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Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation

United States of America


"It is a violation of human rights when women are trafficked, bought and sold as prostitutes." (Hillary Clinton, Lviv Opera House, Lviv, Ukraine, "First Lady To Fight Prostitution," AP Online, 18 November 1997)

Trafficking:

Trafficking in women plagues the United States as much as it does underdeveloped nations. Organized prostitution networks have migrated from metropolitan areas to small cities and suburbs. Women trafficked to the United States have been forced to have sex with 400-500 men to pay off $40,000 in debt for their passage. (Avita Ramdas, president of the Global Fund for Women sponsoring a recent prostitution conference, Brad Knickerbocker, "Prostitution’s Pernicious Reach Grows in the US" Christian Science Monitor, 23 October 1996)

In mid-1997 in Queens New York police were informed of more than 60 Mexican immigrants including 12 children ranging in age from 6 months to 6 years, being held in "involuntary servitude". (Deborah Sontag, "Deaf Mexicans Are Found in Forced Labor," New York Times, 20 June 1997)

The United Nations now lists Mexico as the number one center for the supply of young children to North America. Most are sold to rich, childless couples unwilling to wait for bona fide adoption agencies to provide them with a child. The majority are sent to international pedophile organizations. Many times the children are snatched while on errands for their parents. Often they are drugged and raped. Most of the children over 12 end up as prostitutes. Hector Ramirez, a former deputy, or Mexican Member of Parliament, stated that "many of the state and city authorities [are] doing absolutely nothing to stop what is going on." (Allan Hall, The Scotsman, 25 August 1998)

5,000 women of Chinese descent are in prostitution in Los Angeles. (Kathryn McMahon, Daniel B. Wood, "A Crusade to Free Captive Daughters," Christian Science Monitor, 12 March 1998)

Chinese women are being trafficked into the United States for brothels in New York and North Carolina. They are held in $40,000 debt bondage. ("Chinese women ‘forced into prostitution’ in US," BBC, 3 March 1998)

Traffickers force Chinese immigrants into indentured servitude, women into prostitution and men into the restaurant business. In September 1998, 153 men and 21 women, including 35 juveniles, arrived in San Diego, California from China via Mexico, after paying smugglers $30,000. In 1997, 69 and in 1993, 650 Chinese immigrants were intercepted in the same area. If caught by immigration (INS) officials, most will be sent back to China, unless they receive political asylum. The smugglers may face jail time in the United States. (Paula Story, "Chinese Immigrant Boat Reaches US," Associated Press Online, 19 September 1998)

Traffickers in Miami were receiving Asian children who were being trafficked through Europe by Japanese and Chinese criminal gangs. In one month, at least 15 children were smuggled into the United States for prostitution. ("Pedophilia ring uncovered in Italy," USA Today, Nov. 1997)

25 distinct Russian organized crime groups are operating in the United States in the areas of prostitution, fraud, money laundering, murder, extortion and drug trafficking and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has approximately 250 pending investigations targeting Russian gangs in 27 states. (Barbara Starr, "Former Soviet Union a playground for organized crime: A gangster’s paradise," ABC News, 14 September 1998)

Case

Five people have been accused of planning to traffic two Chinese women to Arkansas in the United States. (Associated Press, 8 July 1998)

Girls, as young as 13, were trafficked from Mexico via Texas, into Florida and held under $2,000 debt bondage for smuggling fees by the Cadenas, a criminal Mexican family, themselves illegal immigrants. The brothels, in operation since 1996, catered exclusively to Hispanic migrant workers. (John Pacenti, "Family Accused in Prostitution Ring," Associated Press, 25 February 1998)

Marvin Hersh, a Florida Atlantic University professor, was charged with alien smuggling and passport fraud for going to Honduras and bringing a teen-age boy back to Boca Raton, Florida for sex. Affidavits described Hersh as a longtime pedophile who traveled to Central America and Asia to find victims. He passed the boy off as his son. Hersh’s friend, Nelson Jay Buler, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida was charged with travelling for the purpose of illegal sexual contact with a minor, and aggravated sexual abuse of a child in Honduras. According to Title 18, Section 2423, a federal statute in the US, it is a crime for any American citizen to travel abroad with the intent to sexually abuse children. Sentences can be up to 10 years of imprisonment plus fines of US$ 250,000 ("Bond set for man accused of Honduras juvenile-sex trips," Associated Press)

Illegal immigrants from Asia were forced into prostitution to repay a $40,000 fee for their transport. In one case in California, the women were in their late teens or twenties. Three to six women were at each house and often made as much as $5,000 a week for the traffickers. (Midway City Police, Geoff Boucher and Steve Carney, "6 Arrested in Raid on Alleged Brothel," Los Angeles Times, 13 September 1997)

An international trafficking ring in San Jose, California and Toronto, Canada, trafficked women from Southeast Asia for prostitution. The women were prostituted under debt bondage to 100s of men to pay off a $40,000 debt for their passage. (Bill Wallace & Benjamin Pimental, "San Jose Women Held After Raid in Sex Slave Cases," San Francisco Chronicle, 13 September 1997)

Roman Israilov of Brooklyn, New York enslaved and raped a 20-year-old immigrant Russian woman and sexually abused her. He had intended later to sell her. Police who were notified by a neighbor arrested him. The police were having problems questioning the woman because she had just recently arrived and spoke very little English. (Frank Edozien and Larry Celona, "Man Kept Immigrant as His Sex Slave: Cops," New York Post, 15 September 1997)

Donald A. Young, a Pennsylvania lawyer is being charged with raping and imprisoning two Honduran women he met through magazine ads. He is also accused of abusing the women’s children in his home. Authorities believe he also imprisoned several other foreign women. He had bars on the windows and deadbolts on the doors. ("Man is charged with raping women he brought to US," Associated Press, 16 August 1997)

Richard Blau, a Manhattan businessman, has been charged with abusing an immigrant Burmese woman whom he kept chained in his bedroom for nearly two weeks after offering her work as a cleaning woman. (UPI, 20 August 1997)

Latvian Women Trafficked:

At least 5 Latvian women were trafficked to Chicago and held in slavery-like conditions, forced to strip at Chicago nightclubs. The women would earn as much as $600 a night in strip clubs, but were forced to give all but $20 to the traffickers.

The women were contacted by Alex Mishulovich, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Russia, who posed as a nightclub owner. He and his wife, Rudite Pede, approached the young woman on the streets of Riga, Latvia, and told them they could earn up to $60,000 a year dancing for men who wouldn't be allowed to grope them. Mishulovich, who claimed allegiance with the Chechnyan mafia, helped the women obtain immigration papers, but as soon as they arrived in Chicago he took their papers, locked them in apartments or hotel rooms, beat them and threatened to kill them. He told the women his mobster associates would kill their families in Latvia if they refused to obey him. At times, he held a gun to a woman's head or put a knife to her throat.

Mishulovich was charged with visa fraud, peonage - keeping someone in servitude- and conspiracy to commit peonage. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted. Pede was charged with visa fraud and conspiracy to commit peonage; she faces 30 years in prison. Three other people were also charged. The trafficking ring was uncovered by an American embassy official who became suspicious when many of the women listed the same address where they would be staying in the United States. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, Eric Fidler, "Two charged for enslaving stripper," Associated Press, September 1998)

Official Response and Action

United States President Bill Clinton, and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi together have officially recognized and addressed trafficking in women and children for the purpose of forced prostitution. They have established a working group in order to deal with the problem. ("Clinton, Prodi discuss slave trade," United Press International, 6 May 1998)

Mail Order Brides

There have been 5,000 Filipina mail order brides entering the United States every year since 1986, a total of 55,000 as of 1997. (Gabriela, Statistics and the State of the Philippines, 24 July 1997)

Two Honduran "mail-order-brides" were imprisoned with their children and raped by attorney Donald A. Young in Pennsylvania. Young was charged with rape, assault, false imprisonment, harassment, stalking, and child abuse (Boston Globe, 6 August 1997)

The American mail-order bride industry has become a multi-million dollar business, marketing women from developing countries as potential brides to men in Western nations. (Lena H. Sun, "The Search For Miss Right Takes A Turn Toward Russia "Mail-Order Brides" Of The '90S Are Met Via Internet And On "Romance Tours," Washington Post, 8 March 1998)

In the United States, mail-order-bride agencies are developing everywhere. One business, A Foreign Affair, has had more than 15,000 male buyers since it began three years ago. Now there are 200 to 250 of these companies in the United States, a third of which started in 1997. At least 80 of these focus exclusively on Russian and Eastern European women. A Foreign Affair has about 3,500 women from Russia, Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America. The business claims they are responsible for an engagement or marriage every week. (Lena H. Sun, "The Search For Miss Right Takes A Turn Toward Russia "Mail-Order Brides" Of The '90S Are Met Via Internet And On "Romance Tours," Washington Post, 8 March 1998)

One Internet mail order bride service, RWL, Russian Women’s List, has more than 800 members, including military personnel and computer programmers. Ken Wells of the United States bought the addresses of about 600 women from 15 international marriage agencies over the Internet. (Lena H. Sun, "The Search For Miss Right Takes A Turn Toward Russia "Mail-Order Brides" Of The '90S Are Met Via Internet And On "Romance Tours," Washington Post, 8 March 1998)

A Bethesda MD based Encounters International mail order bride company began in July 1993. The business claims it has had 104 marriages, 55 engagements and four divorces as of February 1998. (Natasha Spivak, Lena H. Sun, "The Search For Miss Right Takes A Turn Toward Russia "Mail-Order Brides" Of The '90S Are Met Via Internet And On "Romance Tours," Washington Post, 8 March 1998)

Congress passed legislation that requires mail order bride agencies to give information about marriage fraud, legal residency and domestic violence to women in their agencies or risk $20,000 fines. The legislation, introduced by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), estimated that 2,000 to 3,500 American men find wives through such agencies each year. (Lena H. Sun, "The Search For Miss Right Takes A Turn Toward Russia "Mail-Order Brides" Of The '90S Are Met Via Internet And On "Romance Tours," Washington Post, 8 March 1998)

In 1995, a computer lab technician shot and killed his Philippine wife in a Seattle courtroom. In 1996, a Texas man was convicted of murdering his fourth wife, a Philippine bride. (Lena H. Sun, "The Search For Miss Right Takes A Turn Toward Russia "Mail-Order Brides" Of The '90S Are Met Via Internet And On "Romance Tours," Washington Post, 8 March 1998)

Prostitution:

92% of women engaged in prostitution said they wanted to leave prostitution, but couldn't because they lack basic human services such as a home, job training, health care, counseling and treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. 130 people in prostitution were surveyed in San Francisco, California, as part of a study funded in part by Kaiser Permanente and the Prostitution and Research Education project of San Francisco Women's Centers, Inc. Respondents ranged in age from 12 to 61, with an average age of 28. Nearly 40% were white European/American, one-third were African American, and almost 20% were Latina. ("People in prostitution suffer from wartime trauma symptoms caused by acts of violence against them," Business Wire, 18 August 1998)

Girls involved in prostitution are increasingly getting younger, dropping from 14, to 13 and 12 years of age. Child prostitution in the United States began to escalate in the late 1980’s after new laws made it more difficult for officials to detain runaway children. (Lois Lee, founder of Children of the Night, Brad Knickerbocker, "Prostitution’s Pernicious Reach Grows in the US," Christian Science Monitor, 23 October 1996)

In Ohio, over the past seven years, the average age when a girl enters prostitution has decreased from 16 to 14. The demand for prostituted children is increasing, as men feel safer from AIDS with younger girls. 75 to 95% of all prostitutes were sexually abused as children. Many prostitutes are high school dropouts, come from poor and abusive homes, move from place to place and are alcoholics or drug addicts. (Debra Boyer, U. Washington, Susan Breault of the Paul & Lisa Program, "Danger for prostitutes increasing, most starting younger," Beacon Journal, 21 September 1997)

