Foreign Policy Blogs

Virtual Child Porn

When it comes to issues of children's rights there is no debate as to the fact that children should not be abused either physically or sexually. Therefore when the debates do arise, they are mostly on the fact that we seem to be doing little as an international community to stop the continuous and often blatant human rights violations against children. Other debates rage on in regards to funding, legislation, and other related issues which seem to sit more at a political level than a human level.

The issue of child porn is a sensitive one, for its victims are never allowed to escape their abusers, as their abuse continues indefinitely, once circulated. While the persecution of pedophiles and the efforts of law enforcement have increased, so has the difficulty to catch these offenders and find their innocent victims.

However it is not these obvious and blatant abuses that I want to talk about today, it is a new kind of victim…a virtual victim! In our ever growing technological age abusers are continuing to grow more and more savvy about hiding their identities and and avoiding the law and persecution. But what do we do when the victim in a case of child porn is not a living breathing child, but a virtual child?

What is Virtual Child Porn?

It is pornographic material that appears to depict children, but doesn't use real children. The use of the term “virtual,” with its connotations of “virtual reality”, makes some think that virtual child porn must involve the use of the Internet, however it doesn't have to.

The types of virtual child porn:

1. Composites: The “models” in these virtual images appear underage, and are presented as such in the surrounding text, advertisements, etc. However, these “models” don't really exist: they were “assembled” from perfectly legal photographs using an editing program such as Photoshop, and perhaps using the face of a child on the body of a underdeveloped adult. Therefore, the creation of this kind of pornography didn't actually involve children. However it can be argued that it promotes child abuse, or does involve a child if a ‘real’ child's face is used or if one believes that it is that ‘real’ child's body.

2. Pictures of people who look underage with surrounding text claiming them as underage, but who are actually legal. Thus the pornographer has used an 18-year-old who looks 15 or 13 for example.

*In a recent United States Supreme Court decision (Ashcroft vs. The Free Speech Coalition), the Supremes held that these two forms of pornography were protected by the First Amendment.

Here are my non-researched, non-academic thoughts and fears on the idea of ‘virtual child porn’:

I wonder if the idea of ‘virtual porn’ is just a ticking time bomb to bigger things. To me it is like giving a person a teaser, a taste of something naughty, which only has them wanting more…wanting the real thing. My analogical comparison is to cake: it's there all the time and with easy access, but you don't want to eat cake all the time. However when you walk by a bakery and you smell cake, you suddenly want cake. You’re having dinner and someone orders cake, they offer you a bite, you eat it, and then you are not satisfied by a bite and you want a whole piece. You know you have cake down stairs just waiting there, so you want it, and you eat a piece and then think “well why not? I will just finish it!”. All the while you know that cake is bad for you, but it's just there tempting you, so your inherent cravings get the best of you. However if there is no cake in site you don't think much about it, nor do you continually crave it.

As they say, “The only way to kill a monster is to starve it!”

Therefore I wonder if by giving people the opportunity to experiment with the idea of child porn, are we allowing them an opportunity to increase their craving for the real thing. I am slightly divided personally on the legalization issue, for two main reasons; One, as it is hard enough to catch a person who is in possession of ‘real’ child porn, and spending resources on ‘virtual predators’ may not be the best use of already strained resources. Secondly, I know there are a lot of people with ‘bad thoughts’ or desires that have managed to avoid the temptation: people who have had the urge to kill but did not act on it, yet maybe if some one had handed them a gun they would have. However there is a flip side to this argument, and that is the argument that the use of ‘virtual porn’ keeps pedophiles and would-be pedophiles away from children, by giving them an outlet for their “sickness”. While it is surely a subject that could use more research and debate, I am not a scientist, but I do know that sex or thoughts of sex with a child are wrong, regardless of if ‘virtual child porn’ is legal or illegal.

Please share your thoughts on this subject, I look forward to hearing your view points.


Related Papers and Articles mostly on the Legal Aspects of ‘Virtual Child Porn’:
Virtual Child Porn Riles Law Enforcement 2007
Dutch demand ban of virtual child porn in Second Life 2007
2002 Supreme Court strikes down ban on ‘virtual child porn’
Does Virtual Child Porn Equal Child Exploitation? 2002
“VIRTUAL CHILD” PORNOGRAPHY ON THE INTERNET: A “VIRTUAL” VICTIM?
Virtual Child Pornography – a paper for the legalization
Virtual Child Pornography – An overview written by a First Amendment Scholar
Japanese Poll on Manga Child Porn Regulation 2007
Web a playground for child porn

 
  • http://gul-tabriz.blogfa.com hassan

    wery good

  • Ageplayer

    Similar statements have been made that the availability and acceptance of pornography in general would lead to an increase in sex crimes, but the contemporary information age, in when the consumption of pornography is rampant, the reverse has been proven to be true. While not necessarily indicator of direct causality, sex crimes in this era have plummeted compared to previous ones in which explicit material was less available.

    The United States is presently experiencing a witch-hunt for pedophiles, a term now expanded to include an interest in post-pubescent teens, which have only been made taboo through the twentieth century, though it is considered within the human sexuality sector natural and healthy for humans to be attracted to counterparts that are young and reproductively viable (fertile or virile) despite what specific age society determines is the minimum for consent. Technically, this puts the majority of American males in the category of pedophilia, when the sole disincentive for most men to approach a sixteen-year-old girl is the potential of jail time.

