*Content warning- this content may be distressing*
Child sexual exploitation material, or child sexual abuse material, refers to sexually abusive images of children. It may include photographic or video evidence of the rape, sexual abuse and torture of children and infants.
Virtual or computer-generated child sexual exploitation material is produced without the use of living children, depicting fictional children. Under Australian law, this content constitutes illegal child sexual exploitation material. The Commonwealth Criminal Code prohibits the sale, production, possession and distribution of offensive and abusive material that depicts a person, or is a representation of a person, who is or appears to be under 18. This includes virtual or animated representations of children, as well as child sex dolls.Read more
*Content warning- this article mentions child sexual abuse which may be distressing for some readers*
In January, the United Nations released the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse material, containing an overview of the main issues of concern and recommendations for going forward. The report examines the sexual exploitation and sale of children in a number of settings- online, in prostitution, in travel and tourism, sports and major sporting events, peace keeping and humanitarian aid, child marriage, illegal adoption and surrogacy.Read more
Earlier this week, online (gaming and entertainment) news outlet Kotaku named Collective Shout’s submission to the review of Australian Classification laws one of the review’s “most important submissions”. Collective Shout was listed among other organisations and corporates that Kotaku called “main players” in the review, including the Australian Council on Children and the Media, Google, Disney and Netflix.
Kotaku cited our recommendations, including our push for an urgent investigation ‘into the Classification Board assigning M or MA15+ ratings to anime and manga genres featuring Child Sexual Abuse Material contrary to Australian law’.
In our submission we highlighted
- the need for an evidence-based approach informed by research that demonstrates the harms of sexual objectification;
- pornography should no longer be treated by default as ‘adult content’, but as commercialised sexual exploitation;
- reliance on parents to control what their children access is unrealistic;
- child and youth development experts who can advise on the ‘possible impact of content with sexualised content or messaging’ should be included in the new regulatory process.
We warned against a self-regulated model, using the failures of the self-regulated advertising industry and its overseeing body, Ad Standards, to uphold community standards and the industry’s Code of Ethics to emphasise the need for an overseer which has powers to enforce rulings.
Read our full submission here.
Media Release: Classification Board approves movies depicting child rape - Collective Shout calls on Communications Minister Fletcher to urgently intervene
Collective Shout has called for an overhaul of Australia’s classification system and a review of recent Classification Board determinations following discovery of illegal animated child sexual abuse material depicting child rape, abuse and exploitation which the Board classified as suitable for audiences as young as 15 - in some cases even younger.
South Australian Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff exposed the Board’s deeply disturbing failure to exercise its responsibilities under Australian law in a speech in the Senate Tuesday followed by a Senate motion yesterday.
Senator Griff described anime movies depicting “wide-eyed children, usually in school uniforms, engaged in explicit sexual activities and poses, and often being sexually abused." He called for an immediate review of all Japanese anime movies accessible in Australia.
The Commonwealth Criminal Code prohibits the sale, production, possession and distribution of offensive and abusive material that depicts a person, or is a representation of a person, who is or appears to be under 18.
Senator Griff cited a number of anime series featuring the sexual abuse of children. One of these, Sword Art Online: Extra Edition depicts the rape and sexual assault of children. It was given an unrestricted M rating by the Classifications Board, despite the fact it constitutes illegal child exploitation material. According to Senator Griff, the character Asuna is raped by her captor Sugu, who threatens to also rape her in the real world, where she is lying in a hospital room in a catatonic state. Sugu says he will make a recording of the virtual rape to shame her.
Senator Griff said that the Classification Board justified the M rating in its report, stating that the nudity through the film is 'moderate in impact' and 'justified by context'.
We would like to know how Board members could possibly justify the sexual violation of children for entertainment as justifiable in any way.
Other anime series depicting sexual abuse of children as well as strong incest themes were given an MA 15+ rating by the Board, despite also featuring illegal content. In Goblin Slayer children are portrayed as frightened or resisting - at the same time enjoying the sexual abuse inflicted on them.
“The Board has made child sexual exploitation material available for purchase in Australian retail outlets - including mainstream stores like Sanity”, Movement Director Melinda Tankard Reist said. “This has allowed a paedophilic culture to flourish. How can we claim to care about the epidemic of child sexual abuse when child sexual exploitation material is given the tick by our so-called regulatory body?”
