Child Porn

Child Porn

The whole debate about child porn and child porn laws has really bothered me because some key issues are being missed.

The Conservatives believe that the current law has one major loophole. Sexually explicit material involving persons under the age 18 is acceptable if it is deemed to have artistic merit. To many Canadians this might seem like a huge loophole because for them, a lot of what passes for art these days is just smut. However, crafting a law that clamps down on child porn but can’t be used to remove Romeo and Juliet from our high school libraries isn’t easy.

I believe the strength of the rhetoric coming from Harper on this issue is disingenuous. The long gun registry is the result of an understandable but irrational reaction to the tragic murders of several women. In the wake of a tragedy it is very easy to react with new laws or programs that do very little to address the heart of the problem. If we focus all our outrage over child exploitation on one law we will miss the real heart of the problem.

What I don’t understand is the idea that child porn leads to the exploitation of children, but adult porn doesn’t lead to the exploitation of women. I don’t think we as a society are willing to face the fact that the multi-billion dollar a year porn industry has a tremendous impact on our social well being.

I think the government should have strong child porn laws, but this is not going to fix the problem. Going after Internet Service Providers isn’t going to solve the problem either. I host websites and I couldn’t tell you if someone is hosting porn on their site because I don’t check every file on my server. If the police told me someone was distributing porn from their site I would certain co-operate. These measures are only a small piece of the whole phenomenon.

Child porn is an underground phenomenon. I imagine that most of it is distributed through closed peer-to-peer file sharing networks not unlike Kazaa or Morpheus. Most of this stuff is not on public web/ftp sites that you can block. Like many underground file sharing networks you need to know someone to get in. In this scenario the files are hosted on private machines, not webservers. You can’t block this traffic because IP addresses on home machines are constantly changing. Unless you pulled a “Big Brother” and monitored everyone’s traffic you wouldn’t even see it happening.

  1. #1 by George Schuurman on June 20, 2004 - 5:22 pm

    Don’t really understand your point here Leighton. Should we as a society do everything we can to eliminate child pornography and hold those responsible who deal and purchase and trade this stuff? Do we just shrug it off becaue, well we aren’t going to get it all anyways because its underground and tough to track on the internet?

    Do you think an Internet Service Provider should be held to acount if they are knowingly involved in the distribution of child pornography?

  2. #2 by Darryl on June 20, 2004 - 8:48 pm

    Probably the best way to find this stuff is also the ugliest way – for the police to go looking for it undercover.

    Trying to score political points on this one makes me sick. I think we can all agree that we’re against this garbage.

  3. #3 by George on June 20, 2004 - 9:12 pm

    Darryl, if only it were that easy. We already do that but are only just scratching the surface. This is not something that just the police alone can crack down on and get a handle on it. Not even close.

    There does need to be political will with respect to this issue and some very tough sentencing guidelines with minimum sentences. Judges have way too much discretion.

    ISPs need to be accountable as well. If they knowingly allow this stuff to pass through they need to be held accountable.

    It really is a sign of the times though isn’t it? Look at pornography generally. I check into a chain hotel and have access to pornography right there in the comfort of my own room. I couldn’t believe how many pornography choices were available. (No I did not watch.) They profit big time from that. Look at the cable companies, all offering it now, hardcore stuff because the profits are huge.

    Even the adult pornography offers titles that suggest you can look at real young teenager stuff. Its sickening and the major corporations are profiting huge.

    Then consider the age of consent in Canada 14 years old. You don’t think pedophiles prey on them?

    I had a case where a 14 year old was raped by three adult men. She was drunk when the attacks occurred. You know what the defence was? Consent.

    Isn’t that great? We can argue in this fine country of ours that a drunken 14 year old girl can form consent when it comes to sex. Isn’t that just sick. Get your Liberals to take on that issue Leighton. Lets start with raising the age of consent to say 16 or 18. That might help in bringing some of the pedophiles who entice the 14 and 15 year olds to account.

  4. #4 by Leighton Tebay on June 21, 2004 - 12:11 am


    Read the first line of my post – there are key issues being missed.

    In my line of work I catch lots of people looking at porn. Most of them are Christians. Chances are if you have 3 pastors in your church one of them downloads internet porn. Chances are about half the men in your church download porn regularly. They know it is wrong, they can’t help it.

    Pedophiles need to be removed from society but incarceration will never rehabilitate them. I doubt it is a significant deterrant. You can tighten all the laws you want it won’t make a significant difference in the incidence of sexual abuse.

    Sexual abuse is rampant in this society. 1/3 females and about 1/4 males experience it. As far as I know these rates haven’t changed much in 30 years. Blaming Internet porn is the easy way out. We might feel like we are making a difference tightening laws but their impact would be nominal.

    The government cannot fix this problem for us. There has to be a response at every level, from grassroots people and organizations, to education and government.

  5. #5 by Toni on June 21, 2004 - 6:04 am

    Leighton does have a good point though – child porn particularly is a difficult thing to deal with effectively. One can apply a blanket ban to images of children unclothed, but that simply makes the state a persecutor of innocent people. Instead there needs to be a change of heart in people through to the foundation of society. One could argue that changing hearts is an area we, as christians, ought to have a particular role in.

    Since the porn industry is such a large money-maker, I wonder if in years to come we’ll see it taxed like tobacco – a recognised harmful vice, that is too profitable to ban.

    BTW LT – I didn’t think the issue was about exploitation of children (or adults) so much as harming them?

  6. #6 by Marc Vandersluys on June 21, 2004 - 11:34 am

    I agree that this is a very difficult problem to deal with, but does that mean we shouldn’t strengthen laws on the subject?

