Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page
CHAPTER 3: Paedophile Networks in Australia - Extent and Activities
3.1 Clearly, not all paedophiles operate in groups
or networks. The Committee therefore had to consider what proportion do.
It examined what sort of paedophile structures have existed in the recent
past and what sorts of groups and networks currently operate.
Public Advocacy and Support Groups
3.2 In a number of countries since at least the
1960s paedophile support groups that operate in public have been formed
or become prominent. A United States Senate subcommittee in 1986 gave
the following description of them. [note
Several organizations whose members openly advocate adult sex with
children have been active in the United States and Europe at least since
the 1960s. The goals of these groups often are couched in legal and
psycho-sexual arguments about 'age of consent' laws and prevailing social
attitudes, but at the heart of each group examined by the Subcommittee
was a basic obsession with justifying 'consensual' sex with children,
regardless of age. In some cases, the groups' leaders were convicted
child sex offenders. The groups range from anarchistic, underground
clubs whose newsletters and philosophies are haphazard at best to well-organized,
politically astute groups that march in parades and openly distribute
Although primarily based in major cities, the American pedophile support
groups have members throughout the United States and foreign countries.
Subcommittee interviews with former members of these organizations,
some of whom were imprisoned for child molestation, indicate that while
they ostensibly exist to support such goals as 'sexual liberation for
all persons,' these groups serve primarily as contact services for pedophiles.
Like most clubs, they bring people of similar interests in touch with
each other; in the case of pedophiles, however, the purpose of this
contact often is to exchange child pornography and information about
3.3 The United States Senate subcommittee also
reported: [note #76]
The membership of known pedophile-support groups in the United States
is probably less than 2,000. While many of the groups' members have
been convicted for child sex crimes, the groups themselves are not involved
actively in large-scale criminal conspiracies, such as commercial child
3.4 However, the Senate subcommittee said of
the overt, organised paedophile support groups:
Organized pedophile groups pose the most serious threat when they serve
as contact and support groups, justifying pedophilia in the minds of
their members and reinforcing within child molesters a belief that society,
not the pedophile, is misguided. There is no way of knowing how many
'closet' pedophiles, who had only fantasized about molesting children,
were moved to act out their fantasies by the encouragement and support
of these groups and their newsletters.
It would be a mistake, however, to overemphasize the threat posed by
these groups to the exclusion of the more numerous unorganized groups
of child molesters that make no pretense of wanting to change legislation
or to argue their case in public. The largest and most dangerous child
sex rings invariably have proven to be groups of friends and/or pen
pals with no real organizational structure. [note #77]
3.5 One of the US support groups, the Rene Guyon
Society, achieved a certain notoriety in the 1970s and early 1980s with
its slogan of "sex before eight, or else its too late" and its
claims of a membership numbering in the thousands. However, the 1986 United
States Senate subcommittee report commented that the Society "is
widely known by most investigators as a one-man propaganda operation whose
membership claims are not credible". [note #78]
3.6 The most prominent of the US groups and the
only one to endure has been the North American Man/Boy Love Association. [note #79] It was founded
in 1978 and continues to function, apparently within the law. [note
#80] It has chapters in several US cities
and publishes a regular newsletter which circulates world-wide. An article
in 1994 stated: "While the 1,000-member NAMBLA is made up of a number
of what are called ephebophiles - people attracted to children in or just
emerging from puberty - it also includes a contingent
of actual paedophiles, or people who are attracted to prepubescent children
(the two factions don't always get along)". [note
#81] Currently NAMBLA claims to have "more
than one thousand members worldwide". [note #82]as The Committee
received no evidence that it conducts activities in Australia, although
copies of its newsletter may be received here.
3.7 The most prominent support group in the United
Kingdom was the Paedophile Information Exchange, which was founded in
1974. Its membership was apparently never more than a few hundred, [note
#83] and it apparently went out of existence
in 1984, following the arrest of some of its leading members on child
pornography charges. [note #84] The
PIE's Bulletin in July 1984, which announced that the group was
closing down, is reported to have listed twenty three other paedophile
support groups in Europe and the United States that PIE members could
contact instead. [note #85]
There have been attempts in Britain to establish successors to the PIE,
but none have achieved the same notoriety or apparently been successful.
3.8 The Netherlands exhibited a tolerant attitude
to the activities of paedophile supports groups from at least the 1960s
until the mid-1980s, when public attitudes became somewhat less accommodating.
There are it seems paedophile support groups currently still active in
the Netherlands, and also in several other European
countries, including Belgium, Denmark and Germany. [note
#87] At least two paedophile support groups
with differing aims now operate through the Internet. [note
3.9 Two paedophile support groups achieved some
prominence in Australia in the 1980s. The Australian groups shared a number
of characteristics with the ones in the United States and Britain referred
to above. The membership seems to have been very small and overwhelmingly
male. The emphasis was very much on man-boy relationships rather than
heterosexual ones. The groups both here and overseas, by portraying themselves
as just another oppressed sexual minority, enjoyed a measure of support
from the fringes of the gay and lesbian liberation movement, which also
became increasingly active in the 1970s. [note
3.10 According to the 1985 Sturgess Report, the
Australian Paedophile Support Group was formed in 1983, [note #90] although other
sources give 1980 as the foundation date. [note
#91] The Sturgess report stated that the
is based in Sydney. Its announced aims are 'to promote paedophilia
as a viable sexual alternative' 'to provide support for other paedophiles',
'to bring pressure for the removal of the age of consent' and 'to promote
children's rights'. It publishes a magazine called 'Rockspider', a trashy
affair, full of dirty stories.
3.11 The Victoria Police used an undercover agent
to infiltrate the meetings in Melbourne in 1983 of a handful of men who
were trying to establish a branch of the Australian
Paedophile Support Group. As a result, charges were laid against nine
men in Melbourne and Sydney for conspiracy to corrupt the public morals. [note #92] No
convictions were secured and there was some criticism of both the undercover
operation and the use of what was seen as a vague and seldom-used charge
of conspiracy to corrupt the public morals. [note
3.12 An Australian Federal Police paper in 1992
referred to the Australian Paedophile Support Group and stated:
As a result of police activity, this support group disbanded, and was
reformed as the Boy Lovers and Zucchini Eaters (BLAZE). BLAZE published
a newsletter entitled Rockspider, later the Blaze Bulletin,
which was circulated nationally and internationally. BLAZE may now
have further changed its identity to elude police detection. [note
3.13 A November 1987 media report described Blaze
as a Sydney-based group and as "an extension of the Australian Paedophile
Support Group" which "emerged 18 months ago". [note #95] The report said
that representatives of Blaze would not divulge details of the organisation's
membership. [note #96] In
a 1989 newspaper report, a Queensland Police officer was quoted as saying
that BLAZE "has been shut down in Sydney and as far as we are aware
it has now been shut down in Brisbane". [note
#97] Confidential information provided to
the Committee from police sources indicated that both the Australian Paedophile
Support Group and Blaze were regarded as no longer operating. [note #98]
3.14 A media report in 1989 said that Victoria
police were concerned that a new paedophile support group was trying to
establish itself in Victoria, following the publication
of the first issue of a magazine called "Cross Talk". A police
officer said the magazine had plagiarised imported US paedophile publications
for its content, which advocated abolition of the age of consent and promoted
sexual relations between adults and children. [note #99]
3.15 The Committee received a submission from
the Australasian Man Boy Love Association which stated that the Association
was "a regular attendant at the annual IPCE (International Paedophile
and Child Emancipation) Conference" (p. 1). In an attachment to the
submission, the Association stated: "We have a New Zealand and Australian
membership. Due to the nature of the present persecution no other details
in regard to membership can be released." The attachment also stated
that the Association was not an illegal organisation, did not organise
sex tours, did not produce or distribute pornography, and was not a profit-making
3.16 The AMBLA submission noted (p. 1): "In
1994, following inquiries from Australia, AMBLA changed its name from
the Aotearoa Man/Boy-Love Association to the Australasian MBLA, to help
fill this gap in our international community". It seems reasonable
to assume that the AMBLA receives the newsletters of the North American
Man/Boy Love Association and of other similar associations that produce
newsletters, and that the groups informally exchange information. [note
#100] To the extent that this is correct,
the AMBLA can be described as being part of an international network of
paedophile support groups.
3.17 No information was given to the Committee
that indicated that AMBLA has operated in Australia: certainly it has
not acquired the public profile that the Australian Paedophile Support
Group and BLAZE had in the 1980s. Even if it is operating, it may well
not be involved in any criminal offences. As long as they adhere to their
professed aims, the overt activities of these sorts of groups are not
illegal. [note #101] Any
child-sex offences that may have been committed by their members have
apparently lacked any provable criminal nexus
with the group. [note #102]
In other words, they are not organised criminal paedophile groups,
although they may be of legitimate interest to law enforcement intelligence-gathering.
[note #103] The Committee
notes that suggestions have been made in other countries that the law
should be altered to make them illegal, [note #104] and it received
a similar suggestion. [note #105]
Covert Paedophile Groups and Networks in Australia
3.18 Before considering the information put to
the Committee on the extent of covert organised paedophile groups in Australia,
it is helpful to say something about the meaning of the word "organised".
The most appropriate definition of "organised" in the context
of "organised crime" has long been a matter of debate. Without
entering into that debate, it can be said that the sort of organisation
that has traditionally been thought of as "organised crime" has had most or all of the following elements:
- the planned commission of serious offences with financial gain as
the main motivation for the organisation;
- a division of labour in a hierarchical structure that is relatively
stable over time, with profits passing up the hierarchy and orders and
- a willingness to use violence both to enforce discipline within the
organisation and to intimidate competitors and other outsiders, and
the willingness and the cash-flow necessary to corrupt police and other
public officials; and
- the use of corporate "fronts", money laundering, and the
services of professionals such as lawyers and accountants to assist
the organisation to operate successfully.
3.19 The Committee received no evidence to suggest
that there were any paedophile groups in Australia that were "organised"
in this sense. Nor has the Committee received any persuasive evidence
that there are links between paedophiles and Australian "organised
crime" (whatever that phrase might mean). However, the Committee
found that, to the extent that there were associations amongst paedophiles
in Australia, they were overwhelmingly of the networking type (see below
paragraph 3.20). Organised groups have been found but they have generally
been localised. [note #106]
3.20 A distinction can be drawn between:
- "organised groups" which aim to commit specific criminal
offences involving particular children; and
- "networks" of paedophiles who maintain contact in order
to discuss matters of mutual paedophile interest, to describe their
experiences and seduction strategies, to swap information, contacts
and perhaps child pornography, and to obtain moral support. As with
the activities of overt paedophile groups described above, many of the
activities of these networks are not in themselves criminal offences.