2,632 youths were reported missing, more than 60% of them are listed as endangered runaways, who often end up as prostitutes in Ohio in 1996. Attacks against prostitutes were increasing as of September 1997. (State Attorney General, "Danger for prostitutes increasing, most starting younger," Beacon Journal, 21 September 1997)

16.9 is the average age of entry into prostitution for girls. (Delancey Street Foundation, San Francisco, "The lost boys," Sarah McNaught, The Boston Phoenix, 23-30 October 1997)

14 years is the average age of entry into prostitution for boys, 25 years of age is the average age that men leave prostitution. Male prostitutes usually do not have pimps. (Sean Haley, Director, Adolescent Services, JRI Health, Boston, "The lost boys," Sarah McNaught, The Boston Phoenix, 23-30 October 1997)

Fourteen prostituted women have been killed in five years in Newark, New Jersey. (Evelyn Nieves, "Selling Sex Where All Are Suspect", 19 April 1998)

The estimated average age of girls who enter street prostitution in San Francisco is fourteen. Ninety percent of street prostituted women were abused as children, and are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Fewer than half of the street prostituted women in San Francisco has finished high school. And 85% have never earned money in any other way. (Hope, Promise, Stephanie Salter "Creating hope from lives of desperation" San Francisco Examiner, 16 November 1997)

25 bodies of women and male transsexuals, most known to be in prostitution, have been found outside New Orleans from 1991-1998. Russell Ellwood, 47, a former cab driver was arrested on suspicion for involvement in 25 deaths, charged with two deaths, and pending others. (Janet McConaughey, "Cab Driver Arrested in La. Murders," Associated Press, 4 March 1998)

Seven prostituted women have been murdered in 6 months in Washington State. A task force is looking into possible links with 11 other unsolved killings of area women since 1984. (John K. Wiley, "Wash. Slayings Raise Serial Specter," Associated Press, 1 February 1998)

From 1982 - 1984, forty-nine women, most of them prostitutes, were murdered by someone who became known as the Green River killer. The killer was never found. (John K. Wiley, "Wash. Slayings Raise Serial Specter," Associated Press, 1 February 1998)

The perception that women make alot of money through prostitution is false. "Women who make a lot of money prostituting or being call girls for an ‘exclusive clientele’ are probably in the single figures in terms of percentages". (Elaine Deck, project director for the Women’s Treatment Network, "Former Prostitutes Help Pull Their Sisters Off the Streets," San Francisco Chronicle, 27 December 1997)

300,000 to 600,000 juveniles are involved in prostitution in the United States. (Gary Costello of the Exploited Child Unit of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, "Danger for prostitutes increasing, most starting younger," Beacon Journal, 21 September 1997)

In 1996, 1,508 women were arrested for prostitution or commercialized vice in the Phoenix-Metro area in Arizona. (Phoenix Police Department and the City of Phoenix Prosecutor’s Office "Developing Individual Growth & New Independence Through Yourself" DIGNITY HOUSE)

Over the last decade the street price for oral sex has dropped from $20-$30 to $2-$3. (Christopher S. Wren, "Addicted to Crack, Prostitutes Work Longer for Less," New York Times, 19 August 1997)

There are an estimated 500 male prostitutes in Philadelphia. (Police and anonymous prostitutes, Alfred Lubrano, "Eleven o’clock is feeding time in Center City," Philadelphia Inquirer, 26 May 1998)

The release of the anti-impotence pill, Viagra, increased the business at two brothels, Cherry Patch and Mabel's, in Carson City, Nevada, by 10 percent. (Brendan Riley, "Viagra Boosts Brothel Business," Associated Press Online, 11 June 1998)

In New York City, 26% of street prostituted women were homeless or on the verge of becoming so. 90% reported having children taken away because of their situation. (survey of 4,200 street prostitues by researchers at Frost’d, Christopher S. Wren, "Addicted to Crack, Prostitutes Work Longer for Less," New York Times, 19 August 1997)

In New York City, 40% of street prostituted women have injected heroin or cocaine. More than two-thirds of those said they have smoked crack. (results of a survey of 4,200 "street prostitutes" by researchers at Frost’d, Christopher S. Wren, "Addicted to Crack, Prostitutes Work Longer for Less," New York Times, 19 August 1997)

There are 177 strip clubs, X-rated video parlors and peep shows in New York City’s Times Square, one of America’s most infamous red-light districts. Across the New York City’s five boroughs, the number of adult businesses has increased by more than 30% since 1988. ("Zoning law threatens adult business Times Square could lost most of its red-light district if its enforced in city," Milwaukee Sentinel & Journal, 3 March 1998)

The 1998 Manhattan Yellow Pages has 52 pages of escort services - legal businesses that frequently front as prostitution networks. In 1997, there were 35 pages. (Police department statistics, Kit. R. Roane, "World’s Oldest Profession Moves Off the Streets," New York Times, 23 February 1998)

In 1994, New York City began a crackdown to get rid of street prostitution. When more than 9,500 prostitutes and male buyers were arrested men had their names published and vehicles taken away, the women who were arrested for prostitution were given jail sentences. The crackdown cut the number of street prostitutes in half in some parts of the City. Repeat offenders declined. The Number of convictions per prostitute declined with 50% of them now having no more than one prior conviction, while prior to this it was not unusual to see defendants who had 100 prior arrests. Prostitution has been driven off the street to inside locations. (Michele Svirdoff, research diretor Midtown Community Court’s Center for Court Innovation, Kit. R. Roane, "World’s Oldest Profession Moves Off the Streets," New York Times, 23 February 1998)

4,500-5,000 of the 50,000 prostitutes in New York are on the streets. (Christopher S. Wren, "Addicted to Crack, Prostitutes Work Longer for Less," New York Times, 19 August 1997)

"Fair Play," a "Victorian House of Fetishism and Role Play" in a residential area in New York City operated as a brothel with a 16-room dungeon where buyers pay $150 an hour for sadomasochistic sex with ropes, leather and handcuffs. In July 1997, police arrested Frederic Gorski, 50, and Joseph Villani, 27, and charged each with operating an illegal massage parlor. (Douglas Montero, Larry Celona, Allen Salkin, "New York: They City of Brothel-y Love," New York Post, 5 April 1998)

Seven murdered women, believed to be prostitutes, are suspected victims of a serial killer in Spokane, Washington. Their deaths are possibly linked to a dozen other murders in the area since 1984. ("Serial Killer Believed in Spokane," Associated Press, 2 April 1998)

Ten women’s bodies have been found in the Missouri River between Oct 1996 and April 1998. Many of the women were suspected of being prostitutes on Independence Avenue. (A Scharnhorst, "Team to investigate death of woman found in river," 9 April 1998)

Between 1982-1995 seven women, six suspected of being prostitutes, were murdered and thrown into the Missouri River. Gregory Breeden has been charged with one of the deaths. (A Scharnhorst, "Team to investigate death of woman found in river," 9 April 1998)

In New York City, magazines like "The American Sex Scene," "Screw" and "New York Sex Guide" and Internet sites like ny-exotics.com contain listings for dozens of places that offer "full-service" massages, a euphemism for prostitution. (Douglas Montero, Larry Celona, Allen Salkin, "New York: They City of Brothel-y Love," New York Post, 5 April 1998)

Pimps have strong ownership rights over the women and girls they control. Girls who belong to one pimp are not permitted to even look at another. (Laura Italiano, "I’m A Good Guy: Sex Dealer," New York Post, 23 February 1998)

The Internet is increasingly being used by men to locate prostitutes in New York City, making solicitation less visible. (Kit. R. Roane, "World’s Oldest Profession Moves Off the Streets," New York Times, 23 February 1998)

A radio station, KUFO, in Portland, Oregon sponsored a contest in which the winner got a weekend at the Bunny Ranch, a legal brothel in Nevada. (Personal communication, March 1998)

The murders of three prostituted women in one year (1997) in South Florida indicate that a serial killer may be at large. ("South Florida may be home to serial killer," United Press International, 4 December 1997)

At least six prostituted women were murdered in San Francisco in 1996-1997. (Reverand Glenda Hope, founder of Promise, San Francisco, Stephanie Salter "Creating hope from lives of desperation" San Francisco Examiner, 16 November 1997)

Case

In Spokane, Washington, the body of a 47-year-old woman was found, and is believed by police to be the 9th victim of a serial killer. Most of the women have had connections to prostitution and drugs. Another woman is missing and feared to also be a victim. ("Body suspected to be killer’s ninth victim," United Press International, 9 July 1998)

Melody Ann Murfin, involved in prostitution and drugs, has been added to the list of eight other women presumed to be victims of a serial killer. The other victims were also involved in prostitution. Murfin disappeared May 13, 1998 near Spokane, Washington. The bodies of eight women suspected of being the victims of a serial killer have been found since November 1997, most recently in July 1998. The women had been shot and their bodies covered by vegetation in an isolated area. ("Wash. Woman added to killer’s list," Associated Press Online, 2 September 1998)

Marci Devernay is charged with operating a multi-million-dollar prostitution network escort service in Michigan. The buyer list seized by police contains 20,000 names. ("Police questioned in hooker-ring sting," United Press International, 26 May 1998)

An American soldier, Pvt. Eric Munnich, 22, was convicted of murdering a South Korean prostituted woman after she refused to have sex with him. ("Court Upholds Prison for US Soldier," Associated Press, 28 February 1998)

In June 1997 in New York City a French immigrant Nadia Frey or "Mistress Hilda Pierce," a dominatrix, was found shot to death possibly by a client or competitor. (Karen Matthews, Associated Press, June 1997)

Two girls, aged 13 and 14, were abducted from Vancouver and forced into prostitution by two men who took them to the United States. The 13-year-old said she was bought for $3000. Adam Jermaine Ingram, 20, and Kevin Roy Woods, 18, both of Bellingham, Washington., have been charged with interstate prostitution under the White Slave Traffic Act. ("Alleged Teen Prostitutes Go Home," Associated Press, 25 December 1997)

Jack Bokin, 54, who has been arrested 8 times since 1987, four of which involved violent sex crimes against women, was arrested and charged with the October 4th rape and brutal hammer attack on a prostituted woman from Capp Street. (Susan Sward, Bill Wallace, Harriet Chiang, "Man Arraigned in Beating of S.F. Prostituted," San Francisco Chronicle, 15 October 1997)

Elegant Days, a health club in New York was discovered to be a front for prostitution. The New York state attorney general filed suit in a Long Island state supreme court, charging the Huntington Station business with false advertising and operating a massage service without a licensed masseuse on staff. (United Press International, 20 November 1997)

A prostituted woman was murdered by the man who bought her because he "did not like her services." (Reverend Glenda Hope, founder of Promise, San Francisco, Stephanie Salter "Creating hope from lives of desperation" San Francisco Examiner, 16 November 1997)

A Lowell, Massachusetts man, Troy Footman, was charged with luring 10 to 15 girls, aged 13-17, into a prostitution ring, and prostituting them on the streets in cities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland and Delaware. (Stacy Sullivan, Boston Globe, 16 November 1997)

Arthur Van Moekerken, a Dutch national was arrested on charges of running the largest prostitution ring in Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s history. Documents show the operation had 20,000 male buyers from West Palm Beach to North Miami. Van Moekerken made $6 million a year, 18 times more than the average escort service in the area. Men paid $180 cash or $200 by credit card. One woman in the prostitution network had 317 men in six weeks. (Police, "Alleged prostitution ring busted," United Press International, 11 February 1998)

