We Should Do Something

Each year, Kensington, Md., holds an annual Labor Day parade. For pictures I took last year, I held back one of the best: A very young girl sitting next to an American flag. Her facial expression and composition evoked the patriotic sentiments of the day. But her tank top had partially fallen down to reveal a nipple. As much as I liked the image, I kept it from my online collection of the day. I know that out there, scouring the Internet, are pedophiles that get off on pictures of kids.

Millions of people use the internet each day to watch adult pornography which is perfectly legal, and because it’s so popular more and more free porn sites are now available ones like hdsexvideo, unfortunately there are those that use the internet for darker purposes and troll through social media sites looking for pictures of kids. You might think that posting a picture of your kid taking a bath on facebook is completely innocent and to you and many others it is, but there are some out there that if they saw that picture would look at it in the same way as a normal adult would look at a picture of a naked woman or man, you don’t want to think that there are people out there looking at a picture of your kid in a sexual way but unfortunately that’s the hard truth these days.

Today’s New York Times story “Using Nearly Nude Pictures, Child Sex Sites Test Laws” takes a stark look at this dark underworld of online predators. But the predators aren’t just pedophiles. The story looks at the lurid world of child modeling, which pictures skirt the definition of child pornography.

Reporter Kurt Eichenwald’s lead is chilling: The account of a scantily clad model in a bubble bath. “The model’s online name is Sparkle. She is, at most, years old”. That would put her about the same age as the young girl whose picture I wouldn’t post. Eric writes:

Sparkle is one of hundreds of children being photographed by adults, part of what appears to be the latest trend in online child exploitation: Web sites for pedophiles offering explicit, sexualized images of children who are covered by bits of clothing—all in the questionable hope of allowing producers, distributors, and customers to avoid child pornography charges.

The Times found over 200 sites containing images of scantily clad child models:

The children are photographed by people who have frequent access to them. The sites often include images of ‘guests’: children who are described as a friend of the featured child, but who appear for only a day. The sites say the children come from different parts of the world, including the United States.

Back in April, Thomas Hawk touched off a firestorm with his legitimate criticism of Jill Greenberg’s ‘End Times’, which featured photos of youngsters she tormented to tears. I sharply criticized the photo exhibition, which features crying kids that are visibly partially nude. Thomas rightly called the pictures as “child pornography of the worst kind.”

In June, I expressed my disgust at a Website catering to female pedophiles—women sexually attracted to young girls, including their daughters.

The Times cites a 1994 federal court case that determined that even pictures of clothed kids could be considered child pornography. “While adult pornography has some First Amendment protections, there are no such protections for child pornography”, according to the Times.

While the law might be against these Websites, law enforcement can only handle so much. Where is the Web version of neighborhood watch? Bloggers are quick to uncover bad reporting by Dan Rather or doctored photos from the war in Lebanon. Isn’t it time for them to uncover the misdeeds of predators that prey on kids? Thomas has shown that one voice can carry great impact. What could be the impact of cacophony of bloggers?

Editor’s Notes: On July 29, 2017, this post was recovered, using Archive.org Wayback Machine, from a snapshot of joewilcox.com during 2006, when months of content was lost while changing blogging systems and webhosts. Date and timestamps are authentic.

Because Thomas has in the years since removed the Greenberg commentaries, links were removed. Additionally, because my two mentioned posts so heavily referenced his, I chose not to restore them from archive.