If members of the network commit sexual offences against children, they
do so acting independently of the network as such, though they may act
in concert with someone they have met through the network.
3.12 The Victorian Government told the Committee: "In recent times
the CEU [Child Exploitation Unit of the Victoria Police] has received
varying information concerning the existence of paedophile groups. On
all occasions the information has proved inaccurate or grossly embellished".
[note #107] The Victoria
Police told the Committee:
We do have a definition of 'organised', but it is purely local for
our own purpose. It is simply two or more persons who get together for
the purpose of taking part in sexual activity with children. The community
or traditional perception of 'organised' is that you are talking large
numbers of persons. With regard to large numbers of persons acting in
concert for the purpose of sexual assault on children, we in Victoria
have very little evidence of those groups in existence here in Australia.
3.22 As an aside, the Committee notes that some
authors writing about organised paedophile activity use the term "child-sex
rings" and define it broadly. They include not only multiple perpetrator
cases but also cases in which a single perpetrator offends during the
same period against more than one child, as opposed to the serial offender
who terminates contact with one child before commencing contact with another. [note #109] The
Victoria Police definition of "organised" excludes this type
of case, and the Committee has done likewise for this report. Nonetheless,
the Committee notes the view of the Victorian Government: [note
Of far greater current concern [than allegations of organised paedophile
groups] is the numerous incidents of multiple victim/single offender
paedophiles. In many cases the offender is a homosexual paedophile (pederast)
who surrounds himself with pubescent/adolescent boys. Pederasts have
a greater number of victims than heterosexual paedophiles. As the boys
grow older they are used to recruit other children for the paedophile.
What results is an organised victim group rather than an organised paedophile
3.23 The South Australia Police told the Committee
in July 1995 that only a few groups had been found in South Australia,
the largest having about eleven members. [note
#111] The following month, the media reported
the arrest of 15 people believed to part of a group or network in Adelaide,
with further arrests expected to follow. [note #112] The Committee
was told that a media report that "organised child sex rings were
thriving in Adelaide" [note #113] involved "probably
a little bit of journalistic licence in the use of the word 'thriving'".
[note #114] However, there
was some evidence of under-age "street kids" in Adelaide turning
to prostitution to survive. [note #115]
3.24 The Western Australia Police said; "there
is no evidence of any organised group of paedophiles operating within
the State". [note #116]
However, following an arrest in January 1995 the Western Australian Police
Force amended its submission by way of a letter on 20 February from Mr.
W. Round, Acting Assistant Commissioner. Mr. Round said, "Further
to the letter from Mr. Hay, Assistant Commissioner (Crime Operations)
dated 5 January 1995, relative to organised paedophile networks in Australia,
I wish to advise that an incident of organised paedophile activity has
since occurred in Western Australia". The Tasmanian Government told
the Committee: "Tasmania Police has advised that organised paedophile
activity is not occurring in Tasmania ...". [note #117] The Northern
Territory Government said that "the successful prosecution of paedophiles
in recent years has not uncovered the existence of organised paedophile
networks". [note #118]
3.25 The Queensland Police submission of 28 March
1995 said that the activities of paedophiles had in the main been on an
individual basis: "no evidence has come to light to support the assertion
that major organised paedophile networks are operating
in this State". [note #119] However, in
oral evidence in July 1995, the representative of the Queensland Police
told the Committee that more recent information had led to the targeting
of one group believed to have at least five members, although the information
did not suggest the sort of hierarchical structure of the kind involved
in major illegal drug operations. [note #120]
3.26 The Department of Immigration and Ethnic
Affairs said it had "no evidence that organised criminal paedophile
networks are using Australia's migration program or visa system to bring
children from developing countries to Australia". [note
#121] The Australian Customs Service said
broad experience indicates that there is 'evidence of loose networks'
of paedophiles in Australia though not to be extent of the definition
of 'organised' at page 2 of the background notes provided by the Committee.
These networks appear to involve exchanges of pornographic material
and contact details as distinct from commercial activities. By their
nature the networks tend to be informal, highly secretive, spread across
the country and flexible so that when paedophiles move they retain their
place in the network. [note #122]
3.27 The Committee received suggestions in a
number of letters and submissions that it should investigate paedophile
activities within groups that are not established for paedophile purposes.
Over the years persons have been convicted of paedophile offences committed
while they were working as a paid employee or volunteer for a church,
educational institution, youth group or similar organisation which enabled
them to have access to children.
3.28 The Committee recognises that in some cases
the management of such an organisation may have been insufficiently alert
to the possibility of one or more of its staff committing paedophile offences,
or they may have tried to cover up the matter once they became aware of
it. [note #123] It may be that
in some cases the extent of the cover-up or a wilful blindness to what
was occurring might constitute a criminal conspiracy. [note
#124] This would
be a matter for expert legal opinion in the light of the facts in a specific
case. However, even in these cases, this does not in the Committee's view
make the groups involved paedophile organisations or part of paedophile
networks. The aims and structure and operations of these groups are directed
to non-paedophile ends.
3.29 Law enforcement agencies generally agreed
that loose contact networks of paedophiles existed in Australia. [note #125] One confidential
police study by a State force found just over one third of its sample
of paedophiles had been, or were currently, networked with other paedophiles.
The Australian Federal Police told the Committee: [note #126]
It has been shown, however, that paedophiles do tend to be gregarious
with fellow paedophiles, resulting in extensive networking. Such networking
is used by paedophiles to identify potential areas of child exploitation
and the risks involved, as well as exchanging photographs of children.
Available intelligence suggests that networking in Australia is primarily
social and informal but, nevertheless, extensive and diverse.
3.30 When paedophiles' premises have been searched,
child pornography has sometimes been found that did not originate with
them. Clearly these paedophiles have had the contacts necessary to purchase
or swap this material, [note #127] although
where the material has been obtained by responding to an advertisement
in a contact magazine it seems inappropriate to describe the mechanism
as a "network". Paedophiles have been found to have maintained
pen-pal type relationships with other paedophiles, sometimes overseas.
[note #128] Some
mechanism must exist that enabled these paedophiles to locate each other,
although again the word "network" may overstate its nature.
3.31 The Committee was shown a diagram, based
on intelligence information, of the various networks believed to exist
in Western Australia. All were small. Some networks tended towards the
hub-and-spoke form with one individual having a more central role. In
others the connections between individuals were more diverse, with, for
example three or four people in contact and one of them also in contact
with a member of another little network.
3.32 Some of the networks that have been identified
are apparently so loose that describing their size runs into problems
of definition. If, for example, A, B and C are in regular contact and
one of them contacts D, does D therefore become part of the "network",
or is a greater regularity of contact between D and the others required
before he can be fairly described as a network member? If D establishes
regular contact with C, but is not aware of A and B, is it reasonable
to describe D as part of the A, B and C network?
3.33 The information from the various Australian
law enforcement agencies did not even begin to suggest that there was
a single network in Australia, or even that one large network predominated.
The largest network that the Committee was told of allegedly had possibly
up to thirty members, but this figure had not been verified. [note
#129] The Committee is aware from media
reports that some of the allegations passed to the Royal Commission into
the New South Wales Police Service suggest one or more fairly large networks
may have operated in New South Wales in the last decade. [note #130] It remains
to be seen whether the investigations by the Royal Commission find any
of these allegations to be credible.
3.34 It seems that there is no single method
of establishing contacts so as to form or join networks. Police have not
always been able to find out how contacts were made when network members
have been arrested. For example, a paedophile who was convicted in South
Australia in October 1994, came to the attention of local police when
British police, through Interpol, forwarded 61 letters and photographs
he had sent to someone in Britain. The letters discussed the author's
seduction strategies and his sexual acts with specific children. Police
found that he had contact of a similar nature with at least 21 men in
Denmark, England, Ireland, the USA and New South Wales and Victoria. [note
#131] The South Australia Police told the
Committee "we really still do not know how
he and the people, especially over in England, got to know each other". [note #132]
3.35 It is generally assumed that paedophiles
make use of the various magazines which offer mail forwarding, or "post
box" services, or personal advertisements, primarily aimed at putting
adults with specific sexual interests in contact with other adult partners. [note #133] The Committee
did not hear of any such magazines currently operating that were exclusively
or primarily aimed at paedophiles: it is the more general contact magazines
that are being referred to. A story in the Adelaide Advertiser
last year reported a South Australia Police detective as saying that:
"I have an interest in photographs and videos. If you have the
same interest contact me".he paedophiles usually make contact through
advertisements in sex industry magazines. A typical advertisement says:
"The ads are very vague but the paedophiles know what they mean,"
the detective said.
3.36 The use of computer bulletin board services [note #135] and
e-mail systems [note #136] by paedophiles
as a means finding and maintaining contact with like-minded people has
occurred overseas for over a decade. As long ago as 1986, one United States
agency reported that it had already conducted 23 investigations into alleged
use of computer bulletin boards by paedophiles. [note #137]
3.37 The Committee was told that paedophiles
in Australia also were believed to use computers to communicate with each
other and with paedophiles overseas. The South Australia Police, for example,
told the Committee: "There is no evidence at this stage, but there
is no doubt that it is being used. It is just another means by which they
can communicate and transfer material or whatever." [note
#138] The Australian Federal Police said:
Considerable publicity has been given to the use of Internet and bulletin
boards for the purposes of exchanging information on paedophile activities.
The AFP has been monitoring such activities and our assessment is that
while computers may provide a greater breadth of opportunity for paedophiles,
these do not significantly impact on the situation.
3.38 The Western Australia Police said: [note #140]
To our knowledge, there has been only account of two paedophiles contacting
each other via the Internet in Western Australia. To our knowledge,
there are four or five that we know of who, when we went to their houses,
had modems. We seized that equipment and downloaded those computers
to see what was on them, but there was no indication that there were
wholesale communications going on in that area.
3.39 The Committee considers it important to
avoid any simplistic assumption that people using a sophisticated new
technology such as a computer network to communicate have necessarily
themselves become more organised. Merely using computer networks does
not make the paedophile users somehow constitute a "network".