Daniel Gary Rounds, is under arrest in la Ceiba, Honduras for sexually abusing two 12 year old boys in his hotel room in that port city. (Casa Alinza/Covenant House Latin America, "Casa Alianza Warns That Central America is New Sex Tourism Destination," 17 November 1997)

Lynwood Stewart, 23, was convicted pimping, beating and raping girls ages 11, 13, 14 and 17 in Brooklyn, New York. He was sentenced to five to 10 years in jail. He said he ran a 25-girl prostitution ring. He claimed, "I thought she was 19," he said of the 11-year-old girl he peddled under the name "Sweets". ("Hall of Shame," New York Post, 23 February 1998)

Marisol Sanders, 25 a Bronx prostitute repeatedly sold her 11-year-old niece to a wealthy former Warner Brothers film executive. She sold her niece 13 times over nine months to the 69-year-old executive, a father of six who allegedly raped and sodomized the girl. ("Hall of Shame," New York Post, 23 February 1998)

A Lutheran Minister charged with soliciting visiting Panamanian students to engage in prostitution. Five students, whom the man was sponsoring in an educational exchange program, were told they would have their bills reduced, and one was threatened with deportation, if they engaged in sexual acts for the Minister to view. Richard Kittilstad has been charged with four counts of soliciting prostitution and one count of extortion; if convicted he would face a maximum of 25 years in prison. (Robert Imrie, "Appeals court upholds prostitution charges against," Associated Press, 30 September 1998)

Health and Well Being

78% of the women who sought help from the Council for Prostitution Alternatives in Portland, Oregon program had attempted suicide at some point. (Brad Knickerbocker, "Prostitution’s Pernicious Reach Grows in the US," Christian Science Monitor, 23 October 1996)

Females in prostitution have a mortality rate 40 times higher than the national average. (Chris Grussendorf, "No Humans Involved, Part One")

65 to 75 percent of street prostituted women are victims of long-term incest. (Promise, Stephanie Salter "Creating hope from lives of desperation" San Francisco Examiner, 16 November 1997)

75 to 90 percent of all women in prostitution were sexually abused as children. (Debra Boyer, University of Washington, "Danger for prostitutes increasing, most starting younger" Beacon Journal, 21 September 1997)

85 percent of the prostitutes in the United States are addicted to crack, heroin, prescription drugs, or alcohol. (Delancey Street Foundation, San Francisco, Sarah McNaught, "Working for the man," The Boston Phoenix, 23-30 October 1997)

Women who become street prostitutes do so because of a drug problem, or because the streets are a less violent home than where they come from. "They turn to drugs to make life tolerable." (Dr. Joyce Wallace of the NGO Frost’d, Christopher S. Wren, "Addicted to Crack, Prostitutes Work Longer for Less," New York Times, 19 August 1997)

The process of recovery for a woman leaving prostitution takes two years of very supportive intervention. Women who are trying to leave the sex industry have the same needs that traditionally battered women have. Many are fleeing with the clothes on their backs with no money and no place to go. This is compounded by the isolation known to all battered women and the stigma that is unique to prostitutes. ("Developing Individual Growth & New Independence Through Yourself" DIGNITY HOUSE)

Street prostituted women are often drug addicted. In jail they are generally 25-35 pounds underweight as a direct result of their drug addiction. Many have STDs and some are HIV positive. Most have open sores from abbesses; many have been raped or robbed. Most are deeply depressed and a small portion say they are mentally ill. Prostituted women getting out of jail have no resources, they feel their only choice is to return to a life they know or where they are accepted. ("Developing Individual Growth & New Independence Through Yourself" DIGNITY HOUSE)

Drug treatment programs ignore problems many women have associated with their drug dependency such as prostitution, trading sex for drugs, child abuse and neglect, and domestic violence. (Mary R. Haack, "Drug Dependent Mothers and Their Children: Issues in Public Policy and Public Health," the New England Journal of Medicine, Volume338 Number3, 15 January 1998)

Most prostituted women are homeless, seperated from their children, and drug addicted to emotionally cope. (Elaine Deck, "Former Prostitutes Help Pull Their Sisters Off the Streets," San Francisco Chronicle 27 December 1997)

Pimps have a strong emotional hold over young women they sexually exploit, which makes it difficult to build a legal case against them. A 17-year-old who was sold by a pimp on the street, refused to testify against him and visits him in prison. Even teenagers covered with bruises and cigarette burns remain loyal to pimps. A typical pimp has six girls and refers to them as "family." The girls are instructed to call the pimp "Daddy." Each girl earns approximately $500 per night for the pimp. Although selling a child for sex is a felony that carries a maximum jail term of 15 years, that sentence is never imposed. (Laura Italiano, "Teen girls give pimps easy payday: ‘Daddies profit from lax laws, hookers’ devotion," New York Post, 23 February 1998)

Women in prostitution in Arizona are routinely subjected to repeated beatings from their pimp, and have likely been coerced into pornography, topless dancing and/or prostitution in order to support him or his drug habit. ("Developing Individual Growth & New Independence Through Yourself" DIGNITY HOUSE)

Every woman who has been in the Dignity House jail program stated she has been raped, robbed, kicked and beaten with fists, knives, guns, coat hangers, baseball bats, and boards - either by a trick or her pimp. Each girl knew someone who had been murdered while working in prostitution. ("Developing Individual Growth & New Independence Through Yourself" DIGNITY HOUSE)

Almost all of 30 prostitutes (interviewed for a story) said that she has been physically and verbally abused by her pimp. More than half the women said that their pimps got them hooked on drugs. And all of them said that their pimps order them to commit other crimes. (Sarah McNaught, "Working for the man," The Boston Phoenix, 23-30 October 1997)

Official Response and Action

Approximately $2.5 million is spent annually in California on prostitution-related costs, including judicial salaries, clerks, bailiffs, and courtroom overhead. (San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution, Sarah McNaught "An immodest proposal," The Boston Phoenix, 23-30 October 1997)

There were 88,819 prostitution arrests in the United States in 1995. (FBI, Sarah McNaught, "An Immodest Proposal," The Boston Phoenix, 23-30 October 1997)

In 1997, in a crackdown against prostitution, Operation Save Our Neighborhood, police seized 3,198 vehicles of buyers accused of soliciting women for sex. Of these, 2,091 offenders redeemed their cars for the standard first-offender settlement payment of $650 and 23 owner offenders redeemed their cars for the standard second-offender settlement payment of $1,300, generating settlement fees of $1,389,050. Meanwhile, 405 owners chose to abandon their vehicles to the seizing police agencies. Another 679 vehicles were returned to owners, whose vehicles were unknowingly used for criminal purposes, upon their payment of the costs of towing and storage. Thirty-six cases were contested, and the seizing police agencies prevailed in 31 of them. ("Wayne County Prosecutor’s Car Seizure Programs Net Over $2 million," PRNewswire, 5 May 1998)

There were 803 prostitution arrests in Boston in 1996. (Sarah McNaught, "An Immodest Proposal," the Boston Phoenix, 23-30October 1997)

Federal prosecutors found the Gambino mafia family, headed by John Gotti Jr., to be controlling the topless nightclub Scores, frequented by celebrities, sports figures and newsmakers. The family is suspected of racketeering between 1991 and 1996, because they were taking money from the women in prostitution in the establishment. (David W. Chen, "Topless Club is Province of Celebrities," NewYork Times, 22 January 1998)

Police are more likely to arrest women in street prostitution. In 1997, vice enforcement arrested 1,380 prostituted women and male buyers fewer than half were inside establishments. In 1996, they arrested fewer than 2,000 prostituted women fewer than a third of whom were inside buildings. However, in 1994, more than 9,500 prostituted women and male buyers were arrested as a result of the crackdown on street prostitution. (Police department statistics, Kit. R. Roane, "World’s Oldest Profession Moves Off the Streets," New York Times, 23 February 1998)

In Portland Oregon, prostitution-free zones have been established, where prostitutes and male buyers face additional charges of criminal trespass if caught again in those areas. This increased penality is in response to the expansion of prostitution and trafficking in the United States. (Brad Knickerbocker, "Prostitution’s Pernicious Reach Grows in the US," Christian Science Monitor, 23 October 1996)

Vice police arrested 58 males for prostitution in Center City of Philadelphia, between New Year's Day and the end of March and 75 in the same area for all of 1996. By comparison, from January 1997-May 1998, the vice unit arrested 816 female prostitutes in Kensington, where the largest number of women in prostitution have been found. (Alfred Lubrano, "Eleven o’clock is feeding time in Center City," Philadelphia Inquirer, 26 May 1998)

The US Violent Crime Control Act of 1994 established the crime of travel with intent to engage in sexual acts with a juvenile (under 18 years of age). There is a loophole in the law because the crime is not the ''victimisation," but the planning of it and the travelling to do it, and the burden on the prosecutor is not proving that the crime happened but proving that the crime was planned in the US. This law protects paedophiles." To date, no Cases has been filed. ("Child sexploitation within the law's reach," The Nation, 2 Jul 1997)

Two strip clubs and an pornography bookstore were permanently closed in Providence, RI in the last year due to actions by Mayor Cianci. The zoning ordinance prohibits "lewd behavior" in downtown locations, and confines it to maufacturing zones. The city revoked the club Cabana Girl’s license after finding evidence of nude dancing and prostitution. ("Cianci has new foe in strip club fight," Providence Journal, 28 January 1998)

Police made 1,987 arrests on prostitution-related charges in New York City in 1997. A 1996 anti-brothel campaign by police and the Queens district attorney led to dozens of arrests along Roosevelt Boulevard in Jackson Heights. Authorities are increasingly using nuisance-abatement laws to deal with brothels. As the campaign continues, undercover cops are sent into brothels, where they make arrests after making a payment and agreeing to a sexual service. Sometimes uniformed officers are stationed outside known brothels to discourage customers and attack the businesses at the bottom line. (Douglas Montero, Larry Celona, Allen Salkin, "New York: They City of Brothel-y Love," New York Post, 5 April 1998)

St. Paul, Minnesota vice officers began a new anti-prostitution campaign. Police, with photos of convicted prostituted women, canvass areas known for prostitution. Pictures of convicted offenders, both prostituted persons and persons soliciting prostituted persons, have been posted on-line, along with information about these people. (Heron Marquez Estrada, "Prostitution shifting in St. Paul," Star Tribune, 30 August 1998)

Policy and Law

Aside from a few counties in Nevada, only 10 percent of people arrested for prostitution related crimes are the male buyers. (Brad Knickerbocker, "Prostitution’s Pernicious Reach Grows in the US," Christian Science Monitor, 23 October 1996)

In San Francisco, male buyers who are caught for the first time, are attending a "school for johns," taught by police and ex-prostituted women. This has kept virtually all of the men from becoming repeat offenders. (Brad Knickerbocker, "Prostitution’s Pernicious Reach Grows in the US," Christian Science Monitor, 23 October 1996)

Police would have an easier time arresting pimps who solicit for prostitution under new legislation. The California State Senate voted 33-0 August 17, 1998, to return the measure by Assemblyman Wally Knox, D- Los Angeles, to the Assembly for concurrence in Senate amendments. The bill would make it a misdemeanor to recruit, aid, supervise, receive earnings or take part in other activity typically associated with pimps. It gives police a legal basis for arresting pimps for loitering even without evidence that a specific crime of prostitution has occurred. The bill describes such activities as loitering, repeatedly approaching prospective customers and other observable efforts to promote and manage street prostitutes. Knox says a pimp who repeatedly approaches drivers and pedestrians to solicit for prostitution falls within recent court-approved guidelines for similar enforcement procedures against the prostitutes themselves. Present law allows arrests only if officers see the crime occur, or if suspects are implicated by a prostituted person. ("Anti-pimp bill passes Senate in California," United Press International, 17 August 1998)

