RECOMMENDATION 18

Part: 
Three
Chapter: 
2

State and Local prosecutors should prosecute producers of obscene material under the existing laws including those prohibiting pandering and other underlying sexual offenses

Discussion

Existing state laws provide penalties for pandering. Pandering or "pimping" generally involves the procuring of an individual to commit an act of prostitution for some form of consideration.

The production of obscene material almost always involves acts of prostitution. Performers are recruited and paid or otherwise induced (voluntarily or involuntarily) by producers to perform or have performed upon them various sexual acts including intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, sodomy and bestiality. These acts are filmed or otherwise recorded for reproduction and commercial distribution. By procuring an individual to commit an act of prostitution the producer of obscene material is acting in the same capacity as a pimp.[236] Like any other pimp he reaps his financial reward from these acts of prostitution.

Pandering laws are an effective law enforcement tool since they present a separate and distinct crime and do not require proof of obscenity.[237] Law enforcement officers should view the pandering which takes place through the production of obscene materials the same as pandering in any other prostitution case. This Commission has heard substantial testimony regarding coercion used in the production of sexually explicit materials. We accordingly suggest that law enforcement officers should use considered judgment and avoid unnecessary charges of prostitution against the performers.

State and local prosecutors should also scrutinize obscene material for evidence of any other underlying criminal offenses such as physical sexual abuse and bring appropriate charges against the persons responsible for the commission of such crimes.

Persons who appear in pornographic materials often may be doing so under threat of force or coercion.[238] Law enforcement officers should be sensitive to claims of sexual assault, sexual imposition, rape or related crimes of violence against performers. While some performers are willing to engage in the sexual activities required during the production of pornographic materials, law enforcement officers should remain aware of the significant possibility that performers who are forced to engage in certain sexual acts are victims of these underlying crimes.

Notes

  1. See, People v. Fixler, 56 Cal. App. 31 321, 128 Cal. Rptr. 363 (1976); United States v. Roeder, 526 F.2d 736, p. 739 (10th Cir. 1975), cert. denied 462 U.S. 905.
  2. An investigator who testified before the Commission recounted the following experience, "Another area that we are presently using for enforcement is in the area of pandering. In one of our recent cases we charged a hard-core film producer with pandering.
  3. It was our contention that this individual by the name of Hal Freeman, who runs a company by the name of Hollywood Video in Los Angeles, was hiring these girls to commit sex acts for money, which is prostitution, thus he was a pimp." Chicago Hearing, Vol. I, Donald Smith, p. 36.

  4. See also, The discussion of Child Pornography Regulation.