January 7, 2013
Eric H. Holder
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Holder:
The U.S. Department of Justice provides the text of the federal law on child pornography. It includes a provision that makes it “illegal to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for purposes of producing visual depictions of that conduct.”
The term “sexually explicit” doesn’t specify that a child must be naked yet the application of the law clearly implies it. As a result, a form of child pornography is legal in the United States. So-called “non-nude” and “pre-teen” photos of underage children posted on for-profit websites (marketed as “modeling” sites) show minors ages 4-17 in sexually explicit poses wearing underwear and bathing suits.
On these sites, girls are required to spread their legs, push their rear end out while on their hands and knees while wearing thongs, look back between their legs with their rear end in the air, and pull down parts of their clothing in a provocative manner. Children are photographed sucking on bananas and hugging each other. These images are free. It is likely the paid subscription photos are even more graphic. None of these images would ever be found in a traditional child modeling portfolio or used by advertisers nor do any of these photos pass the most elementary test of morality. Their purpose is singular and devious — to feed the fantasies of pedophiles and potentially produce even more of them.
Parents should not be allowed to market their children in such a manner, photographers should not be permitted to take such photos, and the operators of these companies should not be permitted to profit from exploiting these children. Most importantly, these minors are unwilling participants as they are too young to provide consent in the sale of images of their body. Imagine how many of them will feel shame and suffer discrimination in the years ahead.
One of the primary responsibilities of a civil society is to protect the most defenseless among us whether it’s ducks and geese from having a pipe rammed down their throat to make foie gras or elementary school children from being forced to expose themselves for unscrupulous profiteers. Please consider revising the federal pornography law to include more specific language that will address non-nude, sexually suggestive photography and close the child pornography loophole. Thank you for your consideration.
Cc: Governor Rick Scott
Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Marco Rubio
Senator Maria Sachs
*Please consider contacting your state or federal legislators and ask them to pass a law making this form of child pornography illegal.
Andrew Kirschner, Ed.D., is a grassroots vegan animal rights activist. He writes a zero-profit blog, Kirschner’s Korner, and hosts a radio show, Kirschner’s Korner Radio, to help raise awareness about issues affecting the global community to make the world a more humane place. To receive new articles via email, enter your email in the “Follow Blog Via Email” link at the top right of the blog.