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April 21, 2006

AG Gonzales takes on child porn, obscenity on the internet

DOJ Press release: Attorney General Announces Legislative Initiative to
Combat Child Pornography and Obscenity on the Internet
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a speech today at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in Alexandria, Virginia, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales highlighted the Department of Justice's efforts to combat the scourge of child pornography on the Internet and protect innocent children against heinous crimes. To build on these partnership efforts with NCMEC he also announced a new legislative initiative aimed at combating the scourge of child pornography and obscenity on the Internet.

The new legislation is designed to help ensure that electronic communications services providers report the presence of child pornography on their systems by strengthening criminal penalties for failing to report the presence of child pornography. The legislation is also aimed at protecting individuals from inadvertently coming across pornographic images on the Internet.

In order to help encourage communications providers to report the presence of child pornography on their systems, the legislation would triple the current criminal fines levied against providers for knowing and willful failures to report, making the available fines $150,000 for the initial violation and $300,000 for each subsequent violation.

In order to protect individuals from inadvertently coming across pornographic materials on the Internet, the legislation would require all websites that are operated primarily for commercial purposes to include warning labels on every page that contains sexually explicit material. In addition, the legislation would prohibit such websites from initially displaying sexually explicit material without further action, such as an additional click, by the viewer.

Finally, the new legislation would prohibit the practice, often engaged in by certain sexually explicit websites, of hiding innocuous terms in a website's code so that a search for common terms on the Internet would yield links to the sexually explicit websites. The legislation would prohibit an individual from knowingly acting with the intent to deceive another individual into viewing obscene material, and also prohibits an individual from knowingly acting with the intent to deceive a minor into viewing material harmful to the minor.

These initiatives are in addition to the many important changes in law that the House of Representatives has passed as part of H.R. 4472, now pending in the Senate. That legislation would improve sex-offender registration laws and toughen criminal penalties for violating registration requirements. It also includes the provisions of the Administration-drafted Child Pornography Prevention and Obscenity Prosecution Act of 2005, which would improve the legal arsenal available to detect and prosecute child pornography. Senate passage of H.R. 4472 and its enactment into law is a key component of a more effective anti-child pornography strategy.

In his speech to NCMEC, the Attorney General reiterated that "[p]rotecting children from these dangers is one of my highest priorities as Attorney General." The legislation announced today, as well as Project Safe Childhood, which was announced on February 15 and will be launched in May, are a key part of the Department of Justice's effort to protect America's children from those individuals who would harm them.
Thank you, Mr. Gonzales.

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Porn industry strives to remain at cutting edge of technology

Porn Industry Again at the Tech Forefront
Downloads for TV will be offered.
Hollywood may be looking at its own digital future.
By Dawn C. Chmielewski and Claire Hoffman
Times Staff Writers

From the Los Angeles Times
April 19, 2006

A top producer of hard-core porn will start selling downloadable movies that customers can burn to DVD and watch on their TVs, illustrating how Southern California's multibillion-dollar adult entertainment industry may again set the technological pace for Hollywood.

Letting people burn downloaded movies is considered key to the growth of online distribution. Despite the proliferation of fast Internet connections, most people still want to watch movies on television but lack an easy way to get them off the computer. Plus, hard drives can store only so many space-hogging movies.

Hollywood has resisted burnable discs that can be watched on televisions because they fear piracy. It also doesn't want to alienate retailers, which sell most of its DVDs. But if history is any guide, the online experiment by adult entertainment giant Vivid Entertainment Group will be watched closely by mainstream studio chiefs.

"The simple fact is porn is an early adopter of new media," said Paul Saffo, director of the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto. "If you're trying to get something established - you're going to privately and secretly hope and pray that the porn industry likes your medium."
The use of the words "hope" and "pray" in the context of success in the porn industry seems disturbing, at the least.

Read the rest here.

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April 10, 2006

John Whitehead: "The Real Immigration Problem"

John Whitehead's commentary from the Rutherford Institute: Sex Trafficking: The Real Immigration Problem.
While debates concerning immigration rage over economics and labor, little has been said about the Mexican women and children being bought and sold as sex slaves. The third largest crime scheme after drug and weapons trafficking, sex traffickers transport at least 18,000 captives into the United States each year.