However, it is clear from evidence to the Committee that the level of
knowledge about the extent to which computer networks are being used by
paedophiles in Australia is limited (see below paragraphs 3.69 and 4.36
to 4.43 ). It is fair to say that people who send or receive information
through the telephone or postal network are not usually, by that fact
alone, regarded as constituting a "network" in any meaningful
3.40 In the United States, there have been reports
of a handful of cases where paedophiles have used computer chat lines,
discussion groups and bulletin boards as a means of making the initial
contact with their victims. [note #141] United States
authorities have warned parents of the possibility that paedophiles may
use computers to contact their children, [note #142] and a widely
publicised set of guidelines for parents of computer-using children makes
the same point. [note #143] There appears
to have been only one case reported so far in Australia in which it is
alleged that computer links were used to enable contact between the alleged
offender and the children. [note #144]
3.41 Convicted child sex offenders are frequently
imprisoned in the one jail or one section of a jail in each State, both
to enable them to be protected from other types of prisoners and to facilitate
the delivery of treatment programs. However, this does enable them to
meet other paedophiles and to network and establish contacts which will
be maintained after their release. [note #145]
Methods and Practices Used by Paedophile Groups
3.42 Paragraph (a) of the terms of the Committee's
inquiry asks the Committee to identify not only the extent to which organised
networks have become established in Australia but also "the methods
and practices which are used to perpetrate associated criminal offences".
As the Committee could not find evidence of large organised paedophile
networks operating in Australia, it follows that it can offer no information
on the methods and practices they use to perpetrate offences. The small
groups - typically two, three or four people - that do exist from time
to time do not appear to have any special methods or practices that distinguish
them from the ways in which lone paedophile offenders operate. [note #146]
Link with Organised Paedophile Activity
3.43 One respect in which paedophile activity
may be organised is the production and distribution of child pornography.
In addition, police may uncover paedophile networks by following the ways
in which child pornography is circulated. For these reasons the Committee
considered child pornography as part of its inquiry.
3.44 Australian law enforcement agencies told
the Committee that there was a significant likelihood that a person in
possession of child pornography was also involved in sexually abusing
children. [note #147] The validity
of this view, which is not universally accepted, [note
#148] is important because law enforcement
agencies may, on the basis of it, adopt an investigative strategy of following
the child pornography trail in the expectation that it will prove an effective
method of uncovering hitherto unsuspected child-sexual abusers: see paragraph
3.45 The Victorian Government explained the significance
of child pornography to paedophiles:
Because paedophiles are driven by their sexual preference, fantasy
and validation of their deviant behaviour is a very important aspect
of their lives. For this reason child pornography or child erotica are
almost always a part of a paedophile's life. The child pornography may
consist of purchased or exchanged commercial pornography or home produced
photos of their own victims. Child erotica, amongst other things, may
consist of non pornographic photos of children, written stories about
sexual activity with children or children's clothing. Child pornography
and erotica is often a paedophiles most treasured possession and may
be extremely well hidden. [note #149]
3.46 Paedophiles use child pornography for the
same reason as adults use adult pornography - sexual stimulation and gratification.
In addition visual material has apparently been used by paedophiles to
assist in the seduction of a child, to lower the child's inhibitions,
and as a means of showing the child what the offender wants the child
to do. [note #150]
It is said that the existence of a pictorial record of the sexual acts
is sometimes used by the offender to pressure the child to remain silent
about the activity. Some offenders keep pictures of their sexual activity
with children simply as mementoes. Some paedophiles use child pornography
as swap material to exchange with other collectors. In addition, the material
can be used as a sign of their bona fides when trying to establish contact
with fellow exploiters. [note #151]
Definitions and Categories of Child Pornography
3.47 Statements that "child pornography"
is or is not being widely distributed are of relatively little value unless
it is clear what is being regarded as "child pornography". There
is no hard data on the availability of child pornography in Australia.
Opinions vary on the point, and in part at least, the differing opinions
seem to be due to different definitions being used. [note
3.48 Not all the material of erotic appeal to
paedophiles is capable of fitting within even the broadest definition
of "child pornography". Material falling outside whatever definition
is being used is often referred to as "child erotica". The most
common example given is pictures of children modeling underwear in clothing
catalogues [note #153]
but there is virtually no limit to what might have erotic appeal for a
particular paedophile. [note #154] In
popular discussion of the prevalence of child pornography, it is often
unclear whether photographs of, say, a naked young child playing on a
beach or in a bath are regarded as child pornography, as child erotica,
or as innocent family photographs. [note #155]
3.49 In Australia, all States and Territories
(except New South Wales which is currently in the process of enacting
legislation [note #156])
have legislated in the last few years to make the mere possession of child
pornography illegal. Legislation already existed making possession for
the purposes of sale, distribution or exhibition illegal. The various
Acts define child pornography in slightly different terms. As an example,
the definition in the Victorian legislation provides that a "person
must not knowingly possess a film or photograph of a child who is, or
apparently is, under the age of 16 years and who is engaging in sexual
activity or is depicted in an indecent sexual manner". [note
3.50 This Victorian definition does not extend
to written, as opposed to visual, portrayals, unlike the broader wording
used in the equivalent legislation in some other States.
[note #158] In practical
terms, however, the concern with child pornography is primarily on visual,
not written, material both in Australia and overseas. [note
#159] It seems that the especially powerful
character of visual depictions has partly resulted in this focus. [note #160] In addition,
of course, the production of a photograph or video of actual child sexual
abuse necessarily involves the participation of a child, whereas production
of written child pornography does not. [note #161]
3.51 All the Australian legislation banning mere
possession of child pornography defines "child" as a person
under the age of 16 years. Definitions in other countries use varying
ages, [note #162] and definitions
may have changed over time. [note #163] Apart from
the legislation in the ACT, [note #164] all the Australian
legislation extends to depictions of persons "apparently" under
the age of 16. [note #165] Depending on
the precise meaning given to "apparently", this would seem to
cover what is sometimes called "pseudo child pornography". [note
#166] This type of material portrays adult
models in sexually explicit poses pretending to be under age. From the
material itself, it may be very difficult to determine the true age of
the "child" participants and hence to be sure whether a particular
image is pseudo-porn or genuine. [note #167]
In popular discussion about child pornography,
it is often unclear whether this sort of pseudo material is being regarded
as "child" pornography.
3.52 A further difficulty in determining in any
particular case whether an item is "child pornography" is the
requirement in much of the possession legislation that the material be
"likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult person". [note
#168] Ultimately only a court can determine
this. [note #169]
3.53 The definition of child pornography in regulation
4A of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations is similar to
that in the State and Territory legislation on possession of child pornography. [note #170] Mr Phillip
Burns, the National Manager, Investigations, of the Australian Customs
Service described to the Committee the difficulties in applying this definition
to particular items featuring naked children not explicitly engaged in
I have seen a fair degree of that sort of material, boxes of it in
fact. I think it is odd where you can look at one photograph on its
own and it does not necessarily portray anything overly concerning.
It might be odd, but certainly not concerning. However, when you see
boxes containing hundreds of magazines in the same context then that
starts to build up an impression as something that is a more than a
bit odd and something that should be investigated.
On a number of occasions, we have taken that sort of material or samples
of that material to the OFLC. [note #171]
They have certainly taken the view often,
but not all the time, that it is a 4A prohibited import. But, then again,
when we go to prosecute - if indeed that is the case because of, say,
the number of articles involved - the advice may well be that it is
not appropriate to prosecute because there is a better than even chance
that we will not get a conviction. I would call it borderline material
where it not only suffers from definitional problems but where the context
and the material itself is not at one end of the spectrum or the other,
it is in that middle area. It is difficult for us to deal with that
because we get a lot of it. [note #172]
Child Pornography Since the 1960s
3.54 A brief sketch of the changes in the production
and distribution of child pornography since the 1960s assists in understanding
the current position.
3.55 Although pornographic photographs of children
are apparently almost as old as the invention of photography, the late
1960s and early 1970s saw a major increase in the commercial production,
with Denmark and Holland and, to a lesser extent Sweden, being the main
European centres. Commercially-distributed child pornography became widely
and fairly openly available in the United States by the mid-1970s. [note
#173] Although commercially distributed,
the origin of some of the material of this era was amateur, with international
readers being asked to send in for publication photographs they had taken.
[note #174] Child pornography
also seems to have been fairly easy to obtain
in Australia by the mid-1970s, [note #175] and more recently
there have been cases of Australians submitting their amateur material
for overseas publication. [note #176]
3.56 Some of the material from the late 1960s
and the 1970s continues to circulate worldwide. [note
#177] The Committee was told that many of
the child pornography films of this era have since been converted to video,
and some are still found in Australia but are of poor quality. [note
#178] Attorney-General's Department told
the Committee of the material that is submitted to the Office of Film
and Literature Classification:
There appears to be no recent commercially made videos or publications
featuring child sexual activity. Whatever material comes to the OFLC's
notice is generally material which appears to have been made at least
10 to 15 years ago. The Literature Classification Officer from the OFLC
says that he is not aware of any material which has been submitted
to the OFLC in the last 10 years which features child sexual activity
made since around 1980. [note #179]
3.57 The increasing availability of child pornography
in the 1970s led to a response by governments both in Australia [note #180] and overseas.
[note #181] A
combination of legislative changes, diplomatic
pressure from, in particular, the United States on source countries, and
increased attention from law enforcement agencies ended the overt commercial
production and commercial distribution of material depicting children
engaged in sexual activity. The predominant view is that commercial production
no longer occurs on any scale, and that commercial distribution is no
longer a major means of circulating such material. [note #182]
3.58 For example, the Meese Commission in the
United States commented in its 1986 report:
Although we note, therefore, that there is some commercially produced
material, efforts to deal with the problem of child pornography will
fail if they overestimate the extent of the commercial side of the practice,
and underestimate the non-commercial side. The greatest bulk of child
pornography is produced by child abusers themselves in largely 'cottage
industry' fashion, and thus child pornography must be considered as
substantially inseparable from the problem of sexual abuse of children.
That does not make the problem of child pornography unimportant. On
the contrary, to the extent that it is an aid to and a part of a problem
that is unfortunately prevalent and plainly outrageous, child pornography,
in both its creation and its distribution, is of unquestioned seriousness.
But it is different, in virtually every aspect of its definition,
creation, distribution, and use. Serious consideration of the issue
of child pornography must begin with this fact. [note
3.59 The Committee is not aware of any evidence
that the position in the United States has altered significantly since
1986. The increasing availability of home computers
with the ability to link to computer bulletin boards and networks does
not appear to have altered the situation. With regard to international
dealing, an Assistant Commissioner of the United States Customs Service
told the Committee:
In most cases, the operators of the bulletin board systems or other
individuals who have distributed child pornography via computer, have
done so as one pedophile to another. Only the Denmark and Mexico bulletin
boards were charging a fee for their services. [note
3.60 In the United Kingdom in 1987, the then
head of Scotland Yard's Obscene Publications Squad said that there was
comparatively little child pornography produced in Britain, and there
was no large-scale importing by any one particular body. "It's people
who are into child porn themselves who go and get it and distribute it.