The California State Assembly voted 51-0 August 20, 1998, agreeing with the Senate to changes specifying the kinds of observable behavior that can lead to a misdemeanor arrest for pimping. The bill wouldn't limit the activities of people who work with prostituted persons in an effort to help them find legal work or religious groups who do street work. ("Governor gets pimp control bill," United Press International, 20 August 1998)

A new ordinance, making prostitution tougher, was approved by the San Antonio (Texas) City Council in August 1998. Under the old ordinance, police could only cite prostituted persons after they allegedly offered to perform a sex act in exchange for money. Persons procuring sexual services from prostituted persons could only be cited after offering to pay an undercover officer money in exchange for sex. Under the new ordinance, only known prostituted persons with a conviction record can be cited. In addition, known prostituted persons with prior convictions seen stopping traffic can be cited for loitering "for the purpose of prostitution." Customers can be cited for loitering and can also be cited for transporting a prostituted person in a vehicle to commit a sex act. Police can go after people making their property available for prostituted persons to commit sex acts in. The ordinance takes effect September 19, 1998. Violators can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor that carries a $500 fine. The new ordinance is patterned after a 20-year- old Dallas law. (Tom Bower, "New statute gets tough on prostitution," San Antonio Express-News, 21 August 1998)

"Juice bars" featuring live nude performances will have a tougher time operating in California communities under legislation signed into law by Governor Pete Wilson. The bill by Assemblyman Scott Baugh, Republican-Huntington Beach, closes a loophole that allows sexually oriented businesses to operate as theaters and concert halls to circumvent local zoning laws. The new law makes juice bars and other adult entertainment establishments that don't serve alcohol subject to the same local regulations that control all other adult businesses. The bill redefines an adult or sexually oriented business as any establishment that regularly features live performances typical featuring exposure of the genitals, buttocks of performers, or female breasts. Existing state law allows cities and counties to regulate sexually oriented activity in establishments that serve alcohol, but a 1982 court ruling allowed those that don't serve it to claim exemptions as theaters. Consequently, the governor says many adult businesses expressly set up for live sex performances have attracted ''certain types of criminal activity, such as prostitution and illegal drug use.'' ("New law targets juice bars," United Press International, 18 August 1998)

The United States Violent Crime Control Act of 1994 established the crime of travelling with the intent to engage in sexual acts with a juvenile (under18 years of age). This law has been criticized for a major loophole: the crime is not the victimization, but the planning of it and the travelling to do it, and the burden on the prosecutor is not proving that the crime happened but proving that the crime was planned in the US. This law protects pedophiles. To date, no cases have been filed. ("Child sexploitation within the law’s reach," The Nation, 2 July 1997)

Women in the sex industry are often treated with prejudice by the judicial system. In Erie, Pennsylvania a judge sentenced a woman to 1 to 2 years in prison, even though he acknowledged that she was defending herself from an attack. A man sexually assaulted a topless dancer in a club, then followed her outside and down the street, where he attacked her again. She kicked him in the head, breaking his jaw.. The perpetrator portrayed himself as the victim of a crime. A jury found the woman guilty of assault and said she must pay the attacker’s $13,000 medical bill. (Rachel Graves, "Judge imprisons woman but says she is innocent," Philidelphia Inquirer, 30 August 1997)

In Phoenix, Arizona women are mandated to do 15 days in prison for their first prostitution offense, and can be sentenced up to six months for 3 or more offenses. ("Developing Individual Growth & New Independence Through Yourself" DIGNITY HOUSE)

The Senate Committee on Family Services in Arizona voted on a new definition of nudity for women. Formerly nudity was defined as showing the nipple. The new definition will be any exposure of any part of the breast below the top of the nipple. ("Panel cleaves to new clothing rules for women in adult businesses," Arizona Daily Star," 9 February 1998)

The US Supreme Court allowed New York City officials to enforce zoning rules prohibiting adult entertainment businesses near homes, churches, schools and each other. 144 clubs and shops, all but 20, will either close or "change the way they do business" to comply with the rules. (Official estimates, "Sex Crackdown Can Proceed", Newsday, 29 July 1998)

A new zoning law in New York City will force 150 of the city’s 177 strip clubs, X-rated video parlors and peep shows out of the Times Square commercial district. The new law makes it illegal for adult businesses to be within 500 feet of a church, school, residential neighborhood or each other. It also prescribes 500 parcels of land, many of them in remote industrial parts of the city's outer boroughs, where adult business will have to relocate. ("Zoning law threatens adult business Times Square could lost most of its red-light district if its enforced in city," Milwaukee Sentinel & Journal, 3 March 1998)

In July 1998, New York city lawyers asked a judge to close Show World, an adult establishment, along with two adult video stores, NRS and Les Hommes, arguing they violated the new laws banning such places from operating within 500 feet (150 meters) of schools, churches, residences and each other. The judge has ruled that Show World can remain open, citing that it has done an adequate job to conform to new adult use zoning laws. (Jeanne King, "New York mayor loses a battle in war on sex shops," Reuters, 28 August 1998)

A new city ordinance to put new restrictions on adult entertainment establishments is being debated by Phoenix, Arizona City Council members. The ordinance would:

  • Prohibit performances in private areas of adult cabarets, and prohibit physical contact between dancers and cabaret customers.
  • Require cabaret dancers to register with the city and go through background checks; they would have to be cleared by police to show they had not been convicted of prostitution in the past five years.
  • Require dancers in topless clubs to be at least 21. (Chris Fiscus, "Phoenix targets sex business," Arizona Republic, 1 September 1998)

The New Jersey State Senate will vote on a bill to make prostitution a more serious crime. The second time a prostituted woman or customer is caught, they lose their driver's licenses and face up to 18 months in jail. Prior to this bill, prostitution was considered a public order offense and carried a maximum $10,000 fine. ("New Jersey News in Brief," United Press Internationa,l 25 September 1998)

Official Corruption and Collaboration

In New York City, 19 police officers have been accused of having sex with prostitutes in return for allowing a brothel to stay open in their precinct, a practice authorities say may date back 15 years. The department's Internal Affairs Bureau and the Manhattan District Attorney's office began investigating 400 officers assigned to the precinct based on tips from prostitutes (Associated Press, July 18)

The police in Phoenix, Arizona are not trained to work with women used in prostitution. Just as with abused women, police assume women "must like it" to stay. Some police officers are abusers themselves, or at least side with the abusers. When a prostituted woman is treated like a criminal, she become further isolated. ("Developing Individual Growth & New Independence Through Yourself" DIGNITY HOUSE)

Nine current and former members of the West New York, New Jersey Police Department, including the former chief of police, Alexander Oriente, are indicted in the biggst police corruption cases in New Jersey history. They are accused of accepting $600,000 in bribes to overlook prostitution and other illegal activities. (UPI, 13 January 1998)

Police paid two decoys to film having sex with two women in order to arrest them for prostitution. (Jennifer Bjorhus, "New attorneys hired in prostitution cases," The Oregonian, 15 January 1998)

A former director of operations for the Kentucky House of Representatives who admitted promoting prostitution and gambling -- sometimes from his Capitol office -- was sentenced Wednesday to three years probation. Kent Downey, 47, pleaded guilty in December to two conspiracy charges related to his business, Entertainment Outings Ltd., which organized golf outings with "hostesses" in various stages of undress. Downey's partner in the company, Witt Wisman, pleaded guilty to a related perjury charge in November. Wisman's attorney acknowledged at the time that there was improper behavior at the golf outings, including men paying women to engage in sex. Wisman was sentenced Wednesday to two years probation. (Charles Wolfe, "Ky. Employee Promoted Prostitution," Associated Press, 21 August 1998)

Sex Tourism

American men are the most numerous sex tourists in the Philippines. (Cecilia Hofmann, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Asia Pacific, "Aussie sex tours still flourishing," Associated Press, 1 October 1997)

Central America, specifically Costa Rica and Honduras, have increasingly been the target of American sex tourists. ("Arrest of Another American Sex Tourist in Costa Rica," Casa Alianza, 4 May 1998)

In two of the primary destinations for U.S. sex tourists, the Philippines and Thailand, prostitution is illegal. (Captive Daughters, "Sex Tourism: ‘Real sex with real girls, all for real cheap’")

Sex tourist, Craig Eugene Koningsmart, a retired United States military engineer from the Gulf War, was arrested by police in Costa Rican, on charges of sexually abusing a minor. ("Arrest of Another American Sex Tourist in Costa Rica," Casa Alianza, 4 May 1998)

American Nelson Jay Buhler plead guilty to sexually abusing a minor in Honduras, along with his friend Marvin Hersh who was charged with trafficking a minor from Honduras into the United States. ("Arrest of Another American Sex Tourist in Costa Rica," Casa Alianza, 4 May 1998)

An American sex tourist was sentenced to ten years in jail in Honduras for raping two Honduran boys. Daniel Gary Rounds was arrested in La Ceiba, a port town known as a center for sexual exploitation of children by foreigners, in August 1996. ("American Sex Tourist in Honduras Jailed for Raping Two Little Boys," Casa Alianza, 22 September 1998)

Five Honduran boys to testify against an American sex tourist. The boys will travel to Florida to testify to the sexual abuse they received from Marvin Hersh, a Florida University professor jailed for sexual abuse of children in Honduras, and for the trafficking of one Honduran teenage boy to Florida. One boy was approached by Hersh’s representatives and reportedly offered money if he would refuse to testify. ("Five Honduran Boys to Testify in Florida Case Against American Pedophile," Casa Alianza, 22 September 1998)

Two men, a Dane and an American, running a prostitution and pornography ring involving minors, have been arrested in the Dominican Republic. The American, Hubert Barkhasse, also ran sex tourism tours to bring American and Thai men to the Dominican Republic for the purposes of having sex with minors. (Associated Press Online, 19 September 1998)

There are more than 25 organized sex tour companies based in Miami, New York and San Diego. (Business Week magazine, Associated Press)

The Philippine Adventure Tours, of Ventura, California, website is deceptive to the casual Web site visitor. On the website in April 1999, there were encrypted words, such as girl, breast, nudity, sex, arrange and the telltale word, bar fine, which indicates to sex tourists that women are for sale for sex. (Sandra Hunnicutt, Executive Director of Captive Daughters, "Letters to the Editor About Series in Ventura Sunday Star: Lives of Last Resort by N.E. Sprengelmeyer," Ventura Sunday Star, 12 July 1998)

U.S. men going on sex tours are typically aged 35-55; and come from different backgrounds including judges, attorneys, school board, members, a father treating his son on his 18th birthday, and clergymen. (Business Week magazine, Associated Press)

"American men, more than any other nationality, frequent the Philippines on sex tours." Men involved in sex tours inevitably buy underage, prostituted girls. (New South Wales legislator Meredith Burgmann, Cecilia Hofman, "Aussie sex tours still flourishing," Associated Press, 1 October 1997)

Pornography

In 1998, the United States was the world's largest consumer of child pornography. (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, Poona Antaseeda, "Expert urges global law to end child pornography on the Internet," Bangkok Post, 3 June 1998)

The pornography industry in the United States grosses $8 billion annually. (Jennifer Bowles, "Porn Conference Gets Under Way," Associated Press, 7 August 1998)

A federal judge in Newark, New Jersey decided that imprisoned sex offenders could continue to have pornography. (Jeffrey Gold, "Sex offenders can’t be denied porn, judge rules," Associated Press, 30 June 1998)

A content analysis of Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler done between 1954 and 1978 reveals close to 4,000 images of children in sexual and violent situations. Hustler's arrival in the industry in 1972 was significant in increasing these numbers. (Susan G. Cole, "Forman leaves out lots on Flynt", Toronto NOW Magazine, 1998)