In fact, the U.S. is one of the top destinations for sex traffickers. And trafficking rings have become adept at penetrating U.S. suburban areas. High rates of trafficking are found in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Texas and Washington, as well as other areas.

The southern border of the U.S. is the main thoroughfare for sex trafficking. Girls are smuggled into the U.S. from all over the world through this gateway. But trafficking along this route is not limited to rings based only in Mexico. "Tijuana is a good crossing point because it's a prostitution zone," said Melissa Ugarte, a sociologist for EYE, an agency aiding children in crisis in San Diego. "It's easy to get from Tijuana into Arizona, California, Texas, to New York. It's simple."

Tijuana, a border town, is a short drive from San Diego. It provides a daily flood of sex-hungry tourists and a police department that looks the other way. Each trafficking ring uses its own route from Tijuana into the U.S. Some drive girls into the U.S. by flashing counterfeit documents at the California border. Other sex slaves are slipped across the border on foot and then shuttled by van to brothels through a network of covert "safehouses" spread across the country.

Tightly organized groups of pimps known as "Los Lenones" operate as wholesalers. These pimps collect human merchandise and make deliveries to brothels in thriving sex-trafficking hubs in major U.S. cities. One of the largest trafficking operations is based in San Diego. It was recently uncovered when child welfare officials teamed with county sheriffs and raided one of many houses of prostitution hidden in lower-class neighborhoods.

The discoveries shocked these officials to the core. The first thing they saw was a girl no older than 14, dressed in provocative clothing. What moved them was not the girl's appearance, but the look of sheer terror in her eyes. The girl, whose name is Paola, had been kidnapped from her home in Oaxaca, Mexico, and smuggled into the U.S. as part of an extensive prostitution ring. During her first days in America, Paola had been passed through multiple exploitation camps. Because of her beauty, she became preferred merchandise and day and night had to service long lines of men, both indoors and out. But of the twenty dollars that each "client" paid, Paola received nothing.

Housed in squalid conditions, hidden away from the public in innocent-looking neighborhoods, girls like Paola are suffering the darkest form of abuse and exploitation. The sex-trafficking pimps have various ways of procuring these victims. They build an emotional relationship with them; convince the adolescent girl and her family to let her be taken to the U.S. to work; or they kidnap them. The girls are bound to their captors by both emotional and physical bonds and are often told that the pimps will marry them. Desperate to escape from their destitute lives in Mexico, they unknowingly walk into a life of exploitation and terror. Many of the girls have children, and a pimp is usually the father. The children are often snatched from their mothers and kept as hostages. When a girl tries to escape, she is told that her child will be killed.
Read the rest here.

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April 7, 2006

Study reveals possession of child pornography legal in 138 countries

Study: Child Porn Isn't Illegal in Most Countries
At a press conference in Washington, D.C., the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children and other participants including Microsoft presented a study on Thursday that reveals the woeful inadequacy of child pornography laws around the world.

The ICMEC's global policy review of child pornography laws in 184 Interpol-member countries shows that more than half have no laws that specifically address child pornography and in many others the existing laws are insufficient.

"It's hard to arrest and prosecute if you don't have the legal foundation on which to build," said Ernie Allen, ICMEC president and CEO.

The ICMEC study found that possession of child pornography is not a crime in 138 countries. In 122 countries, there's no law dealing with the use of computers and the Internet as a means of child porn distribution.

"One of the greatest challenges we are confronted with is child safety, child protection, and child rights," said Baron Daniel Cardon de Lecture, chairman of ICMEC. Most of the countries in the world, he said, "have no meaningful system to adequately and effectively combat sexual exploitation of children."

Only five countries—Australia, Belgium, France, South Africa and the United States—have laws deemed adequate by ICMEC to address the issue.

[...] The production of child pornography is also becoming more professional. According to de Lecture, child pornography is thriving because it's profitable and relatively risk free compared to other criminal enterprises like smuggling weapons or drugs. "There is a huge consumer market for child pornography," he lamented. "Child pornography is enormously profitable and there is for the moment no risk. There is risk for dealing with arms. There is risk in dealing with drugs. There is no risk in trading your children today in three-quarters of the world."

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April 6, 2006

Ugandan domestic workers turning to prostitution

Uganda: 'Maids Linked to Prostitution'
Source: New Vision (Kampala)
Charles Ariko

The Human Rights Status Report 2005 by the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) said the girls resort to prostitution after being frustrated by their would-be employers who fail to pay them or unfairly dismiss them.