... The organisation is cellular: there are lots of little cells and they
only deal with people they trust." [note
#185] An interview in 1990 with his successor
stated that child pornography in the United Kingdom was "almost invariably
made by the [child] abusers themselves, for their own titillation and,
through an underground network of exchange, the gratification of others".
[note #186] As
with the United States, the advent of computers does not seem to have
altered the situation in the United Kingdom. In 1995 police there arrested
eleven men for involvement in computer distribution of child pornography
to the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany and South Africa, but
the distribution was reportedly non-commercial with no access fees being
charged. [note #187]
3.61 The relatively open availability of child
pornography that existed in a few European countries, most notoriously
the Netherlands, in the 1970s and early 1980s had
ceased by the end of the 1980s. [note #188]
In Germany it seems there may still be some
commercial production although the majority of the material comes from
amateurs. [note #189]
3.62 In January 1995, Mr Michael Hames, a member
of the Interpol Standing Working Party on Child Exploitation, said of
child pornography: [note #190]
The material is, for the most part, produced by paedophiles for their
own purposes but is also used as items of exchange or sale. There is
a common misconception that there is a large scale commercial trade
in the material. Whilst there is no doubt that it is circulated world-wide
between paedophiles, any attempt to advertise openly so as to create
a viable commercial market would be leapt upon immediately not only
by the forces of law and order, but also the media who are constantly
on the look out for such a move.
Current Position in Australia
3.63 The South Australia Police told the Committee
that it had found little evidence of any commercial activity. [note #191] The Western
Australia Police said that most of the child pornography it encountered
was home made and was not circulated. [note #192] The Victoria
Police said it was not aware of any commercial production of child pornography
in Australia, but there was considerable swapping and sharing of material
among paedophiles. [note #193]
3.64 The Australian Customs Service told the
Committee: "During the period 1989 to 1994 a total of 194 separate
interceptions [of child pornography] were made which involved in excess
of 12,000 items including videos, photographs, magazines and books". [note #194] By
way of comparison, the Committee notes that the ACS made 8,015 interceptions
of illegal drugs in the 1989-94 period. [note
#195] Most child pornography imports detected
by the ACS were in international mail, often addressed to false names
and poste restante addresses, with a small number detected in passenger-accompanied
baggage. [note #196] Most
of the material, about 90 per cent, was photographs and negatives, with
7,000 such items being found in one operation in 1994. [note
#197] About five percent of the seized material
was publications, and videos accounted for about three percent.
3.65 The Australian Customs Service told the
Committee that it could sometimes be difficult to determine from the item
of child pornography itself whether it had been commercially produced
or not, especially with the most common items seized, photographs. [note
#198] It said however, that:
Most overseas suppliers fall into the category of "commercial"
producers in that the material is manufactured in a professional manner
using commercial printing/video/filming methods. Recent intelligence
assessments into paedophile networks in Europe identified in excess
of 50 organisations and 60 individuals involved in structured paedophile
activity and the production of child pornography. A number of people
identified in the assessment are known to have visited Australia or
have supplied child pornography to individuals in Australia. In addition,
as a result of a joint Customs/State Police investigation in 1993, a
large scale importer of pornography to Australia was strongly linked
to an international paedophile network operating out of the USA. [note
Material the ACS regarded as "commercial" accounted for most
interceptions, with the main sources being Europe, the United States and
to a lesser extent Japan, although amateur material made by paedophiles
on overseas holidays was also intercepted. [note
3.66 The ACS told the Committee that advice from
overseas agencies had confirmed that there had been two non-commercial
cases of child pornography being exported from Australia recently. [note
#201] The ACS said it had no evidence or
intelligence to suggest that production of child pornography for commercial
gain was occurring in Australia. [note #202]
3.67 Although the Committee has referred to the
distribution of child pornography as predominantly non-commercial, some
paedophiles sell their self-produced material as a side-line, in some
cases to help pay for their trips to overseas holiday destinations popular
with paedophiles. [note #203]
Availability of Child Pornography through Computer
3.68 Computer links, computer diskettes and CD-ROMs
offer fast, compact, cheap and relatively secure means of distribution
for those with the fairly elementary skills and equipment to take advantage
of them. Equally important, graphic images in computer format can be copied
and re-copied repeatedly without any loss in quality. This means that
there is in effect no master copy which, if seized by law enforcement
officers, would end the replication of high-quality copies of the material.
3.69 For several years there has been speculation
that computer links would replace the postal services and personal contacts
as the main means for distributing child pornography. So far, there appears
to be no firm evidence that computers are being used to this extent, [note
#204] although it is clear that some paedophiles
are obtaining child pornography from overseas computer bulletin boards,
primarily in the form of graphic image files. [note #205] The Committee
was not given any evidence that indicated that Australian bulletin boards
were a source for child pornography, [note #206] although one
possible instance arose late in the Committee's inquiry. [note
#207] However, in saying that there is no
evidence, the Committee is conscious of the limits on the ability of law
enforcement agencies to detect any computer-related activities of paedophiles
(see paragraphs 4.36 to 4.43 below).
Organised Crime and Child Pornography
3.70 Douglas Meagher, QC in 1983 suggested that
organised crime might be involved in providing child pornography in Australia: "... there is a demand which makes it profitable for organised crime
to exploit it". [note #208]
In 1992 Mrs Joan Gill, president of People Against Child Exploitation,
was reported as saying: "A lot of people believe these child abusers
are doing this photographic stuff for their own purposes. But it's a very,
very lucrative business, as lucrative as drugs, if not more so".
[note #209] The
information provided to the Committee did not support these views. [note
3.71 Victorian Government, for example, told
the Committee: "The returns for the risks taken are simply not attractive
to most criminal entrepreneurs". [note
#211] The Australian Federal Police said
of paedophile activity:
It is believed that the nature and extent of this form of activity
does not make it an attractive financial proposition for organised crime
interests. However, the AFP is conscious of the potential for exploitation
in the areas of child pornography and child prostitution. [note
3.72 The South Australia Police told the Committee
that it did not believe there was much scope for making money from supplying
paedophiles. [note #213] The
Victoria Police said:
The classic entrepreneurial aspect - let us say the adult sex industry
- is finance driven. This industry, if there is an industry in child
pornography, is certainly not finance driven. A classic entrepreneur
would not be in the field or in the game because there is no place for
them. The only place for anybody in this type of field is a user, and
that is a person who gets sexual gratification from either viewing this
material or taking part in sexual acts with children. [note
3.73 An example of the fairly modest scale of
profits involved can be gauged from the 1992 Victorian case of Anthony
John Byrne, who was apparently not a paedophile but was it seems simply
acting to make money. A media report at the time of his arrest referred
to his business as "a big child pornography racket in Melbourne"
and said he was "believed to have serviced a huge clientele". [note #215]
He had not made the originals of the material, which he was copying and
distributing from his home. He reportedly promoted the sale or exchange
of the videos though use of cryptic advertisements placed in adult magazines
such as Adult Contact Magazine and Personal Contacts, using
wording along the lines of "have videos in relation to taboo subjects".
He had a computerised mail-order list of his regular customers which was
reported to have contained 169 names. When the matter came to court the
charges related to selling 272 films over a three-year period, only some
of which involved child pornography, and possessing 48 videos for sale,
of which 10 involved child pornography. [note #216] Byrne pleaded
guilty. According to the prosecution at his sentencing, he made $22,000
from his operation: his own counsel argued that this was the amount of
the turnover, and that the profit was only $5,000. [note #217]
'Child Sex Tours' and Australian Paedophiles Overseas
3.74 Media reports for over a decade have presented
accounts of Australians going to countries such as the Philippines to
sexually abuse children, seemingly without any serious risk of being prosecuted
under the local law. [note #218] Allegations
have been made that there has been some degree of organisation or networking
involved. For this reason, the Committee examined the issue of the overseas
paedophile activities of Australian residents.
3.75 A 1992 Australian Federal Police Investigations
Department Digest stated that: "In Australia travel agents arrange
sex tours to Asian countries". [note
#219] However, Detective Commander David
Schramm told the Committee that the AFP was now better informed on paedophile
issues than it was when the Digest was written. He and his colleague,
Detective Superintendent Paul Kirby, provided the Committee with the current
AFP view on this point:
Cmdr Schramm - ... Our investigations and our intelligence would
suggest that, while sex tours of Asia obviously have been and, indeed,
still are popular - albeit that they may not be promoted as that - I
do not believe that there is any evidence to suggest that child sex
tours are being conducted on any organised basis. That is not to say
that paedophiles may not take advantage of cheap tourist fares to Asia,
but our experience, particularly that of our liaison officers in Asia,
is that it does not need to be organised. A person who travels to Bangkok
or to Manila will not have any great difficulty in finding children.
So, as such, we have no evidence to suggest that there are organised
child sex tours of South-East Asia.
Det. Supt Kirby - There have been some tours in the past mainly
involving paedophiles themselves arranging their own tourist details,
although largely, to a degree, once they have arrived at their destination,
it seems to be a case of every person for themself.
CHAIR - There was some evidence given to the committee yesterday
that an Australian citizen residing in an Asian country as a basic permanent
resident there was acting in that country as a coordinator for visiting
Australian paedophiles; having a safe house and having contacts in the
local area for children.
CHAIR - Is that the sort of thing you are looking at rather
than looking at a travel agent having the knowledge in Australia of-
Cmdr Schramm - Certainly. One of the better known cases in the
Philippines was a group of Europeans in the area of Pagsanhan - we are
now going back into the late 1980s - where the knowledge of that colony
was widely known. Obviously, it was known amongst the network that this
was the place to make contact and you would be looked after. That sort
of activity, yes, has happened, and, I suspect, still happens. [note #220]
3.76 The Australian branch of End Child Prostitution
in Asian Tourism (ECPAT) told the Committee that it did not believe that
child sex tourism from Australia was highly organised, although there
were networks involved. [note #221]
In the 2 years that we have been working on this issue in Australia
there has been little evidence of any organisation organising child
sex tours. ... In the past, we believe that there have certainly been
one or two travel agencies that have encouraged child sex tours and
had promotional nights and so forth, but that does not seem to be occurring
at the moment. [note #222]
ECPAT also made the point that someone seeking child sex overseas did
not need to rely on any organisation to find it: the media had given so
much information on where to go, and available children could readily
be found in bars and so forth in those places. [note
3.77 Media reports over the years have carried
claims that Australians have a major role in the organising of paedophile
activities in some overseas countries, especially the Philippines. [note #224] The Committee
asked the AFP if it was aware of any cogent evidence that Australians
resident overseas are involved in organising paedophile activity to any
significant extent. The response was: [note #225]
The answer to that is no, if we talk about to a significant extent.
