Search this site powered by FreeFind

Quick Link

for your convenience!


Human Rights, Youth Voices etc.

click here


For Information Concerning the Crisis in Darfur

click here


Northern Uganda Crisis

click here


 Whistleblowers Need Protection


Child Pornography Unacceptable

(The following was published as as a letter to the Ottawa Citizen, July 9, 1999.)

Dan Gardner argues in his column that possessing child pornography is within an individual’s "private sphere," and therefore should not be illegal. (Child porn ruling brings out demagogues and baboons, Citizen, July 5). I disagree.

Let’s not cloud the issue with hypothetical cases of individuals recording their thoughts in private diaries. To my knowledge, no one has ever been arrested solely for recording personal thoughts; no one realistically will be. Let’s be clear about the real targets of the law against child pornography.

The product is used mostly by paedophiles, who are sexually attracted to children. It serves no other purpose than to stimulate destructive fantasies of child molestation. Not all paedophiles act on their fantasies, but child pornography increases the likelihood that some will.

Such material not only arouses thoughts of child molestation, but in many cases it tries to legitimize such acts. Paedophiles argue that society will one day condone sex between adults and children. Children, they say, engage in such activities "willingly." This, of course, is outrageous, but such claims are now disseminated widely through networks of paedophiles increasingly linked through the Internet.

Indeed, computer technology has greatly enhanced one’s ability to amass collections of graphically exploitative material and to move it globally without regard for borders. Paedophiles are now linked internationally with like-minded individuals who encourage each other to carry out their sick fantasies.

But aren’t, Gardner argues, existing obscenity laws enough to curb the more destructive acts of paedophiles? Shouldn’t we only prosecute the producers/distributors and not the consumers of such material? In today’s global environment, the answer to both these questions is "no." A young child in South America may be sexually exploited and photographed, pornographic material produced in Europe, and the material distributed over the Internet from the United States. Only the consumer might be Canadian.

Possessing child pornography for an active paedophile is only the most visible tip of the iceberg, and therefore is an essential tool for police investigation. It is much easier to locate their pornography collections and thereby bring them before the law than it is to monitor whether they trade or sell such material, or to listen to their private communication with minors. Often seizures of child pornography provide evidence of more serious offences.

Every photograph is a permanent record of abuse against some child. It may haunt them long after they are grown up – if they are allowed to grow up. Persons who use such material – by providing a market and degrading the dignity of the victim – are full participants in the exploitation of children. Child pornography is not a victimless crime.

We, as a civilized society, cannot accept child pornography in any form. To argue for the protection of children while permitting the glamourization of their sexual exploitation is hypocrisy of the worst kind.

David Kilgour

Member of Parliament for Edmonton Southeast and former prosecutor in Alberta.

Home Books Photo Gallery About David Survey Results Useful Links Submit Feedback