Interviews carried out in the suburbs of Kabalagala and Kansanga where prostitution thrives, most prostitutes confessed having come to Kampala as domestic workers. Those interviewed were aged between 17 and 20 years.

The report said the dilemma posed by domestic workers was hard to solve because the victims live in private homes and unless they complained, it was hard to know the conditions under which they work.

The report attributes violations of labour rights to weak and obsolete laws.

It also blamed the government for failing to enact a legislation that sets the minimum wage for the workers.
[SS], [FL]

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Brasilian police crack down on 100+ foreigners in sex tourism bust

Brazilian police detain 118 tourists in operation to curb sex tourism
SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) - Police cracking down on sex tourism detained 118 tourists for failing to carry proper identification into nightclubs in a northeastern Brazilian city, police said Saturday.

Authorities briefly detained 110 tourists early Friday and another eight early Saturday in the city of Natal, 2,450 kilometers (1,520 miles) northeast of Sao Paulo in Rio Grande do Norte state, federal police officer Luiz Pereira said.

The tourists _ mostly from Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and Norway _ were held for not carrying their passports or international identification cards that Brazil requires of all foreign citizens. They were also fined 165 reals (US$76; euro63).

"We hope the repercussion of this operation will help discourage tourists who think sexual tourism is easy in Brazil,'' Pereira said. "We are showing that police are paying attention to this problem.''

More than 70 federal agents raided two nightclubs known for using strippers and call girls to attract tourists. The agents questioned all customers and asked to see their identification.

About 20 of those detained were charged with drug possession after police allegedly found them with marijuana. Some also had expired visas and were told to leave the country within eight days as required by law, police said.

Prostitution is legal in Brazil, but people who promote sexual tourism can be charged. Police have conducted several similar operations in recent months in Natal. In one raid, six Italian men were arrested on charges of owning prostitution houses aimed at tourists.-AP

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April 3, 2006

DE-USA: Human trafficking... in the First State?

No, not even the Small Wonder is immune. Raids reveal possible human trafficking.
[...] On May 18, 2005, when police raided the Bridgeville home on Redden Road, they discovered several bedrooms with women's belongings, including "high-heeled shoes, lingerie, excessive amounts of feminine products and birth control," according to court records.

The also found numerous decks of playing cards, cash and "hundreds of condoms" in silver packets in several of the bedrooms.

Moises Dominguez, 53, was identified as the proprietor, although police said he was using the alias Jose Rosas.

During the following 10 months, police in Delaware conducted surveillance at the alleged ring's other operations: 1627 Newport Gap Pike near Prices Corner, 48 N. Pine St. in Seaford and 214 Twin Cedars Apartments near Frankford.

When those sites were raided, Dominguez and his son Juan, 26, were among those arrested and jailed in Sussex Correctional Institution. Each was charged with organized crime and promoting prostitution at brothels in Bridgeville, Frankford, Seaford and Hammonton, N.J.

Hammonton police Detective Jerry Martinez said officers there sat outside a home shielded by a 6-foot high cedar fence for more than a year collecting intelligence.

Operators signaled the home was open for business with either a blue or a red light that could be seen shining in the rear of the house.

The business catered mostly to Mexican migrant workers in the rural farm community. To be admitted, prospective patrons not only had to "speak Spanish, but look the part," said Martinez.

"I would sit and watch," he said. "There were so many people the johns would actually wait in the garage."

Customers would pay $30 for 15 minutes of sex with a woman of their choice. The prostitute's take ranged from $10 to $13 a customer, police said. Out of her portion, the woman was expected to pay for condoms and other job essentials plus food, board and travel expenses.

"While we were conducting the search of the premises, cars were still pulling up outside and wanted to walk in," he said. "The fact that police were there didn't stop them."

Hammonton officers found "a ton of pink condoms" but no guns during the raid.

"One of the girls really pulled in some dough," Martinez said. "She [told us she was] 21, but looked 16. We couldn't prove age because she had no documentation. We believe they were smuggled into the U.S."
There's a lot more to the article, I recommend you read on...

Related: Police raids nab 13 suspects in prostitution ring

[HT], [SS]

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