If we ask: are there Australians who we suspect of being involved in
paedophile activity overseas? The answer to that is yes. ... but the
numbers are small of the ones we know.
3.78 Later in the hearing the AFP added: [note #226]
there is some evidence to suggest that there are groups of Europeans,
and not necessarily Australians, who either reside in or frequently
visit certain areas of the world which are known for paedophile activity,
and who act as the conduit for paedophiles to be introduced to other
people. So, in that context of child sex tourism, yes, it still exists.
The extent to which it is being exploited is something which nobody
really has a good handle on, but it is fair to say that the numbers
of Australians compared with the numbers of other nationalities that
are suspected of being involved in this activity are low.
Summary and Conclusions
3.79 One group told the Committee that, because
many child-sex offences go unreported and many people who sexually abuse
children are never convicted, the Committee could not rely on the views
of law enforcement agencies on the extent of organised paedophile activities. [note #227] Concern
was also expressed that the Committee would not learn the full extent
of these activities because not all members of the public with relevant
information would provide it to the Committee. [note
#228] It was said, for example that homeless
young people, so-called "street kids", are notoriously reluctant
to talk to police and yet they may be involved in prostitution which is
to some extent organised. [note #229]
3.80 The police that the Committee talked to
included officers with recent street-level experience investigating child-sex
offences. In forming the views they put to the Committee, they are not
just relying on records of convictions, but also taking into account all
the intelligence, hearsay and rumour that comes the way of police officers.
The Committee does not consider it likely that members of the public would,
in a general sense, have information on the extent of organised paedophile
activity that was not known to the police.
3.81 Some putting views to the Committee appeared
to start from an assumption that a large amount of organised paedophile
activity exists in Australia. They then tended to explain the absence
of evidence to justify their assumption by citing factors such as deficiencies
in police investigations, inadequate police resources directed to organised
paedophilia, the cunning of paedophiles, and official protection and corruption.
In effect the Committee (or the law enforcement community) was being asked
to prove a negative - that organised paedophile activity does not exist
- although it was not put to the Committee
this way. This proving of a negative is, of course, difficult to do on
both logical and practical grounds.
3.82 The Committee discusses some of the issues
about police resources, investigative techniques and possible corruption
in the next chapter. However, the Committee does not believe these factors
render misleading the general thrust of the information provided by law
enforcement agencies, even allowing for the fact that it has not examined
the position in New South Wales. In saying this the Committee allows of
course for the fact that precise accuracy is never possible in describing
the nature and extent of inherently secretive criminal activity. The Committee
is not asserting that every link-up between paedophiles in Australia is
known to police, but it does believe the available information is sufficient
for a reliable assessment to be made.
3.83 The Committee notes that this may not have
been true even as recently as, say, five years ago. But law enforcement
agencies have generally increased their knowledge of paedophile offenders
and their activities considerably in the last few years. [note
#230] The Victoria Police has been a conspicuous
leader in this regard for well over a decade. Moreover, a climate has
been created in the last decade or so in which victims are rather more
likely to go to the police than they might have been in earlier times.
3.84 Overall, the Committee did not receive evidence
to suggest that major organisations or networks of paedophiles in Australia
are consistently failing to come to the notice of police.
3.85 The position presented to the Committee can
be summarised as follows.
- Most sexual offences against children are committed by their relatives
and neighbours who are not paedophiles in the strict sense of the term
and who do not operate in any organised or networked way.
- While very small paedophile-support groups operated openly in Australia
in the 1980s, there is no evidence that they currently do so.
- There is no evidence to suggest that organised paedophile groups have
ever resembled what are traditionally thought of as "organised
crime" groups in size, aims, structures, methods, longevity and
so forth. Many paedophiles offend in isolation. To the extent that two
or more paedophiles group together to commit offences, the numbers involved
have almost invariably been very small and the groupings very much ad
hoc and on a peer-to-peer basis.
- More commonly, where there are contacts between paedophile offenders,
they consist of loose informal networks of peer-to-peer contacts.
- There is no evidence of any commercial production of illegal child
pornography in Australia. Most of the current illegal material that
undoubtedly is possessed by many paedophiles appears to be made by them,
obtained by informal trading of home-made material amongst paedophiles
assisted by informal networking, or obtained from overseas.
- There is no evidence of any current organised promotion or arrangement
of tours by Australian paedophiles to overseas destinations known to
be attractive to them. However, informal networking among paedophiles
may assist some tourists going overseas to commit paedophile offences.
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page
75. US Senate, Report of the Permanent Subcommittee
on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, Child Pornography
and Pedophilia, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1986,
76. ibid., p. 44.
77. ibid., pp. 16-17.
78. ibid., p. 16.
79. L.A. Stanley, "The Child Porn Myth",
Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal, vol. 7, 1989, at p.
330 stated: "There is currently only one active 'pedophile' organization
[in the USA], the North American Man-Boy Love Association ...".
80. There have apparently been no successful prosecutions
of NAMBLA as a group, although individual members have been convicted
of paedophile-related charges - see for example the cases referred to
in US Senate, Report of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of
the Committee on Governmental Affairs, Child Pornography and Pedophilia,
US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1986, p. 21. The United
States Customs Service told the Committee in regard to NAMBLA and similar
groups in other countries: "... while these individuals [in the groups]
may communicate with each other, and may be involved in the trading of
child pornography, there does not appear to be any organized or commercialized
trading of child pornography by any of these groups": letter to the
Committee from W.B. Biondi, Assistant Commissioner, US Customs Service,
29 March 1995, p. 1.
81. B. Hartinger, "Separating the Men from
the Boys", 10 Percent, September/October 1994 (Committee copy
was obtained via the Internet from the Pedosexual Resources Directory:
URL = http://ftp.casti.com/PRD/home.html).
82. Article posted by Roy Radow of NAMBLA on 19
July 1995 to the aus.sex Usenet newsgroup accessible via the Internet.
In the mid-1980s, investigation found the membership to be about 400,
some of whom lived outside North America: US Senate, Report of the Permanent
Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs,
Child Pornography and Pedophilia, US Government Printing Office,
Washington, DC, 1986, p. 20.
83. G.D. Wilson and D.N. Cox, The Child-Lovers:
A Study of Paedophiles in Society, London, 1983, p. 12 stated that
PIE membership was "said to number about 180, although some of these
are resident overseas". T. Tate, Child Pornography: An Investigation,
London, 1990, p. 128 states that the PIE "admitted a membership of
only 250 at its peak". But see also J. La Fontaine, Child Sexual
Abuse, Cambridge, UK, 1990, p. 102: "at one time it [the PIE]
claimed to have 2,000 members".
84. "Leaders of paedophile group are sent to
jail", Times (London), 15 November 1984, p. 3 (two former
executive committee members of the 'defunct' PIE convicted on child pornography
charges but acquitted on charges of incitement to commit unlawful sexual
acts with children; leader of the PIE fled the country while on bail);
"PIE member faces child pornography charge", Times (London),
17 November 1984, p. 4.
85. US Senate, Report of the Permanent Subcommittee
on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, Child Pornography
and Pedophilia, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1986,
86. See T. Tate, Child Pornography: An Investigation,
London, 1990, pp. 144-46 for the attempts in the mid and late 1980s.
87. The Pedosexual Resources Directory in March
1995 listed about a dozen such groups as well as others whose support
for paedophile causes was less clear-cut.
88. The Pedosexual Resources Directory (URL = http://ftp.casti.com/PRD/home.html)
apparently began in January 1995. Its stated aim is to provide an electronic
library of academic and other resources (excluding pornography and erotica)
connected with sexual relations between adults and children, to be used
by both serious researchers and casual browsers. Its material is largely
pro-paedophile. The No More Victims support group (URL for its newsletters
= http://www.casti.com/NMV/html/mnv.html) has operated since at least
1993. Its stated aim is to provide a forum in which those who have perpetrated
sexual abuse or feel they could become offenders can discuss their situation
with the aim of avoiding the occurrence of sexual abuse. It also encourages
the free flow of information about sexual abuse, paedophilia and related
89. See for example, "Homosexual rally draws
police attention to child-sex forum", Age, 2 July 1984, p.
3. For a critical view of the early 1980s links between the gay/lesbian
groups and paedophile support groups, see A. Lansdown, "Paedophile
Liberation and the Radical Homosexuals", Quadrant, vol. 28(9),
September 1984, pp. 47-53. For an example of the argument that gay/lesbian
groups should show some solidarity with paedophile support groups, see
A. Thorne, "Politics, Paedophilia and Free Speech: The Witch-Hunt
Continues", Hecate, vol. 11(2), 1985, pp. 66-74.
90. D.G. Sturgess, Q.C., Director of Prosecutions,
Queensland, An Inquiry into Sexual Offences Involving Children and
Related Matters by Mr Sturgess, Q.C.: Report, 28 November 1985, Qld.
Gov't Printer, Brisbane, para. 4.37.
91. Australian Federal Police, Investigations Department
Digest, "An Overview of Paedophile Activity, Child Sexual Abuse and
Exploitation", 9 October 1992 (mimeo, restricted access, tabled in
the Senate on 30 June 1994), para. 23; NSW, Legislative Council, Hansard,
8 November 1983, p. 2567 (Hon. F.J. Nile).
92. See "Child-sex task force snared in legal
web", Age, 2 July 1984, p. 10. See also "Operation Rock
Spider: Stamping on paedophiles", West Australian, 14 September
1985, p. 17.
93. See for example Claude Forell's column, "Deeds,
not words, are the crime", Age, 11 July 1984, p. 13; and the
responses referred to in A. Lansdown, "Paedophile Liberation and
the Radical Homosexuals", Quadrant, vol. 28(9), September
1984, p. 47.
94. Australian Federal Police, Investigations Department
Digest, "An Overview of Paedophile Activity, Child Sexual Abuse and
Exploitation", 9 October 1992 (mimeo, restricted access, tabled in
the Senate on 30 June 1994), para. 24.
95. "Pedophiles: we love children", Sydney
Morning Herald, 17 November 1987, p. 3. See also "Child-sex group
in Qld campaign", Courier-Mail, 20 November 1987, p. 3, which
quotes the secretary of Blaze as saying: "Blaze is a group of people
who are working for the decriminalisation of consensual sexual relations
between adults and children, specifically man-boy love relationships".
