1. The Nature of the Evidence

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
2

In setting forth the types of evidence we have considered on this subject, it is important to note first the limitations which have been imposed on our fact-finding efforts. Above all, we have not had the power to issue subpoenas summoning reluctant witnesses to appear; thus all information at our disposal was presented to us voluntarily or obtained through our review of materials on the public record. In addition, the severe time constraints imposed on our work were particularly damaging in this area because, as discussed earlier, this aspect of the pornography "industry" has received only the scantiest attention in the past. We, therefore, did not have the benefit of knowing from the outset what were the most likely avenues to discovery of pertinent evidence about activities that are largely underground. Finally, both the difficulty of locating witnesses and the pressure of time meant that we were not able to spend substantial time in cross-examination of their testimony or in background investigations to corroborate their statements.

Caution is dictated, too, because there have been to our knowledge almost no "scientific" investigations into the background of participants in pornography or its effects on them afterwards.[965] Such investigations would certainly be extremely difficult-perhaps impossible-to design and conduct given the clandestine character of the pornography industry. Reliable conclusions about the number and characteristics of performers in pornography will likely remain as difficult to reach as, for example, solid estimates of the number and characteristics of illegal aliens.[966]

What we have been able to discover, however, is deeply disturbing, and, we think, based on substantial evidence from a variety of generally credible sources. Somewhat to our surprise, the testimony of law enforcement officers, of current and former performers in pornography, and of those involved with pornography "behind the scenes" has rarely been in conflict. Further, significant and useful information is available from court cases, from books and "adult" magazines, and from "adult" film industry publications. If on the whole we believe our understanding of the problems faced by performers in pornography is incomplete, and that our findings and recommendations must be largely tentative, we also view the state of the evidence as highly suggestive. And we think it points to the need for action as well as for further study.

Notes

  1. The survey Diana Russell conducted is the only American survey addressing the issue that we have seen. Houston Hearing, Vol. I, Diana Russell, p. 283. See, Badgley Report, supra note 924, addressing the issue in Canada.
  2. See, e.g., United States General Accounting Office, Problems and Options in Estimating the Size of the Illegal Alien Population, Report to the Chmn. of the Subcomm. on Immigration and Refugee Policy of the Comm. on the judiciary, United States Senate (1982) ("Current estimates of the size of the illegal alien population in the United States are unsatisfactory and it seems unlikely that more precise estimates can be derived soon:" Id. p. 19.)