    Has everyone forgotten about that fellow in B.C. that was charged with possessing child pornography, but was let off on the grounds of “artistic merit”? I’m pretty sure the guy wasn’t charged for having copies of “Romeo & Juliet” and “Lolita” (Who would consider Romeo & Juliet pornographic, I don’t know). The Liberals voted against a motion to invoke the notwithstanding clause after the Supreme Court upheld the ruling — that’s what all this fuss is about, as far as I can tell.

  7. #7 by Toni on June 21, 2004 - 4:01 pm

    “I’m pretty sure the guy wasn’t charged for having copies of “Romeo & Juliet” and “Lolita” (Who would consider Romeo & Juliet pornographic, I don’t know). ”

    I’m sure that certain societies would have considered R&J quite pronographic, in the same way that they’d consider the bikini to be effectively nudity. I don’t for one minute consider child porn acceptable, but there is a great deal more blurring about what may or may not be porn than can be discerned through simple sweeping statements.

    George – you may be one of the ‘lucky ones’ that isn’t attracted to porn. Is there a reason for your apparently aggressive posting?

  8. #8 by MennoKnight on June 21, 2004 - 4:40 pm

    Leighton, I can see you’re really struggling with these tragic issues. I know people will think I’m crazy, but if something that is a part of our social fabric (ie. Romeo and Juliet) doesn’t meet with our code of morality (the one handed to us by the state), why should we keep it? Who cares if it’s classic literature? The Kama Sutra would be described by most as classic, but we set it aside when it comes to education, don’t we?

  9. #9 by Darryl on June 21, 2004 - 6:50 pm

    The National Post had a good editorial on this today:

    “It is already a crime to produce, deal in or possess child pornography…So, how would the proposed changes have saved Holly?…

    This is not to argue that the police and society should not make every effort to enforce the current prohibitions on child pornography…

    No matter how strong law enforcement efforts are, however, there will always remain a small portion of the population that is sexually attracted to children. We can try to counsel and medicate these people. If they commit crimes, we must incarcerate them. But we will never be able to legislate away their evil thoughts.

    This is the excruciating but inescapable reality that leaves the calls for reform of child pornography laws ultimately unsatisfying and makes the Holly Jones murder that much more tragic.”

  10. #10 by Clinton on June 21, 2004 - 11:17 pm

    On a completely different note, in 20 years child pornography will be like adult pornography. Available on pay per view and sold in specialty stores. There will be Pedophile Pride Parades too. Right now The APA is already watering down the repulsion society has towards it. Condemned, condoned, promoted. In 20 years anyone against child pornography, or calling pedophilia “unnatural”, will be labelled as extreme and right wing, the liberals will want to tax it and the NDP will want it protected by law.

  11. #11 by Leighton Tebay on June 22, 2004 - 2:51 am


    I disagree with you. There are certain things in our society where we see a clear progression. Pornography has evolved over time. I’m not in to kiddie porn, but I don’t think it has become more accepted now than it was 20 years ago.

  12. #12 by Clinton on June 22, 2004 - 7:50 am

    I disagree with that Leighton. Under the Liberals, the age of consent was lowered to 14 and other formerly “adult” things are slowly starting to slide that way in Canada. In the US, the APA took pedophilia off their list of psychological disorders, just like they did with homosexuality in the 70’s (or was that 60’s). Look at “American Pie”, where adults play minors having sex, and its a financial hit. It’s heading in that direction all right. It may just take longer to get there and the only reason for that is because parents have an inate tendancy to protect their children. However, society is slowly eroding that as well.

    You can make the point that it’s not any more acceptable now than in the past, its just that the internet and media make it more visible. However, once something becomes exposed, discussed, permitted, condoned, promotion and acceptance follow shortly there after.

  13. #13 by Leighton Tebay on June 22, 2004 - 9:08 am


    I don’t think child porn has the same kind of traction. I haven’t met anyone who thought it was acceptable to even talk about adult/child sexual relations in North America. If you want to insult someone you tell them they are in to ‘little boys’.

    There is an exception to this. In other cultures teenage females often get married to much older males. The idea it is somehow wrong for someone under the age of 18 to be married comes from our culture, not the bible. As far as we know Mary was probably 15-16 years old.

    There is a large body of scientific research that has concluded that childrens sexual activity is harmful. I don’t see that shifting just because there is a small minority that think other wise.

  14. #14 by Anonymous on June 22, 2004 - 3:01 pm

    Leighton, you said:

    “In other cultures teenage females often get married to much older males.”

    That generally involves sexually mature people in a marriage. What I am talking about is not the same thing. And yes, I am aware of roughly how old Mary was when she was married to Joseph.

    You also said:

    “I haven’t met anyone who thought it was acceptable to even talk about adult/child sexual relations in North America. If you want to insult someone you tell them they are in to ‘little boys’.”

    If you want to see someone talk about adult/child sexual realtions as acceptable follow the links above or read what the APA says about pedophilic relations. If you want to insult someone or something you call it “gay”. What does that prove? What you are saying sounds very much like what people were saying about homosexuality 50 years ago. How right were they? Right now we’re flying the gay flag over city hall for gay pride week.

    You also said:

    “There is a large body of scientific research that has concluded that childrens sexual activity is harmful. I don’t see that shifting just because there is a small minority that think other wise.”

    That was the exact same thing said about homosexuality, but look at where we are now. The small minority has presented themselves as victims of society and soon the majority of society feels we need to protect their “rights” and promote their perversion. It’s the same slippery slope. The only reason it will take longer for it to become generally accepted is because of the inate sense of parents to protect their children. But, like I said before, that is slowly eroding.

  15. #15 by Clinton on June 22, 2004 - 3:04 pm

    (the above post was mine)

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