A nation has been scandalized by the use of children some as young as three years old in pornographic films and magazines. But "kiddie porn" is only the tip of a much larger iceberg involving the sexual abuse and exploitation of thousands of young people.
Hollywood, California A Local Restaurant (Night): Frank takes out his wallet and opens it for the reporter to see. It is bulging with ten and twenty dollar bills. "How much do you have?" the reporter asks. "Almost $200," Frank replies. "Not bad for one day's work." The day's work that Frank has just completed involved the selling of his body for sex with five male customers and posing in the nude for pictures for a sixth. Frank is a male prostitute. He has just returned from a trick a customer and has decided to call it a day. "How many tricks have you turned in your career?" "I don't know," he replies, shrugging his shoulders. "Maybe two hundred." "How long have you been turning tricks?" "Over two years." Frank is only 15. "You must have a lot of money by now." "No way!" He laughs at the thought. "I got a habit." He rolls up a sleeve and shows the needle marks dotting his arm. Heroin.
University of California at Los Angeles (Day): "Every year up to 30,000 children and teenagers pose for pornography in the Los Angeles area," testifies Sergeant Lloyd Martin of the Los Angeles Police Department before a House of Representatives subcommittee hearing an a congressional bill to curb child pornography. Martin heads a squad of five detectives who comprise a special unit of the Juvenile Division of the LAPD which investigates sexual exploitation of children. At the same hearing, Representative Robert K. Dornan denounces the Los Angeles area, his home, as the center of the U.S. pornography industry. "This county [Los Angeles] is perverting this nation with the vilest material that's ever been seen by man," he says. "This county leads the nation in distribution of hard and soft-core pornography, bestiality, sadism, masochism, bondage and discipline, and child pornography." Hollywood, California (Night): Frank, restless for another fix of heroin, gets up and leaves. Others are leaving also it's almost closing time, anyway. The restaurant sits on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Las Palmas Avenue. It is the first stop in an area of Hollywood called the "meat rack," the sexual supermarket where kids, called "chickens," display and sell themselves to customers, or "chicken hawks," who slowly cruise the area in cars, or ogle from seats in the restaurant. At this time of the night, about a half dozen kids are loitering on the corner outside the restaurant. One looks no older than ten or eleven, but he says he's thirteen: Around the corner a couple of others thumb through magazines at a bookstall on Las Palmas, including gay magazines which, from time to time, feature nude photos of some of the chickens who frequent the restaurant. Still others are down the block on Selma Avenue waiting for the cruising chicken hawks. A couple of the young male prostitutes sit nonchalantly on the steps of the First Baptist Church on Selma sharing a cigarette.
New York, New York: If there is any one person responsible for the recent publicity about child pornography, it is Dr. Judianne Densen-Gerber, president of Odyssey Institute Inc., a private organization concerned
At least 600,000 boys and girls between the ages of eight and sixteen become involved in pornography and prostitution each year in the United States.
with various social problems such as drug rehabilitation. A year ago she became concerned about the increasing amount of child pornography. Since then she has, in her own words, "become a raving banshee" over the sexual exploitation of children. To dramatize her crusade against child pornography, she called a news conference in Times Square (the heart of the city's porno district) in January. She displayed two films depicting explicit sex acts involving children between the ages of eight and thirteen films bought across the street from where she was talking. In addition, she showed magazines and even a deck of playing cards with youngsters in lewd positions. Dr. Densen-Gerber claimed at that time that as many as 120,000 children in the New York metropolitan area are involved in some type of sex for money, including prostitution. "We permit our society's sickest members the license to sexually use three-year-olds." Many of the participants in kiddie porn are runaways forced into the acts by unscrupulous operators and procurers, she said, but other children are engaged by parents or guardians who "live off their backs" through earnings from the illicit operations. "These parents who subject their children to this type of environment are monsters who are sick and need treatment," she said. Who are some of these villains?
North Bellmore, New York: An ex-aerospace engineer decides to make a few extra bucks. He places an ad offering "$200 fee for girl model, 8-14 (must have parents' consent), one day photographic session." The response is overwhelming. Some adults actually appear in the pictures with their children. Others merely allow their children to have sex with other adults. By the time the police break up the engineer's newfound business, some 18 children have had their pictures taken. The porn operation had grown into a $250,000-a-year business.