Interactive Week magazine found that about 10,000 pornographic Internet sites may be bringing in as much as $1 billion a year, mostly from customers who use credit cards to access private sites. ("X-rated sites pace online industry Techno porn," Chicago SunTimes, 24 June 1997)

More than 1/4 of households in America that own computers visit pornography web sites each month. (Bruce Ryon, vice president and chief "technical analyst" of PC Meter, "X-rated sites pace online industry Techno porn," Chicago Sun Times, 24 June 1997)

X-rated Internet sites are among the first to use expensive T3 phone lines capable of transmitting compressed, high-resolution images that appear to move naturally. Penthouse recently announced a $10 million venture offering computer video channels in a format that mimics cable television. ("X-rated sites pace online industry Techno porn," Chicago Sun Times, 24 June 1997)

"Quitting Pornography," an on-line anthology edited by Men Against Pornography (MAP), has had more than 1.75 million people visit the site since its publication in mid-1997. ("Quitting Pornography Cyberbook Logs More Than 1.75 Million Visits," 9 December 1997)

The Internet has 60,000 sites featuring pornographic material, including material that meets and exceeds the constitutional test of obscenity, including gang rape, sadomaschocism, child pornography and bestiality. (Net Nanny Software International, Michael Kelly, "If Clinton were really serious about cyberporn, he'd prosecute," Boston Globe, 4 December 1997)

The Los Angeles pornographic film industry has achieved a new economic stability since the Paula Jones sexual harassment case against President Clinton was publicized. Mr. Clinton has helped to establish the respectability of what used to be considered deviant sex. (Wall Street Journal, "President Clinton revives an industry," Richard Grenier, Columnist, Washington Times, 3 April 1998)

There are an estimated 5,000 web sites on child pornography. (Department of Justice, "Sex Criminals Online," A&E, 11 April 1998)

The American Civil Liberties Union opposes the use of ratings and blocking systems on the Internet contending that they will inevitably lead to censorship. (Tiare Rath, " ACLU paper slams filters, ratings," 7 August 1997)

Nationally, pornographic videos bring in $2 1/2 billion a year, and account for more than a quarter of all sales and rentals at the typical video store. Most of the pornography industry resides in San Fernando Valley, CA, especially in two centres of activity, Chatsworth, and Van Nuys, home to both Vivid Video and Doc Johnson’s, a maker of sex toys. One of the largest studios is Trac Tech with permanent sets made to look like a hospital, a bar, restaraunt and bedrooms. Great Western Litho, which prints the covers of hard core pornography videos, is one of Silicone Valley’s leading employers. (Adult Video News, "Giving the customer what he wants...," Economist, 14 February 1998)

Most women in pornography films earn $300 for a girl-girl scene and $400 or a boy-girl scene. ("Giving the customer what he wants...," Economist, 14 February 1998)

Amature home videos now account for between 20-33% of all adult videos made in the United States. ("Giving the customer what he wants...," Economist, 14 February 1998)

Birmingham police in the UK are concerned about the amount of child pornography on the Internet, which is increasing, and considerably larger than previously expected. West Midlands police identified 24 pedophiles distributing child pornography on the Internet in the last year. Over half of the identified have been charged and convicted with sentences from probation to two years in prison. (Detective Sergeant Uglow of West Midlands Police Paedophile and Pornography Unit, "Worry Over Internet Paedophiles", Independent-London, 20 July 1998)

200,000 images of children, including babies being raped, sodomized, or otherwise sexually abused were collected from the Internet in 20 months by New York investigators ("U.S., State officials united to fight on-line child porn," Record Northern New Jersey; 14 November 1997)

Sales of traditional soft pornography magazines such as Penthouse has decreased over the past 20 years due to competition from new pornographic magazines and in the last several years easy and cheap access to pornography on the Internet. ("Giving the customer what he wants...," Economist, 14 February 1998)

In 1996, there were 4,000-10,000 pornographic websites worth $52 million-$1 billion. ("Web’s dirty little secret: Porn sells," New York Post, 10 December 1997)

The Internet Pornography industry growth rate is so rapid that Forrester Research last week increased its estimate of the industry's revenues in 1998 from $185 million to $500 million. Even this may be conservative, with the real figure possibly closer to $1 billion. ("Some cybersex companies weaving webs of deceit," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 28 August 1998)

Anecdotal market research suggests that 40 percent of adults with an Internet connection regularly visit pornographic Internet sites. ("Some cybersex companies weaving webs of deceit," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 28 August 1998)

Between 9 and 28% of people say they have looked at a pornography website. Major search engines say between 10 and 20% of searches contain sexually explicit terms. ("Web’s dirty little secret: Porn sells," New York Post, 10 December 1997)

Publisher Larry Flynt is opening a store, "Hustler Books, Magazines and Gifts," to sell Hustler magazine in Cinncinnati, where it has been generally available since he was prosceuted on an obscenity charge 20 years ago. ("Flynt Planning to Open Ohio Store," Associated Press, 21 October 1997)

Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt's daughters, Tonya Flynt-Vega, age 32, publicly stated that her father sexually abused her from age 9-18. Under Ohio state law, she has missed the deadline for filing charges of felony sexual abuse of a minor, which is 6 years from the 18th birthday. (APWire, 29 October 1997)

Danni's Hard Drive, a pornography website has an annual income of $2.5 million. CyberErotica earns $9.6 million a year. (Dough Mohney former IPS worker, "Web’s dirty little secret: Porn sells," New York Post, 10 December 1997)

Pornographers pay actors from a few hundred to thousands of dollars per film, offer no employment benefits, and require actors to sign releases relinquishing all rights. (Deborah Hastings, Associated Press, 6 November 1997)

Searching pornography sites on the Internet has become epidemic in companies across the United States. 62% of employees of the 100 responding companies to one survey by the Elron Internet Manager access sexually explicit Internet sites during work hours. ("Sex Site Surfing in Workplace at Epidemic Level," PR Newsire, 8 June 1998)

In one month, employees at IBM, Apple and AT&T spent the equivalent of 1,631-work days- 13,048 hours- on the site for Penthouse magazine. (A.C. Nielsen survey, Shelley Donald Coolidge, Christian Science Monitor, 1997)

Pornography sites were some of the most popular among employees of the Salt River Project, Phoenix, Arizona in 1994. ("Latest corporate challenge: Cyberloafing," Cinncinnati Post, 2 September 1997)

In 1996, Penthouse identified employees of AT&T as being among the most frequent visitors to the Penthouse Web site. ("Latest corporate challenge: Cyberloafing," Cinncinnati Post, 2 September 1997)

One in four corporate computers contain some form of pornographic material including some instances of child pornography. (Digital Detective Services data over 11 months and 150 individual investigations, Business Writeers/ Legal Writers, "Digital Detective Services Determines That One in Four Office Computers Contains Pornographic Materials," Business Wire, 30 September 1997)

In 1997, the pornography industry started a campaign to make pornography family-friendly. Women from pornography films spoke throughout the country in defense of the American family. They said they were pro-family and pro-monogamy. (Richard Grenier, Columnist, Washington Times, 3 April 1998)

Project Special Delivery, conducted by the US Postal Service dismantled the largest child pornography business in U.S. history. More than 90 people have been convicted. Pornography was made with boys as young as 7 in Mexico. The images were reproduced in a condo in San Diego and shipped across the country. The leader of the operation, 47-year-old Troy Anthony Frank, who had been convicted of molesting a child in Greeley, Colorado, fled to the Netherlands and then Mexico. He committed suicide shortly after authorities told him to turn himself in. (Cala Byram, "Feds working to stamp out child porn", Deseret News, 8 August, 1998)

A pornography network based in Tijuana, Mexico, was using Newark phone lines to ship child pornography to more than 2,000 Internet users. (U.S. Customs Service, Newark, "U.S., State officials united to fight on-line child porn," Record Northern New Jersey; 14 November 1997)

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a local group, Mainstream Loudoun, is suing a library’s trustees over the use of blocking software which would deny access to material deemed harmful to juveniles. ("Battle over Net access at library ACLU suing in Virginia; porn ban blocks other sites," San Francisco Examiner, 14 July 1998)

The American Association of University Women joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other pro-pornography groups in filing a law suit against a Loudoun Country, Virginia to prevent the installation of anti-pornography software filters on computers in the library. They claimed the filter would block access to their web site. ("Web Filters Curb Free Speech," Record Northern New Jersey, 30 March 1998)

There are as many as 28,000 "adult sites" on the Internet. Adult online entertainment will generate $185 million in 1998, compared to $137 million in 1997 and $101 million in 1996. (Tim Blangger, "X-Rated E-Mail Web Pornography A Money-Making Nuisance", Allentown Morning Call, 28 July 1998)

The problem of Internet spam, which advertises pornography, is especially acute on America Online. AOL has 12 million members, and spammers actively targeting the membership. AOL handles about 30 million e-mails a day, between 5 and 30 percent is spam. Since September, AOL has filed more than 30 lawsuits against spammers. (Jim Whitney AOL spokesperson, Tim Blangger, "X-Rated E-Mail Web Pornography A Money-Making Nuisance", Allentown Morning Call, 28 July 1998)

A documentary of Shohei Imamura’s 4-decade career of film work, including debauchery, prostitution, incest, infanticide, pornography, fetishism, murder, rape, voyuerism, exploitation etc., is being showcased at the Museum of Fine Arts in January 1998. (Peter Keough, "Prince of porno: The debauchery and debasement of Shoheu Imamura, ‘Pigs, Pimps, and Pornograohers: The Films of Shohei Imamura’," the Boston Phoenix, 23 January 1998)

Child molesters use sophisticated techniques to lure children and try to show them that sex between an adult and child is OK. There is a computer technique that allows a pornographic image to be hidden within another file that is not at all detectable to another viewer. ("Internet child porn is topic of seminar," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 19 August 1998)

A new Internet marketing tool, increasingly used on violent and sexually explicit Web Sites, disables Internet browser options such as the "back," "exit," or "close" buttons to make it difficult to escape the site. Anyone browsing the Web may find him/herself trapped in front of a screen portraying pornography or violence, and unable to escape following conventional directions. In some cases, the only exit option for the user is to shut down the computer. ("Violent and sexually explicit web sites hold surfers’ hostage," PR Newswire, 1 September 1998)

In a sampling of 35 sites containing explicit material, the National Institute on Media and the Family staff found that 34% were designed to make it difficult to leave. In some sites, clicking an escape function opened additional windows. In other cases, the windows had been stripped of the standard navigation tool bar that makes it difficult or impossible to navigate out of the site. ("Violent and sexually explicit web sites hold surfers’ hostage," PR Newswire, 1 September 1998)

The Playboy on-line website receives 65 million monthly page views. There was a 38% increase in page views between April and September 1998. Playboy on-line’s demographic is 18-34 year old males. ("Playboy.com: They’re Coming for the Articles. Really," MINs New Media, 14 September 1998)

Unlike Penthouse on-line, which uses the Net to exploit the pornography market even further with its website consisting of virtually all sexual content, Playboy on-line is becoming more editorially oriented linking its site to news stories. ("Playboy.com: They’re Coming for the Articles. Really," MINs New Media, 14 September 1998)

Playboy on-line has a CyberClub site, where it displays explicit adult images for a fee, linked to its free website. 1,300 people signed up for the pay site in August 1998 alone. ("Playboy.com: They’re Coming for the Articles. Really," MINs New Media, 14 September 1998)

Playboy merchandise, video and music catalogs generate $15 million each quarter, and should increase due to electronic commerce. Playboy just announced close alliances with eight online vendors (including Amazon.com, My-CD.com, and Classifieds2000) that involve up-front payments as well as revenue and ad splits from a series of planned links and co-branded storefronts. Corporate president, Christie Hefner, believes that online promises higher profit margins than TV, whose up-front investment costs and distribution hassles are minimized by the Web. Convergence technologies, for instance, will gain acceptance in high-income areas and the hotel market, and Playboy targets both. ("Playboy.com: They’re Coming for the Articles. Really," MINs New Media, 14 September 1998)

