United States Senator
October 15, 2003
Statement of Senator Orrin G. Hatch
Before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee
"Indecent Exposure: Oversight of DOJ's
Efforts to Protect Pornography's Victims"
Good afternoon. Today we will be conducting an oversight hearing on the Department of Justice's Efforts to Prosecute Child Pornography and Obscenity. As many of you know, pornography is a growing problem in America. For example, in a recent ABC Primetime Thursday story, Diane Sawyer stated that the pornography industry is estimated at $10 billion, which is bigger than the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball combined. And it's getting worse with the advent of the Internet. Pornographic web pages now top 250 million and are growing at an unprecedented rate. It is estimated that porn on the Internet will grow to become a $7 billion industry in the next five years - unless we have aggressive law enforcement.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children estimates that there are 140,000 images of child pornography online. The typical age of children depicted in these images is between 6 and 12, but the profile is getting younger.
In addition, adult pornography has become readily available to minors. There are currently 28 million children and teenagers with access to the Internet and an additional 50 million globally are estimated by 2005. Nine out of ten children, ages 8-16, have viewed pornography online, mostly unintentionally, and when using the Internet to do homework. And those children who seek it out of curiosity have no trouble getting it. 97 percent of adult web sites do not require adult verification.
The result of all this porn is that there are 11, 12, or 13-year old children being treated for pornography addictions. As Professor Victor Cline previously testified before the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) Commission, the overwhelming majority of pedophiles use child pornography to stimulate and whet their sexual appetites before abusing children. They also use child porn to desensitize children and lure them into participating in sexual activity. In addition, as the ABC Primetime Thursday piece made clear, the victims of pornography are not just addicts and rape victims -- but young, innocent teenagers, who go to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a movie star and instead get caught up in this sordid industry.
I have always believed very strongly in protecting children from this type of offensive material. I sponsored the PROTECT Act, which the President enacted six months ago. This is one of the most significant pieces of child crime legislation that Congress has passed in recent years. It gives law enforcement the tools it needs to effectively prosecute child pornographers. In addition to authorizing criminal prosecutions of child pornographers, the Act provided funding for more prosecutors and investigators, and established a cyber tip-line to report on-line child exploitation. It also created a national registry of child pornographers.
I am currently considering legislative solutions to the many risks inherent in the use of peer-to-peer networks. Almost half of the people who use these networks are minors. Recent studies have shown that millions and millions of pornographic files are available for downloading on these networks at any given time. Even more disturbing is that searches on these networks using search terms that a child would be expected to use, such as Harry Potter or Pokemon, turn up an enormous percentage - over 50% in one study according to the GAO -- of pornographic materials including child pornography. This is simply unacceptable. Many parents - possibly the majority of them - are unaware of this problem. I think this requires our immediate attention.
I look forward to hearing about DOJ's efforts to combat both child pornography and obscenity. This is a growing problem that we need to attack aggressively. We cannot sit quietly and hope it will go away.
The hearing today will consist of two panels. The first panel includes three representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice - John Malcolm, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division, J. Robert Flores, Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and Mary Beth Buchanan, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. In addition, we have Lawrence Maxwell, Inspector-in-Charge from the Postal Inspection Service.
The second panel consists of Bruce Taylor, President and Chief Counsel of the National Law Center for Children and Families, Detective Steve Takeshita, Officer in Charge of the Pornography Unit in the Los Angeles Police Department and Emeritus Professor from the University of Utah, Dr. Victor Cline. Welcome to the hearing and I look forward to listening to your testimony.
In addition, at this time, I would like to submit for the record, the written testimony of Donna Rice Hughes, President of Enough is Enough, and an advocate of protecting children from pornography on the Internet.
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