An Inside Look at the Adult Entertainment Industry’s Fight to Stamp Out Child Pornography

Many anti-porn activists like to try to connect adult entertainment with child pornography as a means to build support for their desire to roll back the First Amendment. Let’s face it, screaming “protect the children,” is a good way to get a lot of people to set aside logic and get them on your side.

However, those who have any regular contact with the adult entertainment industry already know that the industry has zero involvement with productions involving children. In fact, the adult entertainment industry is the child pornographer’s worst enemy. Robert D. Richards and Clay Calvert recently published an article that shines some light on the facts. See Untangling Child Pornography From The Adult Entertainment Industry: An Inside Look at the Industry’s Efforts to Protect Minors,” 44 Cal. W. L. Rev. 511 (2008)

Calvert and Richards highlight the efforts of the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP, http://www.asacp.org/page.php). Anti porn zealots would probably be surprised to learn that ASACP, founded in 1996, is a non-profit organization fully funded by the adult entertainment industry to fight internet child pornography and to help parents prevent children from viewing age-inappropriate material online. ASACP investigates thousands of reports per month to determine the hosting, billing, IP address, ownership, and linkage of suspected child pornography sites and then forwards the information to law enforcement, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), and hotlines in other countries.

The article includes interviews with attorneys and activists in order to shed light, on how ASACP works to fight internet child porn. The interviews highlight the difficulty the adult industry faces both in stopping politicians from linking mainstream adult entertainment to child pornography and in changing public perception about this conflation.

“In a highly ironic twist, while adult entertainment industry-funded ASACP is aiding law enforcement to stamp out child pornography, the FBI is simultaneously conducting age-verification and record-keeping inspections, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2257, of adult movie companies to ensure they are not using underage performers, which would be tantamount to creating child pornography.”

Calvert and Richards dispel some popular misconceptions about the adult entertainment industry, such as the fanciful problem of underage performers in the mainstream adult movie business.

ASACP director Joan Irvine states, “I do not see one [a problem with underage performers] and, in fact, there really hasn’t been one. The adult industry is by adults and for adults. We don’t see it, people aren’t doing it and it is not worth it.” On politicians who have tried to link the adult porn industry with child pornography, “[t]hey didn’t get the distinction between them. I also really do believe that the current administration is generally anti-adult entertainment. There are almost no data that could ever even show that the adult industry was involved with underage children in movies and, thus, child pornography. With our hotline, for the first time, we actually have empirical data that show no involvement. Before, the industry didn’t have that data, so the government could say, “Go show us the data.” Irvine goes on to recall how, “[a]t one of the last meetings that I went to, Dan Larkin, an FBI forensic specialist, said “We know the industry is not involved in this and that it is organized crime that is involved in child pornography, mainly out of the Eastern European bloc countries.”

The article discusses how adult entertainment insider, Alec Helmy, started ASACP. Helmy “wanted to have a place where Webmasters could report it and not feel that they were going to be investigated for reporting it, because we don’t keep IP addresses.” The article sums up the ASACP’s ongoing fight against child pornography and those who make and distribute it, quoting Irvine again, “[c]hild pornography doesn’t exist in the industry, but the perception exists. Child porn is a big one, but we’ve gotten it to a point where we have a handle on it and we’re working with the right people. They know and recognize us for being able to handle it.”

In an “academic” environment too-often polluted by anti-freedom crybabies, it is refreshing to see work like this — work that actually examines the facts about the link between adult porn and child porn. Once the “link” is effectively examined, the authors come to the unshakable conclusion that not only is there no connection, but that the adult entertainment industry is a child pornographer’s greatest enemy and worst nightmare.

-Zac Papantoniou (guest blogger)

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