Statistics on Pornography: 

  • In 1997, 697 million X-rated movies were rented (up from 75 million in 1985), accounting for most of the $4.2 billion spent by Americans on adult video sales or rentals.
  • 75-85 major production companies of pornographic films produced nearly 8,000 new films in 1997, roughly 150 each week.
  • Americans spend a totally of $10 billion annually on pornographic videos, peep shows, adult cable and cybersex.
  • Polls indicate that most Americans support anti-pornography efforts by the government and non-governmental organizations, such as Enough Is Enough, Morality in Media, and the American Family Association.
  • The average annual number of federal obscenity prosecutions fell from 58 between 1987 and 1992 to 24 between 1993 and 1996, and in that time the Justice Department consistently rejected more than three-quarters of the obscenity cases referred to it by other agencies.
  • Half of the cases pursued by the Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, since 1992, have been for failure to pay child-support, ignoring other crimes such as child pornography.
  • Internet pornography provides access to pornography to consumers who would normally not have access or have limited access to it, and its use by males, particularly adolescents, can severely warp perceptions and expectations about sex, with women suffering the demeaning consequences.
  • People within the pornography industry have become seriously ill from their work in the industry. The industry has testing procedures for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, for its roughly 400 professional performers, and the use of condoms in X- rated films is up. In the spring of 1997, five actors, four women and a man, tested HIV positive. Less than 10 other porn performers have tested HIV positive (including industry legend John Holmes, who died of AIDS in 1988 while serving prison time for murder). ("The Gangs Behind Bars," Insight Magazine, 28 September 1998)

Cases

Stanley Burkhardt, former head of child pornography cases for New Orleans Police Department was arrested a second time on child pornography charges. He was found with child pornography images and with a 12-year-old boy whom he is under investigation for possible molestation. ("Ex-Policeman Arrested On Porn Charges", Reuters, 13 April 1998)

Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, and his brother Jimmy Flynt, was indicted by a Cincinnati, Ohio grand jury on charges of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, pandering obscenity, conspiracy and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. The counts stem from a situation in which a 14-year-old boy allegedly bought hard-core pornographic videos from Flint’s newly opened downtown bookstore. Flynt was charged with similar offenses in 1977 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. An appellate court overturned that verdict in 1979. ("Flynt indicted again in Cinncinnati," UPI, 7 April 1998)

Nearly 400 explicit child pornography photos have been seized from a United States truck on its way into Alberta, Canada. The truck driver has been charged with importing and possession of pornography. (Kelly Harris, "Child Porn Found in Truck," Calgary Sun, 21 April 1998)

A male escort, John Frank Sklar Jr, made more than 300 pornographic videos. He used mirrors and other devices to secretly videotape sex involving him, other men and children from a local school. ("Male escort probe centers on sex tapes," UPI, 2 March 1998)

Police found more than 10,000 images of pornography, including child pornography on work computers used by Allen J. Sander, director of public works in Arlington Heights, Chicago. (Becky Beaupre, "Village official dismissed over child porn case," Chicago Sun Times, 15 April 1998)

Donald C. Johnson, a dentist in Tulsa Oklahoma was discovered to have taken more than 140 pornographic pictures of himself with his young drugged patients, some as young as 4. (Associated Press, 9 August 1998)

David Asimov was arrested in February after technicians working on his computer allegedly found computer pictures of child pornography. The case was turned over to federal authorities because of possible international connections. Police found one of the largest collections of child pornography they had ever seen, which included 4,000 videotapes and video copying equipment. ("US authorities to take Asimov child porn case", Reuters, 23 July 1998)

Former Internet service provider, Scott Cunningham, 21, was arrested for downloading, copying and categorizing a thousand images of child pornography. He labelled and categorized photos of children engaging in sexual activities with other children and with adults according to the children's ages and sexual activity. He was fined $500. ("Man fined for downloading child porn: Former Internet provider said he got images of kids while searching for adults," Milwaukee Sentinel & Journal," 20 January 1998)

Bruno Gradisca, plead guilty to sending child pornography on the Internet. He had 1,000 pornographic images, 150-200 child pornography on his computer and sent at least two of them to someone he thought was a 14 girl. He was entenced to three years in prison. ("Adison man gets three years in prison in Internet porn cases," Chicago Daily Herald, 12 January 1998)

5,000 pornographic images were found on Russell Boyd’s home computer. He was indicted on charges of distributing child pornography over the Internet, impersonating a FBI agent and manufacturing FBI credentials and clothing. ("Man indicted on charges of distributing child pornography over Internet," Dallas Morning News," 16 March 1998)

Retired Military Officer, James Bruce Ritchie plead guilty to possession of child pornography including 1,350 images and 671 stories, some of which he wrote himself. ("Man Guilty On Porn Count," Globe & Mail, 16 August 1997)

Actress Alyssa Milano filed two lawsuits against owners of several websites that have naked pictures of her. Many of these types of pictures are falsified from paparazzi pictures. One of the defendants, John Lindgren, of nudecelebrity.com claims to make $10,000 a month from the site. ("US suit exposes cyber-pirate's naked ambition," Guardian, 29 April 1998)

A male prison inmate in Minnesota, who is serving a 23-year sentence for child molestation has been convicted of trafficking and possessing child pornography via the Internet. US Congress Representative Deborah Pyrce has proposed a bill to prevent federal prisoners from having unsupervised access to child pornography on the Internet. ("Bills Aim At Keeping Predators of the Net," Columbus Dispatch, 1 May 1998)

Traver Ledon Wren of Salem, Orgeon was arrested, and later convicted, of possession of child pornography when he was caught crossing the Canadian border with computer disks containing more than 17,000 graphic images and text files. ("US trucker held in child porn case," United Press International, 25 March 1998)

George Chamberlain, in prison under a 23-year sentence since 1979 for molesting girls, was convicted of using the Internet to collect child pornography in order to trade it. Chamberlain possessed a CD-ROM disc with 280 pictures of child pornography. The password for entry to information on the disc was "they cannot commit me". ("Man used Internet for Porn," Associated Press, 4 September 1997)

John Grabenstetter, a Swiss citizen was arrested for trading in child pornography, consisting of thousands of images of young children being tortured, raped and sexually abused. He advertised "Pictures from our new Lolita CD-ROM" for $120 on the Internet. When he flew to the U.S. to sell 250 CD-ROMs, he was arrested. He was sentenced to 7 years 3 months in jail. ("Throwing the Book at a Kiddie Porn King," Buffalo News, 8 April 1998)

A San Francisco man was arrested on federal charges for having sex with his ten-year-old daughter after he posted photos of the acts on the Internet. ("Net photos lead to Man’s Arrest," Associated Press, 10 February 1998)

Mark F. Delvin was fined $2,000 and sentenced 366 days in prison for trading in child pornography. The mandatory sentence is 21 months. His online name was "DaddysBig". (Jim Smith, "Man jailed for trading Internet child porn: ‘DaddysBig’ was his e-mail moniker," Philadelphia Inquirer," 6 February 1998)

Milford Rae Willis pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography for taking pictures of girls feet and posting them on the Internet. Willis charged $50 for video tapes on his website "the Young Foot Lovers Adoration Society". The victims included 15 local children. Investigators found 7,000 pictures of children ages 3 - 16 on his computer, which he had downloaded from the Internet; 100 of them were pornographic. He was sentenced to two years in prison for wire fraud and child pornography. ("Eagle River Man Pleads Guilty in Child Porn Cases," Anchorage Daily News, 26 January 1998) & ("Foot Fetish Lands Man In Prison, Sergeant Posted Girls’ Images on the Internet," Anchorage Daily News, 27 March 1998)

Manuel Cruz, 43, and Kenneth H. Rice, 34, were arrested in August 1998 at their offices by local police and members of the Bergen County (New Jersey) Prosecutor's Office sex crimes unit. Cruz and Rice "were in possession of photographs depicting a young teenage boy engaged in various sex acts," authorities said. The boy lives in Cuba and apparently was photographed there. Each suspect posted $10,000 bond and was released. (Elise Young, "Tip leads to child pornography charges," New Jersey Record, 21 August 1998)

A man accused of running a child pornography site on the Internet confessed to sexually abusing several young girls over the past two decades. Chicago Ridge police are trying to corroborate the confession by 38- year-old Michael Katz, a former Chicago school council member charged in August 1998 with running a computer bulletin board that features child pornography. ("Illinois Second News Briefs," United Press International, 27 August 1998)

A 58-year-old New Hampshire man has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for interstate receipt of child pornography by a federal court in Concord, N.H. Donald Maclaren, also known as Donald Larouche of Ware, got an enhanced sentence because he had sexually assaulted members of his family. ("New Hampshire man sentenced," United Press International, 28 August 1998)

More than 300 videotapes of child pornography and a computer filled with child pornography downloaded from the Internet was found at the home of an Air Force staff sergeant in San Antonio, Texas. The man’s house was searched as part of a suit against Big Brothers, Big Sisters of San Antonio. That suit alleges the man sexually assaulted two young boys. ("Suit targets Big Brothers, Big Sisters," United Press International, 27 August 1998)

A 50-year-old child pornographer from Flour Bluff, near Corpus Christi, Texas, is beginning a nearly 500-year prison sentence after suddenly deciding to admit to molesting five girls. Former real estate agent Jeffrey Orr was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to almost 200 separate counts. Among them were four counts of aggravated sexual assault and 150 counts of possession of child pornography. (United Press International, 3 September 1998)

CompuServe, an Internet Service Provider (ISP), was found liable for obscene material on its web pages. A United States court found that an ISP’s liability for obscene material on its web pages increases with higher levels of monitoring, because the ISP is seen to be exercising more control over the information published on its server. (Andrew Beattie, "Crackdown on pornography raises prosecution fears," Scotsman, 9 September 1998)

99 counts of child pornography have been leveled against a Falconer (New York) sex offender, Richard G. Peterson, arrested in April 1998 after investigators found pictures and videos on his computer. 18 of the counts involved sending images over the Internet to investigators working for state attorney general's office. The other 81 counts came after agents completed a forensic examination of Peterson's computer during the summer of 1998. Some of the images depicted children as young as 7 engaging in sex acts with adults. Peterson, who remained free on $25,000 bail after pleading not guilty, pleaded guilty in 1989 to sodomizing a 6-year-old girl. He was sentenced in that case to six months' probation. ("Man indicted in Internet porn case," Buffalo News, 9 September 1998)

Three suspects in the Wonderland Internet child pornography ring have killed themselves since being implicated in police raids in September 1998 raids. The men were from Texas, Connecticut, and Colorado. (United Press International, 14 September 1998)

Continental Airlines must pay $875,000 in damages to a female pilot who said she repeatedly complained about pornography strewn about the cockpits. [Jeffrey Gold, "Jury Finds for Pilot in Plane Porn," Associated Press, 16 October 1997)

NGO Action

In order to combat victimization of children over the Internet, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) started the CyberTipline, (www.missingkids.com/cybertip), a web page enabling citizens to report incidents of suspicious or illegal Internet activity, including the distribution of child pornography online or situations involving the online enticement of children for sexual exploitation, in March 1998. Between March - September 1998, NCMEC has reported to law enforcement more than 2,300 leads pertaining to child sexual exploitation via the Internet, including 1,653 incidents of child pornography. ("We must make the Internet safer for our kids," Virginian Pilot Ledger Star, 12 September 1998)