Winchester, Tennessee: A defrocked Episcopal priest goes on trial, charged with taking in neglected children at his boys' farm and secretly filming adult "sponsors" sexually abusing the boys.
New Orleans, Louisiana: A ring of men, including three millionaires, are charged with involving a Boy Scout troop in the filming of homosexual acts.
Los Angeles, California: A three-year-old girl, a five-year-old girl, and a ten-year-old boy are sold into the kiddie porn trade by their prostitute mothers.
Hollywood, California: How do the chicken hawks the pederasts and pornographers rationalize the sexual exploitation of youngsters? The reporter approaches several of them for an explanation. They come from all walks of life; they don't fit into any stereotype. They are truck drivers and TV technicians, actors and executives. But their justifications do fall into a pattern. One chicken hawk: "I love kids. I don't mistreat them. I give them more attention and respect than they get at home." Second chicken hawk: "Some guys have taken these kids off the streets and given them room and board for months even years. They've sent them through college. And all they asked for is a little sex now and then. Nothing in life is free." Third chicken hawk: "Before you make me a villain, just remember I'm a human being who needs sex. But in the gay world, the premium is put on beauty, youth. I'm not young anymore, and I know I'm not good-looking. I have to pay my hard-earned money to get what I want. It's strictly a business proposition, and both parties get what they want. What's wrong with that? It ain't my fault if the kid's going to take the money I give him and buy drugs. That's his problem. If he didn't get it from me for sex, he'd go out and steal it to support his habit." Chicken hawks and chickens seem to operate under a credo formulated by the basic impulses of lust and greed: "Everyone has his vice and his price."
Hollywood Boulevard (Day): In addition to homosexual prostitution along the "meat rack," Hollywood is afflicted with heterosexual prostitution along famed Hollywood Boulevard and other streets in town. Police and an enraged citizenry waged a highly publicized and fairly effective campaign in 1976 against one form of prostitution massage parlors. But efforts to clean the streets of male and female prostitutes, particularly the "meat rack" area, have not been as successful. Streetwalkers of both sexes still abound.
Hollywood Boulevard and Las Palmas (Night): Sandy, 16, has just arrived in town with a backpack on her shoulders. She has just run away from home, but won't say where home is. Her mother is divorced, drinks too much, sleeps around, and, according to Sandy, "never talks to me unless she's mad at me or is ordering me around." So she ran away two nights ago and thumbed a ride to Hollywood. She has been propositioned three times already, she says, but has refused so far. She's confident she can get a job. But right now she has no money, and she hasn't eaten in almost a day. She wolfs down a hamburger voraciously. A couple of "more experienced" kids who eavesdrop on the conversation smile and snicker at her naivet้. They know better.
Hollywood Boulevard and Whitley (Night): Dressed in skintight shorts and a halter top, a girl, 16 at most, strolls along the street, keeping an eye on the passing cars. The reporter approaches and starts to ask questions. She looks at him with hardened eyes and tight lips. "I don't have time for questions," she says. The reporter persists. She points across the street to a black man in flashy clothes and white fedora who is watching them. "He's my pimp. If I don't hustle, I'm in trouble. And so will you be if all you want to do is ask questions." She stalks away. The reporter watches her hustle. Within five minutes, a white station wagon pulls up to the curb where she is loitering. The man is middle-aged and dressed in a suit. They exchange a few words. She climbs inside and the car speeds away.
Selma Avenue (Hollywood): Jim, 16, is not a runaway. He commutes by bus on weekends from Glendale, a city a short distance northeast of Los Angeles, where he lives with his parents. Right now his eyes are somewhat glazed, his speech disjointed. He is stoned on Quaalude, a hypnotic drug. "Do your folks know what you're doing hustling here in Hollywood?" "Naw. They don't care they just think I've gone out to see a movie or somethin'." "What about your drug habit?" "They don't know. Too dumb about drugs, I guess. I've been stoned like I am now right in front of them and they never said nothin'." Jim has been hustling for "about six months." "Why? What made you do it?" Sometimes you get a sensational reason such as child beating or neglect. Or maybe incest, the modern family's most secret sin. Studies indicate that many chickens and chicken hawks were sexually abused as children by parents or relatives. Or maybe you'll hear about families ripped apart by divorce, or alcoholic parents. More often, the reasons are the more traditional ones of "lack of communication" or "we don't get along." Occasionally, delinquent youths have no apparent reason for their behavior. By all conventional standards, they have perfectly decent families. Which happens to be the case with Jim. "I dunno," he replies. The reporter throws out all of the aforementioned reasons. Jim shakes his head. "My folks are all right. I got nothing against them." He pauses a moment, and then adds, "I'm here because there's a lot of money to be made. I'm here to get a piece of the action." The reporter leaves Jim to his "action." Time is money for him. And time is short. By the time a male prostitute is 23, 24, 25, he is too old to sell himself for sex; the cars will no longer stop. He will only be left to offer, literally, free sex, and eventually he may end up paying some other youth for sex. The story will have gone full circle. The victim will become the villain.
