March 1, 2016

The United Nations Must Consider This Torture: Reports to the UN by NCOSE

The United Nations must recognize that all individuals have an inherent right to be free from the sexual exploitation, objectification, and violence which are inherently found in prostitution and pornography.

The experiences of physical, mental, and verbal abuse commonly experienced in both pornography and prostitution are consistent with torture and should be addressed accordingly. This is why the National Center on Sexual Exploitation submitted two important reports to help inform the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Méndez, as he formulates a thematic report on gender perspectives on torture. These documents, The Gender-Based Torture Found in the Pornography Industry and On a Street Corner Near You: Pimps as Practitioners of Torture, addressed research and precedent in international codes that the UN ought to apply to a formal recognition of pornography and prostitution as forms of torture.

This would not be the first time that the United Nations addressed prostitution and pornography as forms of exploitation.

At the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, it was stated that, “Countries should take effective steps to address the neglect, as well as all types of exploitation and abuse, of children, adolescents and youth, such as abduction, rape and incest, pornography, trafficking, abandonment and prostitution.”(1) The United Nations must continue to build upon this history of recognizing the harms of these interrelated industries.

Due to the advent of the Internet, the problem of pornography has especially escalated to a pervasive and globe scale. An individual in Africa can watch the torture of an American woman, while someone in Germany can be downloading the digital evidence of sexual abuse that occurred in the Middle East.

One of the world’s largest pornographic websites recently released an annual review that revealed statistics on porn consumption by country. By percentage of traffic, the United States was the primary consumer of the videos, followed by the U.K., India, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, Italy, Brazil, and Mexico. The violent and sexualized torture that is inherently part of the nature of pornography must be recognized on an international level.

The treatment experienced by female pornography performers and prostituted persons is often identical to the treatment of women who are recognized as torture victims. It is therefore time for the United Nations to take a stand, and to fight for the dignity of all.

*Trigger warning for descriptions of scenarios and themes in pornography

(1) International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). (1994). 5.9. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://www.un.org/popin/icpd2.htm

Haley McNamara (Halverson)

Vice President & Director, International Centre on Sexual Exploitation

Haley McNamara (formerly Halverson) is the Director of the International Centre on Sexual Exploitation in the UK, and a Vice President at the U.S. based National Center on Sexual Exploitation. She leads international efforts and joint campaigns to improve policies and education among global governing bodies, citizenry, and corporations regarding the full web of sexual exploitation issues. Her advocacy work has contributed to policy improvements in social media, online advertising, retail, and hotel industries. She has advocated at the United Nations, led international coalition campaigns, presented to Danish, Croatian and Rwandan government officials, and more

She is a former member of the Washington DC Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. This Committee advises DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on the multi-faceted continuum of the District of Columbia’s child welfare services, including prevention, early intervention, treatment, and sources of permanency.

Haley regularly speaks and writes on topics including child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, prostitution, sexual objectification, the exploitation of males, and more. She has presented before officials at the United Nations, as well as at several national symposia before influencers from the Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Croatian government officials. She has provided training to Arlington County Child & Family Services on the social media grooming, recruitment, and advertising for sex trafficking. She has a Master of Arts in Government from Johns Hopkins University where she received honors for her thesis regarding the online commercial sexual exploitation marketplace.

Previously, Haley served for two years as Director of Communications for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation where she oversaw strategic messaging development, press outreach, email marketing, and social media marketing.

Prior to working at NCOSE, Haley wrote for a cultural media outlet. Haley graduated from Hillsdale College (summa cum laude) with a double major, and conducted a senior thesis on the abolitionist argument regarding prostitution. During her studies, she studied abroad at Oxford University and established a background in policy research through several internships in the DC area.

Haley has appeared on, or been quoted in, several outlets including the New York Times, NBC’s The Today Show, BBC News, New York Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Fox News, San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, Voice of America, Dr. Drew Midday Live, The DeMaio Report, the New York Daily News, the Washington Examiner, USA Radio Network, the Washington Times, CBC News, The Rod Arquette Show, The Detroit News, Lifezette, The Christian Post, Lifeline with Neil Boron, EWTN News Nightly, KCBS San Francisco Radio, LifeSiteNews, The Drew Mariano Show on Relevant Radio, News Talk KGVO, and American Family News.

She has written op-eds for the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, FoxNews.com, Washington Examiner, Townhall.com, Darling Magazine, the Daytona-Beach News Journal, and has been published in the Journal of Internet Law and the journal Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and ViolenceShe has also contributed to a digital middle school curriculum regarding the links between sex trafficking and pornography as well as the public health impacts of sex trafficking.

She currently lives with her husband outside Cambridge, UK.

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