Official Response and Action

United States Customs special agents arrested 65 people for trafficking or possessing child pornography in the period from 1 October 1997 to 30 March 1998. 57 People were convicted of those crimes. ("Combating Child Pornography: U.S. Customs Service Arrests 65 in First Half of FY-98," PR Newswire, 28 April 1998)

United States Customs special agents arrested 145 people and 162 convictions on child pornography and related charges from the period of 1 October 1996 to 30 September 1997. ("Combating Child Pornography: U.S. Customs Service Arrests 65 in First Half of FY-98," PR Newswire, 28 April 1998)

United States Customs has trained several hundred foreign law enforcement officers in more than 50 countries, and several thousand local, state, and federal officials in computer child pornography investigations. ("Combating Child Pornography: U.S. Customs Service Arrests 65 in First Half of FY-98," PR Newswire, 28 April 1998)

A new zoning law in New York City will ban pornography shops from residential areas and most business districts. It is projected that the law, implemented in April 1998, will reduce the number of shops from nearly 200 to 20. (Mayor Giuliani, "Sex businesses get reprieve until April," United Press International, 17 March 1998)

A 1996 law makes it a felony, punishable by ten years in prison, to transmit or possess sexually explicit digital or video materials featuring a person who is a minor or looks under the age of 18. The law makes it a crime to create fake pictures of children who are nude or in seemingly sexual situations. The law aims to deter pedophiles by outlawing computer-generated images of an "apparent" minor engaged in sexual activity. Pro-pornography free speech advocates, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, opposed the law. (Courtney Macavinta, " Battle over simulated child porn," 8 August 1997)

U.S. Congress gave the Federal Bureau of Investigation an addition $10 million in the 1998 budget for the Innocent Images program, a nationwide initiative to combat child pornography on the Internet and the sexual exploitation of children. The program, started in 1995, has led to 161 arrests and 184 convictions to date (March 1998). (Louis Freeh, FBI director, "FBI Signals Child Porn Warning," Associated Press, 10 March 1998)

Internet provider CompuServe (CSRV) announced that it will segregate its site, cordoning off the pornography content and putting it into an area that is intended to be out of the reach of children. (Janet Kornblum, " CompuServe creates adults-only forum," 23 July 1997)

Most law enforcement agencies do not have the money or staff to dedicate an entire unit to investigating Internet pornography, said Michael T. Geraghty of the New Jersey state police. ("Internet child porn is topic of seminar", Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 19 August 1998) 

In 1996, a pornography ring operating from a north Fort Worth home was broken up through cooperation between Fort Worth vice squad detectives and Dallas' child exploitation unit. The case took about six months to solve and the officers "had to learn as they went along" because of their lack of experience with computers. They were also hampered by the department's limited computer equipment. Police received a tip from an Internet user in California about the Fort Worth Web site that solicited child pornography. The Dallas child exploitation unit is the only one of its kind in North Texas.("Internet child porn is topic of seminar," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 19 August 1998)

Combating sexual exploitation of children on the Internet will increase as Dallas police receive a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Missing and Exploited Children's Program. The one-year grant will pay for a full-time detective, a full-time prosecutor and a part-time Sheriff's Department investigator. The money also will be used to buy computer equipment and pay for prevention and training programs. The funds will supplement the existing Dallas Police Department-Federal Bureau of Investigation Crimes Against Children Task Force. ("City to get U.S. aid to boost Internet child-porn battle," Dallas Morning News, 16 September 1998)

By August 1998, 13 illegal adult entertainment establishments closed due to court orders, and more than 20 others voluntarily closed. In Times Square few sex shops remain where more than 100 once stood. New York City mayor Guiliani is fighting pornography, peep shows and adult video stores as part of his efforts to improve the city's quality of life. (Jeanne King, "New York mayor loses a battle in war on sex shops," Reuters, 28 August 1998)

The U.S. Customs Service executed 32 Federal search and seizure warrants on September 2, 1998, in 22 states around the United States to search for evidence in an investigation of a worldwide child pornography trading ring that involves more than 100 suspects in 14 countries around the world. The investigation is part of a global investigation that stems from information the U.S. Customs Service developed during a highly publicized 1996 investigation of a child pornography trading and molestation ring. ("U.S. Customs conducts 32 raids in 22 states," PR Newswire, 2 September 1998)

Child pornography arrests, indictments, and convictions by United States Custom Service:

  • Arrests of 183 individuals on charges relating to the possession, manufacture and/or distribution of child pornography, between the beginning of Fiscal Year (FY) 1998 on October 1, 1997 to July 31, 1998 (the most current data available).
  • 189 individuals have been convicted so far during FY 1999 and 181 indictments have been returned.
  • Arrests 173 individuals on child pornography charges, 158 indictments, and 178 convictions in FY-97.

*(Figures do not correspond on a one-to-one basis due to the multi-year nature of investigations, arrests, and the judicial process of prosecution.) ("U.S. Customs conducts 32 raids in 22 states," PR Newswire, 2 September 1998)

The Internet Alliance, the leading trade association representing the Internet online industry, announced its strong support for the United States Customs Service's crackdown on an international child pornography trading ring. ("Internet Alliance applauds U.S. crackdown on global child porn ring," PR Newswire, 2 September 1998)

Between September 1997 and September 1998, more than one dozen people have been charged with forcefully trying to lure children over the Internet to meetings for purposes of sexual activity in investigations by the special investigations division at the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office that oversees a high-tech crime unit. The typical profile of those dozen arrested is that of a middle-aged man. ("Child pornographers increasingly using the Internet," Patriot Ledger Quincy MA, 4 September 1998)

Project T.I.P. (Turn off the Internet Pornography), a program that teaches children and parents how to avoid the pitfalls of the Internet, was started in 1997 by Holbrook, Massachusetts police. ("Child pornographers increasingly using the Internet," Patriot Ledger Quincy MA, 4 September 1998)

Internet child pornography is being investigated by the New York State Attorney General’s Buffalo office in Operation Rip Cord. As of September 1998, the investigation has resulted in 32 arrests for sending child pornography over the Internet and dozens of referrals to prosecutors outside the state and country. ("Man indicted in Internet porn case," Buffalo News, 9 September 1998)

34 arrests and 11 convictions, stemming from a New York state investigation into Internet child pornography, have occurred in 1997 and 1998. In "Operation Ripcord," undercover officers visit Web sites while posing as pedophiles. ("Two Hamburg men charged with Internet child pornography," Buffalo News, 12 September 1998)

In order to help states fight computer related crimes against children, the Department of Justice made $2.4 million dollars in 1998. ("State gets help fighting Net pedophiles Wisconsin to get $297,248 to crack down on online crimes involving children," Milwaukee Sentinel & Journal, 16 September 1998)

10 Wisconsin child enticement cases have been linked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the Internet between 1997-1998. Authorities suspect there are more; they expect such crimes to multiply with the surging use and availability of the Internet technology. ("State gets help fighting Net pedophiles Wisconsin to get $297,248 to crack down on online crimes involving children," Milwaukee Sentinel & Journal, 16 September 1998)

Official Corruption and Collaboration

A child pornography sting run by Buffalo police has identified 1,500 pedophiles in 32 states and several foreign countries. They have convicted 24 paedophiles and arrested more than 30 people, including a former school board member in Texas, a Boy Scout leader in Washington State and a director of a Denver children's foundation. ("Throwing the Book at a Kiddie Porn King," Buffalo News, 8 April 1998)

Policy and Law

Rejecting arguments by 600 pornography distributors under the name "Free Speech Coalition" and the American Civil Liberties Union, a federal judge in San Francisco upheld an expanded federal child pornography law that bans computer-generated sexual images of children and pornography featuring adults depicted as minors. (Bob Egelko, "Judge Upholds Computer Porn Law," Associated Press, 12 August 1997)

Pornography is freely available to men in prison in the United States. U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin ruled a law that could have banned pornography from Federal prisons unconstitutional in 1997. (Jennifer Rothacker, Associated Press, 1997)

Maxicare insurance of Los Angeles has decided to provide health insurance for people involved in the estimated $10 billion annual pornography business. ("A pornographic primer for health-care reform," San Antonio Express-News, 26 May 1998)

In July 1998, the United States Senate approved a measure that would require schools and libraries with federally subsidized Internet access to install software to filter out sites inappropriate for children, such sites with pornographic material. The Senate measure would require libraries to install filtering software on just one computer and would require filters on all school computers that students use. Some have said that the filters do not work well and block access to legitimate sites, such as those dealing with breast cancer. ("Senators split on effort to filter Net for kids," Milwaukee Sentinel & Journal, 24 August 1998)

In July 1998, the United States Senate voted to require Web sites to restrict to adults access to commercial material unsuitable for minors. Web providers could do that through credit card or personal identification numbers. ("Senators split on effort to filter Net for kids," Milwaukee Sentinel & Journal, 24 August 1998)

In Massachusetts, possession of child pornography a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Possessing child pornography on the Internet carries the same charge as possessing photographs, videotapes or other pornographic material exploiting children. Distributing child pornography carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines. The law also applies to child pornography traded over the Internet. The law was passed in December 1997. ("Child pornographers increasingly using the Internet," Patriot Ledger Quincy MA, 4 September 1998)

The Child Online Protection Act (H.R. 3783) was marked up by a House of Representatives Commerce subcommittee September 17, 1998. H.R. 3783, derided by free speech advocates as a successor the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in 1997, was sponsored by Representative Michael Oxley, Republican-Ohio. Like the CDA, it includes language that would impose penalties on Web site operators and companies that traffic in material deemed "indecent" by Congress. Specifically, the bill seeks to prohibit material that is "harmful to minors." The bill does not target e-mail or chat rooms, merely the World Wide Web and does not hold telecommunications providers and Internet service providers responsible for content that is transmitted by its members over their networks. The bill will be moved to the full Commerce Committee, which may vote it through to the full house floor.

The bill is opposed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection feels there is "room for improvement." (Robert MacMillan, "House Subcommittee debates child online protections," Newsbytes, 17 September 1998)

A bill to control Internet pornography was approved by the House Commerce subcommittee on telecommunications, trade and consumer protection by voice vote and sent to the full committee for further review on 17 September 1998. The bill would require operators of commercial Web sites to restrict minors’ access to "harmful" material. Internet service providers would escape liability for adult-oriented material they do not produce, but they would be required to inform consumers about devices available commercially to block children's access to material "harmful to minors." ("Internet porn bill clears House panel," Springfield Journal-Register, 18 September 1998)

The House Commerce Committee approved the bill, which takes a narrower approach than the 1996 Communications Decency Act struck down by the Supreme Court as an unconstitutional restraint on freedom of speech. The bill outlaws the display of material deemed "harmful to minors" only where children could see it on commercial World Wide Web sites. Web visitors would have to prove they were adults, by presenting a credit card for example, to gain access to such material. The bill will go to the full House of Representatives where rapid approval is expected. The measure would still have to be reconciled with a similar bill approved by the Senate in July 1998 before being sent to President Clinton for final enactment. Civil liberties groups remained unsatisfied with the revised approach. ("Congress pushes new anti-porn law for Internet," Reuters, 25 September 1998)

The new Internet pornography bill in the House of Representatives is being criticized by civil liberties groups, including People for the American Way, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the Free Speech Coalition, a trade organization of the adult-entertainment industry. Groups argue that the bill violates people’s First Amendment rights and limits how persons use the Internet. The bill only applies to material that is posted on sites that use HTTP protocol, thus material may still be transmitted through chat groups and FTP sites and BBS and Usenet activities. The groups are calling for better education for parents and children on safe Internet use as well as the promotion of filters that block a child’s access to certain sections of the Internet, instead of new legislation that is being called ineffective and too broad in its definitions and scope. American Online (AOL) has built-in restrictions (a type of filter) that parents may use and the company has had the percentage of users of this service double between late1997-September 1998, to 58% of users with children aged 6-17. (Deborah Scoblionkov, "Congress' new Internet smut bill fires up critics," Reuters, 25 September 1998)