Washington, D.C. (House of Representatives). Sgt. Lloyd Martin testifies before a House subcommittee: "A child who has been sexually abused will frequently turn to prostitution, pornography, narcotics or other criminal activity, or will be encouraged to engage in this activity by an abusing adult after having outlived his novelty as a sexual partner."
New York, New York. Dr. Densen-Gerber, still on the warpath: "At this stage of life, between eight and twelve, the child is getting work gratification. This is when the child learns how to study, learns how to feel good about himself. If you interfere with that and tell him the way to feel good about himself is through sex... these kids [will] learn that's the way to cope. "And that's why we have the high incidence of over 40 percent of prostitutes who were sexualized as children and why our male patients [in the Odyssey drug rehabilitation program] are homosexually sodomized."
Dr. Densen-Gerber, Sgt. Lloyd Martin and others who have been dealing with the sexual exploitation of young people have screamed long enough and loud enough to arouse public outrage and action all the way from local communities to the halls of Congress. Police in cities across the country have cracked down on the peddling of child pornography. At last count, three states have adopted new statutes to punish adult traffickers in such smut. And legislatures in at least 23 other states are debating similar tough proposals. Bills have been introduced into Congress. The FBI and the U.S. Postal Service have initiated investigations. As a result of all the publicity and uproar, kiddie porn started disappearing from the shelves of adult bookstores around the country in March and April. But, in many cases, customers could still obtain it under the counter. When probing reporters wrote headline stories about that, vendors refused to sell it to anyone they didn't know. But the smut is still there, still available, and still selling. Officer Doug Elder of the Los Angeles Police Department points out that what stores have on their racks for public view and what they can procure for their steady customers can be quite different. "If they know you're not the heat [police] or the press, they can get you all the chicken films, books, slides or magazines you want," he says. "This is a big business. A magazine half the thickness of Playboy will sell for anywhere from $7.50 to $15 a copy, and a 50-foot super 8mm film runs anywhere from $50 on up." It costs about $1.50 to $2 to produce the magazine, $4 to $5 to make one film. The fact of the matter is, pornography doesn't abide by any law of man or God. The only law it consistently obeys is the law of supply and demand. The demand for kiddie porn by hundreds of thousands of sexual deviates is strong very strong. No law can suppress it. And the supply of young people who can be seduced into meeting the demand is inexhaustible. At least one million children run away from home every year in the United States. Perhaps two million. Nobody knows the exact numbers. They come to the big cities like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles with no skills, no job prospects, and little or no money. There is only one way for them to survive: "Drop their pants or pull up their dress," as Sgt. Martin puts it. Dr. Densen-Gerber estimates that at least 300,000 boys between the ages of eight and sixteen become involved in the production of pornographic books, films and magazines, and prostitution. She speculates that another 300,000 girls in the same age category may be involved. What can be done about the sexploitation of young people? In the next issue of The Plain Truth, we'll take a look at the complex social and psychological issues involved and proposals for dealing with the problem.
"Sexploitation Appears to Offer Him What He Cannot Find at Home Affection, Love, Concern"
An Interview with Dr. Ludwig F. Lowenstein
Dr. Ludwig F. Lowenstein, director of an assessment and guidance center in London and Winchester, England, deals with children who have a variety of problems, including neuroses and difficulties in relating to parents or fitting into the educational system. He has lectured and written a number of books and articles dealing with the problems of child rearing and juvenile delinquency in today's society, including " sexploitation" of the young. His books include Child Guidance and the School and The Art of Being a Parent. Because the home and upbringing play such a vital part in proper sexual development of the child and may determine whether or not he will be vulnerable to sexual exploitation, Plain Truth correspondent Peter Butler interviewed Dr. Lowenstein on what parents can do to inculcate a right approach toward sex.