Our experience working with child sexual abuse survivors and clinicians supports Senator Griff’s statement that this material is “a gateway to the abuse of actual children” and can be used as a grooming tool to normalise abuse.
“This matter must be immediately referred to the Australian Federal Police,” Tankard Reist said. “And Communications Minister Paul Fletcher needs to take charge of this failed government agency and investigate how it could allow this content to be permitted contrary to Australian law”.
In its submission to the current review of Australian Classification Regulation, Collective Shout provided detailed evidence of systemic failures of the Board over a decade and called for its complete overhaul. Its approval of child sexual exploitation material is just the latest example of a broken system.
Melinda Tankard Reist
[mtr at collectiveshout.org]
[caitlin at collectiveshout.org]
27 February 2020Read more
Instagram is a haven for child predators and a host to the broadcasting of child sex abuse fantasies. Contrary to corporate claims that there's 'no place' for content that exploits or endangers children, exploitative, graphic and degrading comments directed at underage girls are rampant on the Facebook-owned platform.
Our campaign partners at National Center on Sexual Exploitation met with Instagram heads last December to discuss the ways Instagram puts children at risk and how child safety on Instagram could be improved. Instagram said that the matter of predatory comments will be investigated.
Meanwhile, men continue to use Instagram to harass and fetishise little girls. See below for our latest roundup of child sex abuse fantasies and other predatory comments freely broadcast on Instagram. We will continue to expose and call out this predatory behaviour!
Take action today!
Full article published on Mercury
A retiree has been refused bail after police allegedly found a raft of child abuse material on his laptop and a number of fake identification documents.
Over the past 20 years, police allege Mr Seddon regularly travelled to Thailand and the Philippines, describing him as “well-connected” and a “frequent traveller to high risk ports for child exploitation”.
Police also alleged Mr Seddon recently contacted a computer company and asked them how to use the dark web.
Mr Seddon had also allegedly been using YouTube Kids and had searched for “young boy gay porn” before his arrest.
Police allege they also uncovered an “enormous amount of gay pornography” ranging from children to adults.
“Based on the pornography viewed, the accused has a preference for jail scene encounters…sexual torture,” court documents read.
Police allege Mr Seddon had befriended a woman in the Philippines with two boys aged six and eight, who he often gave gifts to and provided for. Police have documentation which shows payments to the Philippines for unknown reasons.Read more
Australian Institute of Criminology releases report on child sex dolls
The Australian Institute of Criminology has released the report ‘Exploring the implications of child sex dolls’ by Rick Brown and Jane Shelling. The report discusses child sex dolls in relation to the sexualisation of children, as an “escalated form of engaging with child pornography”, the normalisation of child sexual abuse and the risk of grooming.
The authors acknowledge that there is very little empirical evidence on the implications of sex dolls and child sex dolls, and therefore also draw on research on child exploitation material and sex offences in considering the implications of sex doll use and ownership.
Potential Harms: Escalation, Desensitisation, Objectification, Commodification and Grooming
The report documents a range of potential harms associated with the production, distribution and use of child sex dolls.
It is possible that use of child sex dolls may lead to escalation in child sex offences, from viewing online child exploitation material to contact sexual offending.
It may also desensitise the user from the potential harm that child sexual assault causes, given that such dolls give no emotional feedback.
The sale of child sex dolls potentially results in the risk of children being objectified as sexual beings and of child sex becoming a commodity.
Finally, there is a risk that child-like dolls could be used to groom children for sex, in the same way that adult sex dolls have already been used.
There is no evidence that child sex dolls have a therapeutic benefit in preventing child sexual abuse.
The authors conclude:
It is ‘reasonable to assume that interaction with child sex dolls could increase the likelihood of child sexual abuse by desensitising the doll user to the physical, emotional and psychological harm caused by child sexual abuse and normalising the behaviour in the mind of the abuser’.
We have previously exposed Wish app and Amazon for selling child sex dolls, along with a range of other replica child body parts marketed for sexual use. In response to our campaign, Wish withdrew these items from sale.
OPEN LETTER ON THE DANGERS OF NORMALISING SEX DOLLS & SEX ROBOTS
A Queensland man found with 14 hours of video and over 500 images of child exploitation material has received an 18 month suspended sentence. Christopher Edward Hunt had become desensitised to violent porn and had been collecting images and videos of children being tortured and engaging in sex acts with animals.