Organized and Institutionalized Violence and Sexual Exploitation

A woman is attacked every 15 seconds. One third of women admitted to emergency rooms are victims of domestic violence. 47% of men who beat their spouses do so at least three times a year. (United Nations Study, "UN proposes pact on family violence," ALC News Service, 24 July 1998)

Organizations for child molestors have websites that tell them where to make contact with children such as public schools, and have links to websites where children post messages and personal information. ("Prepared Testimony of Officer Anonymous Before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation," Federal News Service, 11 February 1998)

In shopping malls, on subway trains and at amusement parks, men are pointing video cameras under the clothes of unsuspecting women. Upskirt" and "downblouse" tapes often end up on the Internet, where anyone over 18 can legally view and buy them. Since 1996, the number of voyeur Web sites has grown from just a handful to more than 100. (Deborah Hastings, "Peeping Toms Using Video Cameras", Associated Press Online, 9 August, 1998)

The United Nations Special Rappateur on Violence Against Women received very serious allegations of sexual abuse of women prisoners in Florence Crane Women’s Facility, Coldwater, Michigan, Camp Branch Facility for Women, Coldwater, Michigan, and Scott Correctional Facility for Women, Plymouth, Michigan. She also received serious allegations of sexual abuse of women occurring in the security housing unit of the Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, California. (United Nations Press Release, 19 June 1998)

Teenage girls get gonorrhea about 1.5 times as often as teenage boys in the United States. Girls between 10 and 14 have 4 times the rate of gonorrhea, as do boys. The rates were 79.3 girls positive per 100,000 versus 19.4 boys positive per 100,000. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist Amanda Sue Niskar reports statistics from 1992 to 1994, "Girls Get Gonorrhea More Often Than Boys," Washington Times, 18 July 1997)

300,000 children are being sexually abused in the US. (Fernando Toledo, Inter-American Institute for Children)

The North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) has an estimated membership of 1000 ("Boy's murder casts light on fringe advocacy group," Peter S. Canellos, Boston Globe, 9 Oct 1997)

There are 9,484 registered sex offenders of whom 715 are sexual predators in Florida. (Phil Long, "Duval police hunt child molester," Miami Herald, 28 January 1998)

$23 million was paid by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas, Texas to 8 former alter boys who were sexually abused for years by Rudolph Kos, a priest. The RCC has paid $800 million in the 1990s to victims of sexual abuse by priests. (Rene Sanchez, "Dallas diocese in huge abuse settlement," The Providence Journal, 11 July 1998)

More than 200 Roman Catholic priests have been jailed in the 1990s for the sexual abuse of children. As many as 2,000 of the 51,000 priests in the US have been accused of sexual abuse in the last 2 decades. (Rene Sanchez, "Dallas diocese in huge abuse settlement," the Providence Journal, 11 July 1998)

The Rene Guyon Society, the North American Man/Boy Love Association, the Pedophile Information Exchange, the Child Sensuality Circle, the Pedo-Alert Network, and the Lewis Carroll Collector's Guild are groups that advocate heterosexual and homosexual adult-child sex and deciminalization of these acts. (FBI Special Agent Kenneth V. Lanning, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, "Boy's murder casts light on fringe advocacy group," Peter S. Canellos, Boston Globe, 9 Oct 1997)

Victimization of children over the Internet is rapidly increasing according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). ("We must make the Internet safer for our kids," Virginian Pilot Ledger Star, 12 September 1998)

Since 1993, harassment and abuse on the Internet has increased dramatically. For example, in the early 1990s at the University of Michigan, campus police received five or six computer harassment cases a year, n they handle that many a week. Experts say most computer harassment cases are pranks or nuisances, driven by the increase in use of the Internet and because of the anonymity the Internet offers. Most police departments, especially those in smaller communities, have no computer experts to investigate computer harassment. Federal laws govern many computer crimes like those dealing with fraud, child pornography and exploitation, but federal authorities are reluctant to enter the arena of Internet harassment and abuse. Computer crimes are often untraceable, thus it is hard to enforce criminal laws. If police establish that a case of computer harassment is a crime, they generally have to act very quickly to trace the perpetrator because many Internet service providers purge important information between five and 30 days. Most providers will not give authorities information on their clients without a warrant and some -- those based in foreign countries -- won't even do that. Even if the perpetrator can be tracked down, police agencies must decide if the crime is serious enough to pursue. ("Police departments not equipped to deal with cyber stalkers," Detroit News, 16 September 1998)

Juvenile Offender Programs

Girls in San Francisco Bay Area (California) detention halls, are in for such minor crimes as running away or abusing alcohol and drugs, which they often commit to escape being victims of sexual and physical violence at home and abuse by pimps and other predators on the street. Officials in several Bay Area counties would like to invest in detention alternatives -- treatment for physical abuse and addiction, and job skills training -- to help the girls overcome the underlying problems that get them repeatedly locked up. The emotional trauma that fuels girls' trouble with the law makes it very challenging to help them. (Alan Gathright, "Girl inmates pose problem," San Jose Mercury News)

Across the San Francisco (California) Bay Area over the past decade, the number of girls admitted to juvenile halls has grown more than twice as fast as the number of boys. In several counties, the number of boys declined from 1988 to 1997, while the number of girls increased by as much as 92% in San Mateo County. In California, the number of girls rose 34% in that period, while the number of boys rose 18%. (Alan Gathright, "Girl inmates pose problem," San Jose Mercury News)

San Mateo County (California) makes more use of "therapeutic detention", briefly jailing probation violators for minor offenses, than other San Francisco Bay Area counties with similar populations. Girls are in the hall because they run away from home, live on the streets, or have sexual relations with older me, all of which places them in harm’s way. Placing them in juvenile hall is a means of protecting the girls. (Alan Gathright, "Girl inmates pose problem," San Jose Mercury News)

About 46% of almost 1,000 girls had a record of abuse or neglect in their case files, found researchers in a groundbreaking study of girls in California juvenile halls in Alameda, Marin, Los Angeles and San Diego counties. When researchers interviewed nearly 200 of those girls, the numbers were even higher:

  • 80% reported being physically abused
  • 56% reported being sexually abused
  • more than 45 % reported being beaten or burned
  • 40% had been raped
  • 25% had been shot or stabbed
  • Girls were most vulnerable between age 12 and 15 to their first experiences of being sexually abused, shot or stabbed, engaging in substance abuse, school failure, running away or giving birth.
  • Girls, far more than boys, are arrested for juvenile "status offenses" - breaking curfew, running away, truancy - acts that are only illegal because the offender is under 18.
  • Most intensive programs for girl offenders begin after these problems have started, rather than earlier when they might have been prevented.
  • Prevention services are recommended to target girls by age 5, when many report first being molested.

"The almost universal characteristic of girls in the juvenile justice system is a history of violent victimization," said Leslie Acoca, the senior researcher on the study by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency in San Francisco. "When a child is molested they learn to not trust anyone; they don't form relationships well. So, they frequently run away from home or from out-of-home placements, that violates probation and they end up back in juvenile hall," said Deberah Bringelson, executive director of the San Mateo County Criminal Justice Council. (Alan Gathright, "Girl inmates pose problem," San Jose Mercury News)

In California, girl-offender programs are at a disadvantage in vying with the mostly male juvenile population for funding. In August 1998, Governor Pete Wilson vetoed a bill funding $15 million in state challenge grants to encourage counties to create specialized programs for female offenders. Wilson said it duplicated an existing juvenile grant program that allows local governments to decide whether to fund programs serving girls or boys. He added that he feared the bill "disproportionately" earmarked half the juvenile grant funding for girls, who are responsible for only 23% of offenses committed by juveniles. (Alan Gathright, "Girl inmates pose problem," San Jose Mercury News)

Nationally, 1 in 4 minors arrested is female, making them the faster-growing segment of the United States juvenile system. Girl offenders have long been invisible in a juvenile justice system designed for a largely male population. (Alan Gathright, "Girl inmates pose problem," San Jose Mercury News)

A quarter of girls arrested nationally in 1996 were arrested for status offenses, - breaking curfew, running away, truancy - acts that are only illegal because the offender is under 18. This type of arrest accounted for less than 10% of boys' arrests in the same year. Girls composed 57% of runaway arrests in 1996, even though research surveys show that boys and girls run away in equal numbers. (Alan Gathright, "Girl inmates pose problem," San Jose Mercury News)

A 1974 federal law encouraged authorities to divert status offenders to alternative programs, so detention halls are reserved for criminals who pose a danger to themselves or the public. Still, girls on probation for crimes such as petty theft or public drunkenness can be jailed for chronically running away, skipping school or breaking curfew. (Alan Gathright, "Girl inmates pose problem," San Jose Mercury News)

Cases

Mike Leavitt the Governor of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA suggested that polygamy is constitutionally protected. There are tens of thousands of polygamists in Utah, and the crime is not prosecuted. (Mike Carter, "Utah govenor seeks legal opinion on polygamy prosecution", Associated Press, 29 July 1998)

Reverand David Holley is serving a 275-year sentence for molesting boys in New Mexico, records show the Catholic church continuously transferred him to different churches in Massachusetts, Colorado and West Texas. ("Catholic Church documents suggest that the institution knowingly shuffled a pedophile priest among different states for 20 years," UPI, 31 August 1997)

U.S citizen John Wetterer, who ran the Mi Casa orphanage in Guatemala was accused of sexually abusing boys in this care. (Robert E. Kessler, "Ex-Orphan Tells Court About Abuse/ Long Island Native Accused," Newsday, 24 September 1997)

Pornography material from The North American Man-Boy Love Association, an organization for paedophiles, was found by police inside a car suspected of being used to abduct a 10-year-old Massachusetts boy, who was murdered. ("Police have been watching man-boy love group," Associated Press, 5 October 1997)

A San Antonio woman was kidnapped for the purpose of sexual enslavement by being zapped with a stun gun and dragged into a van. She was stripped, chained in a leather harness and instructed to call the kidnappers "M'Lord" and "Lady Dominatrix". She escaped after 24 hours. (United Press International, 19 November 1997)

Captain Blakey, the first woman to pilot an Airbus A300 jumbo jet for Continental, testifies that the Continental Airlines corporation did nothing to stop harassment against her by male pilots who spread pornography in plane cockpits and harassed her for reporting the incidents. (Associated Press, 10 September 1997)

A sexual harrasment suit has been brought against Garban LCC, a Wall Street brokerage firm. Attorney General Dennis Vacco has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Garban and its affiliated companies, alleging some of its 300 brokers verbally, physically and sexually harassed three female brokers. He said the harassment dated back to 1984. Garban was accused of making it difficult for female employees to move up within the company. Garban denounced the behavior alleged in the lawsuit and is cooperating with Vacco's office. Among the allegations were that strippers performed for male workers on the trading floor in plain view of female workers; male employees frequently dropped their pants to fix their shirts; the door to the men's bathroom was kept open so that the urinals were in plain sight; and women were called derogatory names. ("Brokerage hit with harassment suit," Associated Press, 2 September 1998)

A gender discrimination suit has been settled in September 1998, by a federal judge in Chicago who gave final approval to a settlement between the Merrill Lynch & Co. brokerage firm and female employees. The settlement allows 2,500 women to file discrimination claims to be heard by mediators, who would determine what if any award is appropriate. There is no maximum, but attorneys for the women expected awards to total in the millions of dollars. ("Brokerage hit with harassment suit," Associated Press, 2 September 1998)


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Coalition Against Trafficking in Women
Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation
Donna M. Hughes, Laura Joy Sporcic, Nadine Z. Mendelsohn and Vanessa Chirgwin