PLAIN TRUTH: What should parents do to guard against any baneful preconditioning of the child's mind toward sex? LOWENSTEIN: Parents have to give their children positive teaching to counteract the later negative influences they are likely to encounter. The only way to do this is through a relationship with their child that is warm, free and tolerant, because in this sort of situation the child is more likely to heed the advice given by the parents and also the example they set. They themselves must imbue the child with a sense of right and wrong and an understanding of why it is right to do some things and not others. It should not be merely a stern "This is right; this is wrong." This kind of discussion should be a continuing process starting right from the beginning. Parents shouldn't try to set standards suddenly when their children are teenagers. This is where parents make a big mistake. Q. Even if there is correct education in the home, is there an added danger if children are continually watching dubious TV programs and films which exploit sex? A. The mass media is, of course, a powerful influence on a child's life, and on everybody's life. There have been investigations as to the effect of television on people, and there is no question that if you continue to see films which portray extremes of violence or sexual behavior which is sadistic or devoid of positive educational content, it will influence the way you live and treat other people. It can have the effect, on both the parents and the children, of either making them callous toward sexual behavior or preconditioning them to accept certain forms of "sexploitation." Q. And yet at present the media presents sex with a certain amount of glamour which. adds a respectability to its exploitation. A. Yes, again, a one-sided view of things, and if youngsters haven't been imbued with any sort of standards by their parents, they become more susceptible to the attractions that such exploitation appears to offer. They might even come to consider it the accepted thing. This is particularly so in the case of children whose parents go so far as to teach them that there are no standards, or to imply by example that anything goes, or that sex independent of human emotion and concern is what is paramount. Their children don't ever see sex as playing a contributory part in a wonderful, wholesome and complete relationship between two devoted people, where sex is but one of a number of ways for showing love and affection. Q. It has been said that a child who
"There is no concern for human feelings. Pornography might be defined as dehumanized sexual behavior."
doesn't find love and companionship in the home may seek solace elsewhere, and in so doing can be led into sexual relationships that he or she considers offer a warmth, a love and compassion that he or she has never found before. But in effect, this is only a kind of sexual gratification. Can you elucidate on that? A. Sex is a very interesting phenomenon. It is a contact of bodies. This activity can be isolated to purely seeking sexual gratification, and there are people who have never experienced a warm, intimate relationship with another human being which involves tenderness, warmth and affection. The relationship is merely restricted to the sex act, and because that's all they've ever known, they become adjusted to accepting that this is what it is all about. Sexploitation will appear to offer them what they cannot find at home, yet it is not affection, really, but merely a kind of sexual gratification. They do not consider there is anything else to a relationship. This is the kind of experience to which children are prone who are not given proper instruction or shown proper affection in the home a cold, shallow approach to sex which, however, appears to offer them more " love" than they ever got at home. Now this isn't to say that sexual activity can go wrong simply because of your home life. It could go wrong because you have had a very unfortunate relationship with some member of the opposite sex when you were younger, and you say to yourself, ''I'm never going to get involved again with anyone else. I'll just leave it at sex." But, again, this is not so likely to happen to young people who have been imbued with correct standards and given balanced instruction and a warm home relationship. Q. Can pornography have the same effect, even if a person isn't actually involved in promiscuous sexual activity? A. Yes. The sex act is portrayed as a mechanical operation in which the all-important thing is to seek merely for physical gratification. This is undoubtedly important. But the person who is oriented towards purely the mechanics can ultimately become bored with all the normal aspects and responses of sex and, in so doing, will need to seek more and more unusual ways of expressing himself or herself. This will never lead to a full and meaningful total relationship. Pornography offers sensual delights in the form of pure eroticism without emotional linkage to another human being about whom care is felt. But we have to realize the relationship must come under one ultimate umbrella or another, i.e., does it come under the umbrella of compassion, warmth, love and a total relationship, or is the end in itself the purely physical seeking after more and more ways to get physical gratification, and totally ignoring the human aspects of the relationship? This is the danger of pornography. There is no concern for human feelings. Pornography might be defined as dehumanized sexual behavior.