96. In "Suffer Little Children: People
Blows the Lid on Australia's Paedophiles", People, 28 June
1988, p. 20 it is stated: "BLAZE now claims to have hundreds more
members than the original [Australian Paedophile] support group, including
representatives in every major Australian city". No evidence was
provided in the story to support these claims, although elsewhere in the
story a claim of 300 members was made (p. 21).
97. "Expo attracted 'kiddie' porn peddlers:
police", Courier-Mail, 5 April 1989, p. 4.
98. See also Evidence, p. 64 (South Australian Police).
99. "Police warn of paedophile groups",
Age, 14 February 1989, p. 5.
100. R. O'Grady, The Child and the Tourist,
ECPAT, Bangkok, 1992, p. 58 stated that AMBLA was a branch of the North
American Man-Boy Love Association and "it claims to have 70 members"
in New Zealand.
101. See for example I.D. Hopley, "Advances
in Combating Child Sexual Abuse in Victoria", Victoria Police, Melbourne,
1994, pp. 43 and 44:
As there is no criminal offence of being a paedophile in Victoria,
similarly, there is no offence of talking, communicating or writing
about sexual activities with children. Evidence accumulated by law enforcement
agencies in recent years, both in Australia and overseas, clearly indicates
that there has been widespread networks of paedophiles established involving
a flow of correspondence, exchanges of child and other pornography and
erotica, computer bulletin boards and a limited number of newsletters
and magazines. ...
It is these type of associations that may lead to the commission of
criminal offences against children in the future, although such associations
are not illegal.
102. An attempt in Victoria to convict members
of the Australian Paedophile Support Group on conspiracy charges failed
in 1984: "Child-sex task force snared in legal web", Age,
2 July 1984, p. 10. This conspiracy allegedly also occurred in New South
Wales, but charges were never laid there: see the comments in passing
made in Gollan v Nugent (1987) 8 NSWLR 166 at pp. 176, 182.
103. See for example, I.D. Hopley, "Advances
in Combating Child Sexual Abuse in Victoria", Victoria Police, Melbourne,
1994, p. 44:
Despite the evidence that these groups do exist, extreme caution must
be taken to ensure that a conclusion is not reached that these associations
are indicative of widespread organised criminal paedophilia. Organised
criminal paedophilia will only exist when there is formal or informal
associations between persons with the common interest of actually engaging
in illegal sexual activity with children. ...
A great deal of intelligence ... can be obtained from proper monitoring
and dissemination of the publications distributed by these groups, and
Australian law enforcement agencies must be sufficiently resourced and
trained to obtain such information and to utilise the data.
104. In the United Kingdom in 1984 a private member's
bill to achieve this failed to secure the parliamentary time needed for
its second reading: UK, House of Commons, Hansard, 6 July 1984,
col. 668. In Canada, a 1993 report of the House of Commons Standing Committee
on Justice and the Solicitor General, Four-Year Review of the Child
Sexual Abuse Provisions of the Criminal Code and the Canada Evidence Act
(formerly Bill C-15), Ottawa, June 1993, noted that during Committee
hearings several witnesses had recommended the banning of written material
such as the North America Man-Boy Love Association's Bulletin.
The Committee responded by stating (p. 15):
Therefore this Committee endorses the intent of Bill C-128 [which did
not cover written material] but urges that amendments be seriously considered
at Committee stage, to make it an offence to possess material, of any
kind, which depicts, in any manner, or advocates, in any format, the
sexual exploitation of children.
The legislation as enacted defined "child pornography" to include
"any written material or visual representation that advocates or
counsels sexual activity with a person under the age of eighteen years
that would be an offence under this Act" (Canada, Criminal Code,
105. Submission from the National Viewers' and
Listeners' Association of Australia Inc, 9 May 1995, p. 2: " the
Committee [should] recommend that the Government investigate ways of legislating
to prohibit the proselytising of child sexual activity or child abuse
106. See for example, the Victorian group described
in C. Allen, "Paedophilia - A Case Study", Australian Police
Journal, vol. 47(4), December 1993, p. 206: a married couple and two
other men were convicted of multiple child sex offences over a lengthy
period involving the children of the married couple. There was evidence
that other children had also been victims of the group.
107. Submission from the Victorian Government,
22 March 1995, p. 13.
108. Evidence, p. 111. See also the report of a
research project by Sergeant Ian Hopley of the Victoria Police, "Advances
in Combating Child Sexual Abuse in Victoria", Victoria Police, Melbourne,
1994, p. 44:
It is both personal experience, and the experience of the investigators
consulted with on this project, that most crimes against children are
committed in private by lone offenders, and that the offenders go to
great lengths to ensure that the activity is carried out in secret and
that the victims do not tell of their abuse.
The organised groups of offenders are extremely limited and whilst
many offenders may subscribe to obtaining child pornography or erotica,
most will not divulge their passions to others for fear of disclosure.
This does not mean that the notion of the organised groups should be
ignored however investigators and their administrators must ensure that
any possible pre-conceived ideas of large and well organised groups
of paedophiles being responsible for the greater proportion of child
sexual assaults in the community, must be dismissed and placed in proper
The project, sponsored by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, involved
interviews with both overseas and local law enforcement officers.
109. See for example A.J. Belanger and others,
"Typology of Sex Rings Exploiting Children" in A.W. Burgess
(ed), Child Pornography and Sex Rings, Lexington, Mass., 1984,
chapter 3; D.S. Campagna and D.L. Poffenberger, The Sexual Trafficking
in Children: An Investigation of the Child Sex Trade, Dover, Mass.,
1988, p. 39; K.V. Lanning, Child Sex Rings: A Behavioral Analysis for
Criminal Justice Professionals Handling Cases of Child Sexual Exploitation,
National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, Arlington, Va., 2nd
edn, April 1992, p. 9.
110. Submission from the Victorian Government,
22 March 1995, p. 13.
111. Evidence, p. 57.
112. "15 arrested in raids on paedophile group",
Advertiser, 22 August 1995, pp. 1, 2; "Police seek tougher
laws to deal with paedophiles", Advertiser, 23 August 1995,
113. "Child sex rings targeted", Advertiser,
21 January 1995, p. 9.
114. Evidence, p. 72 (South Australia Police).
115. Evidence, p. 58 (South Australia Police).
116. Letter from Assistant Commissioner (Crime
Operations), M.C. Hay, 5 January 1995, to Mr P. Filing, MP. See also "Child
sex network doubted", West Australian, 10 December 1994, p.
7: a Western Australia Police officer is reported as saying that there
was little evidence of a structured paedophile network in WA, but small
groups of paedophiles had shared their young victims at times. Detectives
had uncovered little evidence of an organised child abuse network in WA
and only a handful of small groups, comprising three or four people had
corresponded with paedophile groups in the eastern States and overseas.
"They aren't organised, nor are they structured. They may go to the
one outlet for the same material, but I wouldn't say they are strongly
117. Letter to the Committee from the Tasmanian
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Hon Dr F. Madill, 16 March
118. Submission, 9 March 1995, p. 2.
119. Submission from the Queensland Police, pp.
1, 3. An intelligence assessment by the Queensland Criminal Justice Commission
in 1992 reached a similar conclusion.
120. Evidence, pp. 206-07, 208.
121. Submission, 28 March 1995, p. 1. See also
the Queensland Police submission, 28 March 1995, p. 1: Queensland Police
has no evidence of organised child sex tours or sponsored migration of
122. Submission, 28 March 1995, p. 4.
123. See for example, Evidence, p. 75 (South Australia
124. See for example I.D. Hopley, "Advances
in Combating Child Sexual Abuse in Victoria", Victoria Police, Melbourne,
1994, p. 45 referring to youth groups and church groups:
It has been my own experience that when investigating these particular
groups, there appears to be a general practice amongst other members
in the groups to cover up for the perpetrators, or to at least deny
any knowledge of what was occurring despite warning signs or absolute
and conclusive proof. Some members of these groups believe turning a
blind eye and hoping the problem will remedy itself is far better than
bringing disrepute on the organisation in question. Whether this could
be classed as a form of conspiracy is debatable.
125. See also the submission from the Australian
branch of End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism, February 1995, p. 3:
paedophile "networks would be much looser than is perhaps believed;
linked by information, dissemination and mutual interest".
126. Evidence, p. 130.
127. cf. the submission from the Australian Customs
Service, 28 March 1995, p. 5: Australians obtaining child pornography
from overseas "are accessing material from common overseas suppliers".
See also Evidence, p. 28 (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism).
128. See for example the Hawkes case referred to
in paragraph 3.34.
129. For reference to an earlier case, see Australian
Federal Police, Intelligence Department Digest, "An Overview of Paedophile
Activity, Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation" 9 October 1992, para.
One of the major operations in which the AFP was involved (Operation
Closet - 1988-91) was an investigation of paedophiles in the Canberra
area, undertaken in conjunction with Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland
Police, as the suspects (16 in all) continually moved between those
States. In February 1989 the AFP arrested two suspects in Canberra,
with a large quantity of child pornographic videos and magazines, mostly
imported from Europe and dealing with young males. Other material
seized appears to have been produced in Australia. The suspects were
charged with possession of prohibited imports under the Customs Act.
One was convicted in February 1990 and fined $20,000, in default six
months' imprisonment. Information obtained from the two offenders in
the ACT led to the arrest and charging of two other suspects by New
South Wales police. Queensland Police also made some arrests in April
1989 as a result of the same inquiry.
130. See for example, "Banker accused as pedophile",
Sydney Morning Herald, 15 November 1993, p. 2 on the allegations
by Colin John Fisk; and "Former mayor ran child sex ring", Illawarra
Mercury, 9 March 1995, p. 1 in which it is claimed that some 15 Australian
paedophiles were in contact with the former mayor.
131. "The Predators", Advertiser,
29 October 1994, p. Insight3.
132. Evidence, p. 64. See similarly Evidence, p.
92 (Western Australia Police).
133. Evidence, pp. 63-65 (South Australia Police);
p. 92 (Western Australia Police). See also Australian Capital Territory,
Legislative Assembly, Hansard, 16 October 1991, p. 3787 (Mr B.
Networks exist in this country, with exchange of information, facilitating
access and swapping. The range of magazines and underground code contacting
is astounding. I am not going to compromise current police intelligence
by revealing it all; but, at a superficial level, one can join a club
at the moment by answering an advertisement in a well-known magazine.
One would be given a confidential code number which could be used in
correspondence to enable the placing of advertisements in the newsletter,
which is used, at the second level, as a method of contact between paedophiles.
134. "Children traded for sex", Advertiser,
29 October 1994, p. 1.
135. The electronic equivalent to a bulletin board,
on which messages can be posted and read by others, and replies posted.
