Adult Pornography Leads to Child Exploitation
Special Report - September 29, 2009
A new report from Morality in Media (MIM) lays out six ways in which adult pornography leads to the exploitation of children. The report “How Adult Pornography Contributes to Sexual Exploitation of Children” was compiled by Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media, and released this month.
The MIM report draws heavily on various government and educational resources including court cases, law enforcement reports, surveys, and studies to accurately assess the current state of the pornography industry in the United States and its impact on individuals, families, children, and society. While Peters commends “Federal and state law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, Internet service providers, credit card companies, banks, and nonprofits [for] finally working together to curb sexual exploitation of children on the Internet,” he laments the fact that many of those who work to eradicate the evil of child sexual exploitation turn a blind eye to the adult pornography problem, which he argues is “a tragic mistake.”
Peters outlines the following six ways in which the perpetuation of the adult pornography industry leads to the sexual exploitation of children:
- Perpetrators use adult pornography to groom their victims.
- For many perpetrators there is a progression from viewing adult pornography to viewing child pornography.
- Johns act out what they view in adult pornography with child prostitutes and pimps use adult pornography to instruct child prostitutes.
- Children act out what they view in adult pornography with other children.
- Perpetrators use adult pornography to sexually arouse themselves.
- Addiction to adult pornography destroys marriages and children raised in one-parent households are more likely to be sexually exploited.
The report also addresses the argument that pornography is protected under the First Amendment. The report cites two U.S. Supreme Court cases from 1973. In Miller v. California the Court found that “This much has been categorically settled by the Court, that obscene material is unprotected by the First Amendment.” The Court also found several “legitimate state interests at stake in stemming the tide of commercialized obscenity” in Paris Adult Theater I v. Slaton. These include:
- Protecting children from exposure to pornography
- Protecting the quality of life and total community environment
- Protecting public safety
- Maintaining a decent society
- Protecting the social interest in order and morality
- Protecting family life
Additionally, in 1996, Congress amended the federal criminal obscenity law so as to clarify that the distribution of obscene materials via the Internet is prohibited. While legislation and case law outlying pornography does focus on “hardcore” pornography, Peters contends that the vast majority of what is produced today constitutes “hardcore.”
The report calls for more vigorous enforcement of anti-obscenity laws against the porn industry, while recognizing that “Parental involvement, public education, the involvement of religious groups, and corporate responsibility are all desperately needed.”
“Common sense should inform us that when children feed their minds on hardcore pornographic materials that depict, among other things, bestiality, bondage, domination, excretory activities (urine and feces), ‘gangbangs,’ group sex, incest, marital infidelity, prostitution, rape, rough sex (strangulation and slapping), ‘school girls,’ sexual murders, she-males, teen sex, and torture, their sexual appetites can become warped to the extreme,” writes Peters. “Children in particular need to learn from parents and schools about how adult pornography sends the wrong messages about human sexuality and about how addiction to adult pornography can adversely affect them, not only while they are still children but also when they become adults.”
To read more about the harms of pornography, download the North Carolina Family Policy Council’s policy paper, “Sexual Degradation: How Pornography Destroys the Family.”
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.