Porn foes seek allies in Congress

Porn foes seek allies in Congress
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Opponents of pornography are taking to Capitol Hill to call attention to what they say has become a public health crisis.

“It may be an uncomfortable topic, but we’re already dealing with sexual assaults in the military and on college campuses,” said Patrick Trueman, president and CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE). “That doesn’t come out of the blue.”

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Each year, Trueman said Congress passes appropriations to fight sex trafficking, child pornography and sexual violence against women, but fails to address the root causes of those crimes.

To change that, the NCSE is holding a symposium next week intended to educate lawmakers and congressional staffers about the effects of pornography on society and criminal activity.

“We’re asking Congress to begin to understand the public health crisis that exists from pornography,” Trueman said. “It’s more than just a moral issue.”

NCSE said pornography shapes the sexual templates of children and contributes to the rise in sexual dysfunction now experienced by young men.

“We’re addressing sexual violence in the military and sex trafficking, but you have to address what attracts a man to enslave a woman or a man to have sex with an enslaved woman, and that’s pornography,” Trueman said. 

Speakers at Tuesday’s symposium will include Dr. Sharon Cooper, CEO of Development and Forensic Pediatrics; Ernie Allen, former president and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children; and Melissa Farley, executive director of Prostitution Research & Education.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Trump: 'Great to see' Pelosi plan to lower drug prices Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices MORE (R-Iowa) is the honorary sponsor of the Tuesday’s event. According to his press secretary Jill Gerber, Grassley supports discussions among experts about protecting children from exploitation through pornography.

Trueman hopes the symposium will lead lawmakers to hold hearings and request more funding for research on how porn is leading to violence, child sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.

Lawmakers already appear poised to tackle on issue related to online pornography, with members working on legislation to crack down on so-called revenge porn — intimate pictures and videos that are posted online without a person’s consent.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) is drafting The Intimate Privacy Protection Act, which would put punish companies like Face book and other social media sites that do not remove the photos when asked. 

Several sites including Twitter, Reddit and Google have already promised to honor user requests for taking down revenge porn and omitting it from search results.