A personal computer linked to a modem is normally used to access the bulletin
board via dial-up telephone lines. The bulletin board operator may allow
free access, or may restrict access to those who have paid a fee (and
possibly gone through some sort of vetting) to obtain an access code or
136. E-mail systems allow one computer user to
send private messages over electronic links to one or more other users.
137. Letter from the US Chief Postal Inspector
to Congressman William J. Hughes, 9 October 1986, p. 1 (incorporated in
US House of Representatives, Hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime
of the Committee on the Judiciary, Child Protection Act, 14 August
1986, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1987, pp. 56-57).
138. Evidence, p. 66.
139. Evidence, p. 130.
140. Evidence, p. 86.
141. See for example, "Child Abuse in Cyberspace",
Newsweek, 18 April 1994, p. 40.
142. "Warning About Pedophiles", New
York Times, 2 September 1993, p. A18; "US Customs warns against
kid porn on BBSs", Newsbytes, 28 November 1994 p. NEW11280001.
143. National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children and the Interactive Services Association, "Child Safety
on the Information Highway", Silver Spring, Md., which, in warning
of various risks, states:
Another risk is that, while online, a child might provide information
or arrange an encounter that could risk his or her safety or the safety
of other family members. In a few cases, pedophiles have used online
services and bulletin boards to gain a child's confidence and then arrange
a face- to-face meeting.
144. "No bail for teacher on child sex charge",
Herald-Sun, 13 September 1995, p. 10.
145. Evidence, p. 59 (South Australia Police);
pp. 92-93 (Western Australia Police); p. 193 (Association of Children's
Welfare Agencies). The three men in the Victorian group described in C.
Allen, "Paedophilia - A Case Study", Australian Police Journal,
vol. 47(4), December 1993, p. 206 had met in Sale prison and two of them
had conspired there to re-offend after their release. See also "Paedophile
network in jails, say inmates", Advertiser, 22 June 1995,
146. See for example K.V. Lanning, Child Sex
Rings: A Behavioral Analysis for Criminal Justice Professionals Handling
Cases of Child Sexual Exploitation, National Centre for Missing and
Exploited Children, Arlington, Va., 2nd edn, April 1992, pp. 12-14 for
a description of the methods used by paedophile offenders to locate and
seduce their victims.
147. Evidence, p. 66 (South Australia Police):
"90 per cent of the time" possession of child pornography is
an indicator of paedophilia; p. 95 (Western Australia Police): "...
virtually 90 per cent and probably closer to 100 per cent ..."; p.
120 (Victoria Police): "... highly surprised if a person without
paedophile tendencies was in possession of that material". See also
I.D. Hopley, "Advances in Combating Child Sexual Abuse in Victoria",
Victoria Police, Melbourne, 1994, p. 12:
Case records of the Child Exploitation Unit show that in the period
from July 1989 to June 1991, the unit charged 68 persons who could be
described as multi-victim offenders. In 53 of these cases, pornographic
material of some type depicting children was located. This represents
78%. In those cases where pornographic material was not located, it
cannot be certain that the material did not exist.
148. See for example the view of Mr Ron Merkel,
QC, President of the Victorian Council for Civil Liberties in 1992: it
does not "follow that all those in possession of the pornography
are likely child offenders": "Child porn ban will be useless",
Sunday Age, 24 May 1992, p. News15. For a more extreme view see
for example G.P. Jones, "The Study of Intergenerational Intimacy
in North America: Beyond Politics and Pedophilia", Journal of
Homosexuality, vol. 20, 1990, at pp. 281-282: claims such as "that
the presence of child pornography indicates pedophile behavior" are
in the vast majority of cases "not founded on rigorous research".
149. Submission from the Victorian Government,
22 March 1995, p. 9. See also US Senate, Report of the Permanent Subcommittee
on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, Child Pornography
and Pedophilia, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1986,
p. 9: "No single characteristic of pedophilia is more pervasive than
the obsession with child pornography". In discussing the relevance
of child pornography to paedophile abuse of children, the Committee notes
that it is important not to confuse the question of a statistical link
(ie. whether some or many child-sex offenders possess child pornography)
with the separate issue of causal linkage (ie. whether possession of child
pornography causes people to commit child-sex offences).
150. Evidence, p. 94 (Western Australia Police);
p. 120 (Victoria Police). See also for example the US Supreme Court decision
in Osborne v Ohio 495 US 103 (1990) at p. 111: "... evidence
suggests that pedophiles use child pornography to seduce other children
into sexual activity". Adult pornography and even explicit sex education
manuals may be used for the same purpose. In a 1995 South Australian court
case it was found that the accused had overcome a 15-year-old boy's reluctance
to engage in anal sex by showing the boy two videos, one of two males
having sex and the other showing young boys having sex: "Teacher
jailed after seducing boy with video", Advertiser, 7 April
1995, p. 9.
151. D.S. Campagna and D.L. Poffenberger, The
Sexual Trafficking in Children: An Investigation of the Child Sex Trade,
Dover, Mass., 1988, p. 118: "The mere possession of child pornography
is frequently sufficient to provide an exploiter with access to other
offenders and markets. These materials are helpful in terms of profit-making,
ordering additional pornography through an exchange, and as a sign of
good intentions with fellow exploiters."
152. Compare K.V. Lanning, Child Sex Rings:
A Behavioral Analysis for Criminal Justice Professionals Handling Cases
of Child Sexual Exploitation, 2nd edn, National Center for Missing
and Exploited Children, Arlington Va., April 1992, pp. 7-8: "Arguments
about child pornography, such as whether it is openly sold or whether
it is of interest only to pedophiles, may be primarily the result of confusion
over the definition".
153. See for example, US, Attorney General's Commission
on Pornography, Final Report, US Department of Justice, Washington,
DC, July 1986, p. 407, note 71:
There is also evidence that commercially produced pictures of children
in erotic settings, or in non-erotic settings that are perceived by
some adults as erotic, are collected and used by pedophiles. There is
little that can be done about the extent to which, for example, advertisements
for underwear might be used for vastly different purposes than those
intended by the photographer or publisher, but we feel it nevertheless
important to identify the practice.
See also J. Ennew, The Sexual Exploitation of Children, Cambridge,
1986, p. 117: "Thus a picture of a naked, smiling child might originate
as a portrayal of familial affection and childish innocence, but it could
be rendered pornographic by its inclusion in a magazine containing pictures
which display explicit sexual acts".
154. I.C. Jarvie, "Child Pornography and Prostitution"
in W. O'Donohue and J.H. Greer (eds), The Sexual Abuse of Children:
Theory and Research, Hillsdale, N.J., 1992, vol. 1, p. 313.
155. Compare New Zealand, Pornography: Report
of the Ministerial Inquiry into Pornography (J. Morris, Chairperson),
Wellington, January 1989, p. 43 referring to "child erotica":
This group of materials is hard to define, but includes many things
which are sexually arousing to pedophiles and pederasts ... but which
are not offensive and may even be pleasing to many other people. Examples
would be pictures of naked children at play, or little girls dressed
in a very appealing and even sexually suggestive manner.
156. Crimes Amendment (Child Pornography) Bill
157. Classification of Films and Publications
Act 1990, s. 60A.
158. See for example Classification of Publications
Act 1991 (Qld), s. 3, definition of "child abuse publication";
Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA), s. 33(1).
159. See for example UN, Economic and Social Council,
Commission on Human Rights, Rights of the Child: Sale of Children,
Report submitted by Mr Vitit Muntarbhorn, Special Rapporteur, E/CN.4/1992/55,
22 January 1992, para. 170: the working definition adopted for the purpose
of the UN effort to combat child pornography refers only to "the
visual or audio depiction of a child ...". The Report of the European
Committee on Crime Problems prepared by the Select Committee of Experts,
"Sexual exploitation, pornography and prostitution of, and trafficking
in, children and young adults", Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 1993,
p. 33, defined "child pornography" as "any audiovisual
material which uses children in a sexual context".
160. See for example, J. Ennew, The Sexual Exploitation
of Children, Cambridge, 1986, pp. 117-18.
161. This distinction provided a major reason why
the United States Supreme Court decided that visual child pornography
is unprotected by the First Amendment to the Constitution (freedom of
speech), whereas written child pornography cannot be proscribed without
consideration of freedom of speech values: New York v Ferber 458
US 747 (1982). As a result of this decision, the US laws are far broader
and more severe in relation to visual than to written child pornography,
and most law enforcement effort concentrates on the visual material. It
seems that US courts have yet to resolve definitively whether computer-generated
graphic images depicting sexual activity by children are child pornography
in the context of this Constitutional distinction, as no child is sexually
abused in the production of these images.
162. For example "child" in the definition
of "child pornography" is a person under 18 years in Canada
(Criminal Code, s. 163.1: making, distributing, possessing, child
pornography) and in federal United States law (18 United States Code s.
2256(1): making, distributing, receiving, etc child pornography).
163. For example, the upper age for a "child"
in the context of federal United States law on child pornography was raised
in 1984 from 16 years to 18.
164. Crimes Act 1900 (ACT), s. 92NB.
165. Classification of Publications Act 1991
(Qld), s. 3; Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA), s. 33(1); Classification
of Publications Act 1984 (Tas), s. 3(1); Classification of Films
and Publications Act 1990 (Vic), s. 60A; Indecent Publications
and Articles Act 1902 (WA), s. 2A(1)(a); Criminal Code (NT),
s. 137A(1). See similarly the definition in the Customs (Prohibited
Imports) Regulations (Cth), r. 4A(1A)(a)(i).
166. See for example, US, Attorney General's Commission
on Pornography, Final Report, US Department of Justice, Washington,
DC, July 1986, p. 618.
167. On how one police force deals with this issue,
see Evidence, p. 124 (Victoria Police):
... with the pseudo pornography that we call "child erotica",
which is a very good phrase for it, from a practical perspective we
proceed with matters that relate to children obviously under age now.
... With regard to the material, if that material in our opinion - I
realise it is subjective to some degree - relates to someone who is
obviously a child under the age of 16, then we will pursue it. If it
does not obviously apply to that age, it does not mean that we will
not pursue it out of hand, but we will need to prepare additional corroborative
evidence for that age.
168. Classification of Publications Act 1991
(Qld), s. 3. See similarly Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA),
s. 33(1); Classification of Publications Act 1984 (Tas), s. 3(1);.
and the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations (Cth), r. 4A(1A)(a)(i).
The Classification of Films and Publications Act 1990 (Vic), s.
