

State officials also need to increase resources for obscenity law enforcement.  Forty states have workable statewide obscenity laws, and many state RICO laws include obscenity as a predicate crime.  Many statesalso allow city and county obscenity laws.

Some citizens and public officials believe that government’s role should be limited to protecting children frompornography.

Common sense should inform us, however, that you can’t flood a society with hardcore pornography — via the Internet, TV, telephone, mails, neighborhood stores and newsstands, vending machines, hotels and motels, and “adult” businesses — and then expect to shield children from it.

For one thing, whatever an adult brings into the home usually finds its way into the hands of children.  Even if children aren’t exposed to the porn itself, they will often be aware of the role model’s habit.

For another, as hardcore porn becomes more accessible to adults, there will be more opportunities for minors to access — for example, by using fake IDs or by finding it, stealing it or hacking into it.

Furthermore, pornography doesn’t just harm children.  It also harms adults, including many who are parents; and what affects parents (and their marriages) will also affect children.

One type of hardcore pornography that is popular among adults is called “teen porn.” Most (BUT NOT ALL) of the “girls” and “boys” who perform in “teen porn” are presumably 18 and over, but many look younger.  “Teen porn” isn’t directed towards teens. It’s directed towards adults who lust for “teens.”

For all these reasons and more, Morality in Media believes that those who truly care about the well being of children should be leading efforts to promote vigorous obscenity law enforcement.  Such enforcement will provide substantial protection not only for children but also for their families and the communities in which they live.  If we eliminate the porn, there will no longer be victims.

Author: Morality in Media   05/02/2001

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