U.S. Reps to AG: “Declare the prosecution of obscene pornography a criminal justice priority”

On December 6, 2019, four U.S. Representatives—Jim Banks of Indiana, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, and Brian Babin of Texas—sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prioritize the prosecution of obscene pornography.

The reason such a measure was necessary requires a brief history lesson.

It was Attorney General Eric Holder who officially disbanded the Obscenity Protection Task Force in the Criminal Division under Barack Obama’s presidential administration, but prosecutions against distributors of obscene online pornography had already been drastically diminished over the course of the presidential administrations of both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

The astronomical explosion of obscene online pornography over the last two decades—and the myriad abuses and exploitation that are part and parcel—is strongly correlated with the Department of Justice’s refusal to enforce existing laws meant to protect the American people from illegal pornography.

When obscenity laws were enforced in years past, those responsible for the creation of pornography in many parts of the country responded by implementing forms of self-regulation and by pulling potentially illegal content off their shelves. In the absence of enforcement, however, the destructive and exploitive nature of pornography has shown even more of its disturbingly inhumane colors as countless lives have been destroyed by both its production and consumption.

Blurred image of a person sitting on a bed representing the federal charges against Girls Do Porn for trafficking
GirlsDoPorn’s Exploitation and Trafficking Are Not an Anomaly in the Porn Industry

In an age when society is struggling to deal with the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and adults alike—including but not limited to racially-motivated sexual violence, an epidemic of sexual assault on college and university campuses, thousands of young women and girls being trafficked for purposes of prostitution, DOJ employees who must be admonished to not engage in the purchase of sex from prostituted persons, child sexual abuse being 167 times more common than autism in children, and over 80% of childhood sexual abuse cases being perpetrated by parents—hardcore pornography only serves to exacerbate deeply entrenched social ills which have devastating impacts at both an individual and societal level.

It is long past time for the producers and distributors of this sexually toxic material to face justice. The current reality cannot be allowed to continue. People, adults and children alike, are being abused. Families are being torn apart. The bodies of human beings are being exploited ad nauseam.

The evidence makes it clear that our nation is suffering from a public health crisis which is fueled by the widespread distribution of hardcore pornography and the Department of Justice bears a great burden of responsibility for this crisis. We hope that this demand for action directed to Attorney General Barr sparks a return to justice for the DOJ as it relates to matters of sexual abuse exploitation and serves to grow momentum for the movement to end sexual exploitation in all its forms.

We believe that all girls, boys, women, and men have a natural human dignity and thus a right to live lives free from sexual exploitation.

The question now is this: do Attorney General Barr and the Department of Justice believe the same?

You can help encourage the Attorney General and the DOJ to do the right thing by enforcing obscenity law. Fill out the action below to send your own letter calling for justice.

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