RECOMMENDATION 54

Part: 
Three
Chapter: 
3

The State Department, the United States Department of Justice, the United States Customs Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other Federal agencies should continue to work with other nations to detect and intercept child pornography.

Child pornography and the sexual abuse of children has overwhelming international aspects. While some child pornography originates in Europe many of the children depicted are American citizens.[622] A pedophile offender will put together a collection of photos either for his personal use, or in direct response to solicitations by one or more pornography distributors. The photos are then sent to a commercial distributor where they are compiled into a commercial-type publication.[623]

The pedophile offender may reside anywhere in the world. The countries where consumers have been identified include the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Thailand, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Japan.

A commercial publication is distributed by mail throughout the world, in addition, photo sets are sold to individual consumers. In one instance, photos were sold in sets of twelve photographs for $100, forty photographs for $300, or six hundred negatives for $5,000.

In another instance, positive photographic images (slides) were sent to a consumer by COQ International. The positives were used to make negatives and the negatives used to print photo sets. The sets were then sold, along with photos of models recruited by the United States producers for fifteen to thirty five dollars for a set of six to ten. The same producer also offered special photo sets, custom ordered by the consumer, for two hundred to four hundred dollars per set. He called the service "sponsor a model."

In one case, two special agents from the United States Customs Service corresponded with a distributor of child pornography photos from Bangkok. Evidence was purchased by the agents with the intent to forward it to the customs attache in Bangkok, Thailand, and to refer the case to the Thai authorities. The Thais, however, preferred that the agents travel to Bangkok in the undercover capacities established in the correspondence. The agents would then purchase child pornography leading to an arrest.

While arrangements were being made for the agents to travel to Bangkok, it was discovered that the offender had been indicted in Detroit, Michigan, in 1981 for the distribution of child pornography.

A procedure for establishing undercover identities for agents to travel abroad was nonexistent. After much difficulty appropriate identities were established with justice Department and State Department assistance.

The offender had been selling sets of photographs to his customers, packaged discretely in letter class mail. In his final letters to the agents before their departure for Bangkok, he offered to sell six hundred negatives for $5,000. The agents and the Thais decided to pursue this purchase. One agent posed as a distributor of child pornography and the other as a pedophile.

Upon meeting the offender, the agents were led through Bangkok to avoid surveillance, the offender checked the agents' passports to ascertain their identities, and to ensure that they lawfully entered Thailand. He turned over the final installment of the last photo set purchased by one of the agents, and arrangements were discussed for the purchase for the negatives, use of the children he had promised in his correspondence, and the availability of heroin and marijuana. A meeting was arranged for the following day.

The offender was subsequently arrested based on the evidence contained in the correspondence to the customs agent prior to the arrest. Agents discovered several volumes of photographs, hundreds of photos and negatives and paperback books, all depicting explicit sexual activity between adults and children in his apartment. In addition, address books, sexual paraphernalia, travel diaries, and a copy of his 1981 indictment in Detroit were also discovered.

The defendant has plead guilty to all counts, and is scheduled to be sentenced in Thailand.

Child pornography magazine publishers and filmmakers obtain photographs and movies of children from offenders and reprint them for commercial sale.[624] The United States is also the largest consumer of internationally produced child pornography.[625]

To break this circle of distribution, agencies empowered to interact with foreign countries should exercise their powers to curb the sexual exploitation of children.

These agencies face an initial hurdle caused by cultural differences and views of child sexuality. In contrast to the laws protecting children under the age of eighteen in the United States the age of majority in Northern Europe is generally sixteen.[626] In 1985 a bill was introduced before the Dutch parliament that would lower the age of sexual consent to twelve.

The State Department, the United States Department of Justice and the United States Customs Service should continue efforts to negotiate with foreign countries to curb the flow of child pornography. In the past, these efforts have taken the form of suggesting legislative reforms. Although legislation which would effectively combat child pornography is still pending in Denmark, a Danish judge recently found child pornography to be offensive to public decency.[627]

To supplement the broad diplomatic efforts of the State Department specific federal agencies should continue their efforts to control the distribution of child pornography.[628]

Because most of the commercial pornography is imported from European sources, much of the burden of intercepting this material falls on the United States Customs Service. The Customs Service has the authority to search persons and items at the borders[629] and Customs officers may detain and search any person and property entering the United States without the necessity of a search warrant.[630]

The Customs Service has detected a wide variety of obscene and child pornography materials in the mails including materials which depict such acts as sado-masochism, urination, defecation and bestiality.[631]

In January 1985 an inter-agency task force of agents from the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Customs Service, Department of State and the Federal Bureau of Investigation visited several European source countries of child pornography. These nations included Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands. The agencies sought the assistance of the foreign governments to prevent the distribution of child pornography.

The Commission applauds the efforts of these departments and agencies but encourages enhanced cooperation and detection efforts. A united effort is the only means to an effective and lasting remedy for the overwhelming child pornography problem. The agencies must continually increase their efforts to combat the flow of child pornography.

Notes

  1. Miami Hearing, Vol. I, R.P. "Toby" Tyler, pp. 156-57.
  2. These commercial publications include Lolitot, and Lolita.
  3. Id.
  4. Id.
  5. Washington, D.C., Hearing, Vol. II, John Forbes, p. 278.
  6. Washington D.C., Hearing, Vol, I, Daniel Harrington, p. 142.
  7. The United States Custom Service should take a leadership role in these efforts. The Customs Service has resources and expertise to conduct international investigations. The Customs Service should take advantage of the resources of the United States Postal Service and the Department of justice particularly in domestic matters.
  8. Washington. D.C., Hearing, Vol. II, Richard Miller, p. 267.
  9. Id.
  10. Id.