    But just because child-fetishists are persecuted by the moral powers that be doesn’t mean that we are necessarily predators, or have no concern for those that our pursuits, completely unchecked, could victimize. As with any other dangerous fetish, there are ways to express it without causing harm, from roleplay, to the production or consumption of literary fantasy, or that of artistic pornography, which includes that of virtual children.

    Granted, Chris Hansen never seems to run out of material for *To Catch a Predator* (though, again, as above, these aggressors can hardly be regarded as pedophilic, pursuing post-pubescent adolescents that are below the age of consent), but even Hansen will occasionally acknowledge he’s interested in snaring sexual predators, not merely folks who fetishize young people. The majority of us choose safe alternatives to engaging in non-consensual, hurtful behavior. And the more options in this category there are, the fewer of us will resort to alternatives that are outside it.

  • jj

    i think child porn is the worst there is coz it exploits the children

  • Thinker

    What gets people turned on or not, is not something that can be changed. Its the actions the people make that count in life.

    People can claim anything about the causes for being attracted to someone(or thing), but that is not what is important. I person can go through life never acting on there desires, IF THEY WANTED. Nuns are a good example, they could ‘act’ on there desires but they choose not too. Now an intresting thing happens when you replace the word “Nun” with pedophile or homosexual. This new phrase ether makes people feel the person should not be having those desires at all or homosexuality is nothing like being a pedophile. Even though both refer to someones sexual desires and intrestinly only for a person who has ACTED on them. How do you know that Nun you have no problem with is not a pedophile or homosexual, we dont unless they have acted on there desires.

  • Antony Pincombe

    Virtual Child Porn comes in many different forms & uses many different devices to seduce the user to view the product. There are many that use images of younger looking girls to attract viewers to Adult Webs featuring girls over 18. But the most discusting deviation from this is to use legal 18 year old teen websites & link pages to induce young guys to look at very young girls & very young teens being sexually abused. An eighteen year old boy would not think it unusual for a girl of fourteen to be in a sexual position as he would have seen quite a few in the years leading up to his eightreenth year. The problem he has is he probably doesn’t know it is ilegal. the arrest of quite a few young men for viewing child porn (under 26) tells me that they have no idea about the law. I find the practice of perporting to represent legal teen porn & then giving links to Child Porn Sites disgusting & ingenuous of the porn providers.

    The trouble is most of the porn ptoviders are from the Eastern Block & they provide porn from Grandmother/Grandfather to Baby girl/boy & sometimes a mix of the two. To them it is money & they don’t care who procides it to them they will put it on the net & get paid. One Child Porn site boasted 2.8 million viewers in one day, fuck!!! There is 6.8 billion people in the world at most. If even 5% of the world were paedophiles that would be 340 million in the world. The problem with that scenario doesn’t take into account that only about a quarter of the world is on the internet. So the pool would be 1.7 billion & 5% of that is 85 million paedophiles in the world using & posting on the net. That is frightening but the fact is most paedophiles come in different categories & some never have produced or shown child porn to anyone. About half of the 85 million paedophiles have never posted on the net so that leaves about 43 million out there looking and posting/sharing on the net.

    2.8 million in one day onone site is frightening but some of it can be explained by sucking in young men who don’t think this stuff is illegal as they only look at the young teen girls that interest them & in many countries a girl over 14 is fair game for sex or for porn. It is the under 14 that is the real worry even though the young teens are worrysome the children are even more so because of the age they seem to start them, as BABIES!!!
    Some thing should be sacred & a babies’ ability to feel safe is one of those & a childs security one of those givens a parent if not a pervert would die to protect. A teen should grow into their sexuality in their own time without being pushed & prodded & definitely not by someone much older.

  • AM

    You’re going back to video games and questions about whether allowing people to kill, maim & hurt each other in virtual reality is OK.
    People might like to play out their sexual fantasies in virtual reality – and this may involved dangerous fetishes, rape fantasies etc, and we have no means to asses that somebody would be tempted to commit the crime in real life – excellent example is Japan where all kinds of disturbing porn originate and is widely available, yet the number of rapes is very low.

Author

Cassandra Clifford
Cassandra Clifford

Cassandra Clifford is the Founder and Executive Director of Bridge to Freedom Foundation, which works to enhance and improve the services and opportunities available to survivors of modern slavery. She holds an M.A., International Relations from Dublin City University in Ireland, as well as a B.A., Marketing and A.S., Fashion Merchandise/Marketing from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Cassandra has previously worked in both the corporate and charity sector for various industries and causes, including; Child Trafficking, Learning Disabilities, Publishing, Marketing, Public Relations and Fashion. Currently Cassandra is conducting independent research on the use of rape as a weapon of war, as well as America’s Pimp Culture and its Impact on Modern Slavery. In addition to her many purists Cassandra is also working to develop a series of children’s books.

Cassandra currently resides in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where she also writes for the Examiner, as the DC Human Rights Examiner, and serves as an active leadership member of DC Stop Modern Slavery.


Areas of Focus:
Children's Rights; Human Rights; Conflict

GreadDecisions in foreign policy discussion group ad v2