The 31 year old lived with his parents and after police raided his house he admitted to possessing child exploitation material and sexually abusing the family's Staffordshire terrier.Read more
Twenty Victorian men arrested over child exploitation material depicting torture of children and newborn babies
***"Trigger warning: child exploitation''
Twenty men across Victoria have been arrested over child exploitation offences, with police seizing photos and videos of children and babies being tortured.
Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton told the Herald Sun that each month hundreds of Victorians shared millions of images of child abuse material.
“We know there are links between this type of online activity and contact offending, so it’s important that we target anyone prepared to source this type of material in any way,” he said.
Source: Victoria Police
Mr Patton said the material showed children, and even newborn infants, in sexually provocative poses and in pain.
Writing in response to the Royal Commission into institutionalised child sexual abuse, Collective Shout co-founder Melinda Tankard Reist said:
There is deep distress in the community that defenceless children are used in such evil ways. But the broader culture that encourages the abuse of the children goes unaddressed. The same loathing that is directed toward child sexual abuse has not been extended to the mainstream promotion of paedophilic fantasies for profit.
Melinda Tankard Reist pointed out that this abuse of children was also driven by a culture that normalises and eroticises child sexual assault.
We’ve exposed mainstream retailers for their promotion of child sexual abuse. Bookworld was forced to withdraw hundreds of rape and incest titles, many of which portrayed the rape of girls by their fathers as erotic and desirable.
After months of campaigning against Amazon in 2010, they finally delisted ‘The Paedophile’s Guide to Love & Pleasure”, a book written by an actual paedophile endorsing sexual crimes against children. Amazon continues to attract criticism for its sexualised content involving children and babies, including sexy nurse outfits for toddlers.
Australian sex shops sell replica vaginas for men’s use, modelled on the bodies of little girls and promoted as “fresh” and “innocent” with intact hymens. Chemist Warehouse sold the ‘Virgin Palm Pal’ men’s sex toy until we exposed them in 2015.
Major retailers sell sexualised clothing for girls, including padded bras, and advertising features children posed and styled in increasingly adultified ways, inviting us to see them as older than they really are.
Service stations around the country sell ‘barely legal’ style porn magazines featuring girls with braces and pigtails.
As Melinda Tankard Reist concludes,
We are destroying the cultural norms that once taught male adults that children’s bodies are off-limits to sexual use. We cannot fully address child sexual abuse until we reject a culture that glamorises it.
We were recently contacted by one of our supporters, author and freelance writer Jas Rawlinson, who had concerns about content she had come across online. Seek.com, which promotes itself as Australia’s no. 1 jobs, employment, career and recruitment site, was hosting ads calling for ‘male models’ with no experience required, with the promise of making up to $900 per hour. Jas did some digging, and found some disturbing content and information.
Jas recounted what she found in a blog post at www.thoughtsfromjas.com:
It was August last year when I first came across a ‘models wanted’ advert, offering extreme amounts of money to teen boys/young men for – you guessed it – no required experience.
Jumping onto the advertiser’s website (let’s call them ‘SS’), I noticed there was – unsurprisingly- a real lack of information about who their company were and what they offered. Likewise, their social media also showed little information, with barely any engagement or followers – so I decided to do a reverse Google image search of the teen boys featured on their page.
In barely any time at all, I was lead to another social media account with the exact same images – only this time, the young boys were advertised with terms such as ‘youthful’, ‘fresh faced’, ‘milky skin’ and ‘twink’ (a gay slang word that refers to slender, underdeveloped young men with ‘little to no body hair’).
Digging further online, I discovered that not only was the ABN of ‘SS’ also connected to gay pornographic services, but that the images used on Facebook were censored versions of the real photographs – which featured older men performing sexual services on the young men.
When the ad popped up again this month, I was told by SEEK’s Customer Service Fraud and Compliance Analyst, Sarah Grigg, to contact the ACCC instead. Only when I mentioned that the police had been notified – along with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner and organisations such as Childwise – did they then change their tune – eventually, removing the ad.
However, the fight to prevent ads of this nature being uploaded continues, as I again found the ad listed only a few days later (after reporting it again, the ad was swiftly removed). SEEK have vowed to try to do more to prevent this business from getting around their systems in the future, but it has to be said – why did they allow a gay pornographic service to falsely advertise to teenage boys in the first place?
There are millions of online sites where people can seek, or sell, sexual services. Teen boys should not be being targeted on a mainstream employment website.
Have you noticed advertisements of this nature on SEEK? Email email@example.com to let them know.