60A; the Indecent Publications and Articles Act 1902 (WA), s. 2A(1)(a);
and the Criminal Code (NT), s. 137A(1) do not use the "reasonable
adult" formula, but their requirement that the material be "indecent"
requires in practice that a broadly similar judgment be made as is required
by the "reasonable adult" formula.
169. For an example of the difficulties that may
be involved see Phillips v Police (1994) 75 Australian Criminal
Reports 480 in which the Full Court of the South Australian Supreme
Court held that videos which included many surreptitiously-taken shots
of men and boys urinating and undressing in beach-side changing rooms
were not "child pornography" within the meaning of the relevant
170. The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations
(Cth), r. 4A prohibits the import of goods that "depict a child
(whether engaged in sexual activity or otherwise) who is, or who is apparently,
under the age of 16 years in a manner that is likely to cause offence
to a reasonable adult person".
171. Office of Film and Literature Classification.
In a letter to the Committee from Mr N. Reaburn, Deputy Secretary, Attorney-General's
Department, 30 June 1995, p. 2 he said:
The Chief Censor from the OFLC informs me that the bulk of whatever
material is submitted comes from Customs. The content of the material
is overwhelmingly depictions of young people in naturist settings with
emphasis on the genital area and breasts if the depictions are of young
women. There is very little material depicting sexual acts with young
children (pre pubescent) and only slightly more of mid to late teenage
172. Evidence, pp. 161-62. This problem is of course
more general. A media report that police have seized, say, a hundred items
of child pornography from a paedophile's home almost invariably records
the size of the paedophile's collection. It is likely that only some of
the total collection will, on closer examination, fit within the relevant
legal definition of child pornography.
173. US Senate, Report of the Permanent Subcommittee
on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, Child Pornography
and Pedophilia, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1986,
174. See for example T. Tate, Child Pornography:
An Investigation, London, 1990, pp. 58-59 where the operation of a
well-known Dutch-published magazine called Lolita which appeared
in 55 editions between about 1970 and 1985 is described. According to
Tate, it frequently included editorial pleas for new child pornography
to publish: "This magazine can only exist if you help us! Send us
photos from your collection." [and] "We desperately need more
photos from private files ...". Tate also states: "Lolita
also provided a contact service for its readers, enabling them to advertise
both for child pornography and for new children to abuse" (p. 59).
175. See for example "Bid to ban child porn",
Age, 10 March 1977, p. 3: "At least 40 publications which
feature explicit photographs of nude young children in sexual poses are
on sale in Victoria".
176. See "Paedophile fined for boy assault",
West Australian, 8 February 1994: a West Australian man had submitted
photographs he had taken surreptitiously of clothed schoolboys for publication
in international paedophile magazines including Boy Lovers' World
and PAN Magazine. See also Evidence, pp. 124-25 (Victoria Police).
From intelligence that we have gathered from paedophiles' writings,
correspondence, letters and so forth, on two separate occasions the
paedophiles made mention of photographs that they sent overseas to magazines.
The magazines were named, and we were very well aware of them.
177. See for example T. Tate, Child Pornography:
An Investigation, London, 1990, p. 50, where US Customs Service investigators
are reported as saying in the late 1980s that the Lolita series
of child pornography films, produced by the Rodox/Color Climax Corporation
in Denmark between 1971 and 1979, are still the most widely traded of
all commercial child-pornography films.
178. Evidence, p. 210 (Queensland Police). See
also "Secret life of a suave lady's [sic] man: child pornography
peddler exposed", Herald Sun, 29 November 1992, p. 25: "Until
recently most of the videos encountered by [Victoria] police were numerous
copies of about 12 master tapes made by Denmark's Rodex [sic] Corporation
between 1969 and 1978, and reproductions of about four basic films featuring
children aged seven to 14 which came out of the Philippines".
179. Letter to the Committee from Mr N. Reaburn,
Deputy Secretary, Attorney-General's Department, 30 June 1995, p. 2. The
This may mean that the material is simply not being submitted or that
people involved in such matters make video film and take pictures which
they exchange rather than sell on the market. However, it does indicate
that commercial outlets must be extremely wary of handling such material,
if at all, and that the risk of carrying such material is outweighed
by the potential penalties and perhaps stigma involved.
180. On the position in Australia in the 1970s,
see R.G. Fox, "Censorship Policy and Child Pornography", Australian
Law Journal, vol. 52, July 1978, p. 361 and especially at p. 368.
181. For a description of the US actions, see US,
Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, Final Report, US
Department of Justice, Washington, DC, July 1986, pp. 595-609; and J.
Foreman, "Can We End the Shame? - Recent Multilateral Efforts to
Address the World Child Pornography Market", Vanderbilt Journal
of Transnational Law, vol. 23, 1990, pp. 435-68.
182. T. Tate, Child Pornography: An Investigation,
London, 1990, p. 17: "Commercial production (as opposed to dealing)
of child pornography has all but ceased after twenty years of easy money".
At p. 127, Tate states "Today's child-pornography producers are the
abusers themselves, photographing -or more often videoing - their molestation
of children both for subsequent masturbation sessions and for sale".
183. US, Attorney General's Commission on Pornography,
Final Report, US Department of Justice, Washington, DC, July 1986,
p. 410. See similarly Pornography and Prostitution in Canada: Report
of the Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution, Volume 2,
Ottawa, 1985, p. 569:
All the evidence available to the Committee indicates that the commercial
production of pornography using children as models does not occur in
Canada. None of the briefs presented to the Committee, for instance,
indicated that child pornography is being produced commercially in Canada.
We are confident, therefore, that when we address the question of child
pornography, we are dealing with questions of very small-scale, non-commercial
production and accessibility to materials.
See also Department of Justice Canada, Research and Development Directorate,
S. Moyer, A Preliminary Investigation into Child Pornography in Canada,
Ottawa, May 1992, p. 4: "All respondents [to a survey of law enforcement
personnel] said that child pornography is not professionally made nor
commercially available in Canada".
184. Letter to the Committee from W.B. Biondi,
Assistant Commissioner, US Customs Service, 29 March 1995, p. 2. The commercial
service which operated from Denmark in 1992 limited access to subscribers,
of which it had more than 100 in the US who used the service on a frequent
basis: United States Customs Service, Annual Report FY 1993, p.
18. It reportedly had some 6,000 subscribers worldwide who had paid the
annual fee of about US$80 to access material that ranged from child erotica
to explicit sexual activity involving children; "US officials smash
child porno ring", Australian, 9 March 1993, p. 18. The service
which operated commercially from Tijuana, Mexico in 1994 was reported
to have at least 2,000 subscribers: "Computerised child porno ring
broken", Los Angeles Times, 24 September 1994, p. A31.
185. "At crime's hard core", Times
(London), 31 July 1987, p. 17.
186. "Policing sex with sensitivity",
Times (London), 3 August 1990, p. 14.
187. "Police crack Internet child pornography
ring", Independent (London), 27 July 1995, p. 1. Arrests in
1994 of members of another group in Britain distributing child pornography
via computers also involved a non-commercial operation: "Computer
porn 'library' seized at university", Times (London), 15 April
1994, p. 5 and "UK - online porn investigation; Internet implicated',
Newsbytes, 28 September 1994, p. NEW09280023.
188. An anecdotal piece of evidence is the following
extract from a letter written by a US resident who made a trip to Amsterdam
to obtain child pornography in February 1989. He was writing to an undercover
investigator for the US Postal Service who was pretending to be a fellow
collector of child pornography. Extracts from the letter were included
in the US District Court's judgment in proceedings in which the author
challenged his conviction for transporting child pornography: Chin
v US 833 F.Supp 154 (EDNY, 1993) at p. 158.
It turns out that Lolita porn was banned in Amsterdam three years ago,
however the stores were still stocking them under the counter and showing
them to customers upon request up to a year ago. Then, because of great
pressure from the U.S. government even that was stopped.... Not all
bad news though. I did find one dealer who did tell me that he still
had some Lolita material from some years ago. I had to agree to buy
at least four mags from him. He then closed the entire store and brought
out a stack of about 30 magazines (because of the danger of police he
said that this was the only way). I browsed through the entire stock
(what a pleasure that was) and selected four. Getting the mags bach
to the U.S. was difficult. The dealer told me not to mail them back
because U.S. Customs will check all packages from Amsterdam. Carrying
them in luggage was also advised against, he said the safest way was
to tape them to my body. It sure was uncomfortable.... As for films,
the only thing that I was able to find was a video series of nudists....
I bought one...
189. UN, Economic and Social Council, Commission
on Human Rights, Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection
of Minorities, 45th session, Contemporary Forms of Slavery: Programme
of Action for the Prevention of the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution
and Child Pornography: Report of the Working Group ..., E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/31,
8 July 1993, paras. 32-33 (based on advice to the Commission from the
In recent years, a new form of sexual abuse of children has emerged
through the sale and distribution of pornographic video films. A large
proportion of such films are made by amateurs, who film children from
their own family and exchange or sell them privately. It has been estimated
that video films circulate among 30,000 "lovers" of child
pornography in Germany. Videos are sometimes produced on a commercial
basis and rented or sold. Some parents allow their children to be used
in such productions for a fee. Many are made with children from the
third world, either in Germany or in their native countries. Unscrupulous
profit-seeking is undoubtedly the chief motive for trade in child pornography.
190. M. Hames, "Child Pornography - A Secret
Web of Exploitation", paper delivered at the International Conference
on the Problem of Pornography, Manila, 17-20 January 1995, p. 1. Contrast
the Report of the European Committee on Crime Problems prepared by the
Select Committee of Experts, "Sexual exploitation, pornography and
prostitution of, and trafficking in, children and young adults",
Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 1993, p.34:
The production and dissemination of pornographic material involving
children is conducted on both a small and a large scale. On the one
hand, there is material intended to be handed around paedophile networks,
operating through advertisements in specialised magazines. On the other
hand, there is child pornography produced in a professional way for
strictly commercial purposes. The production and dissemination of this
material is often international in scale.
No evidence is provided in the report to support this view of the commercial
sector. On p. 53, the report says that members states provided little
information on the extent and organisation of child pornography production,
and the information from the only countries it cites - the United Kingdom
and the Netherlands - indicated that production in those countries was
small-scale and amateur.
191. Evidence, pp. 63, 65, 66.
192. Evidence, p. 95 (Western Australia Police).
A Western Australia Police officer was reported as saying in December
1994 that magazines and videos seized in recent arrests in WA had come
from Amsterdam, Copenhagen and the US. One seized film involving children
had been made in WA: "Child sex network doubted", West Australian,
10 December 1994, p. 7.
193. Evidence, p. 119.
194. Submission from the Australian Customs Service,
28 March 1995, p. 2.
195. Figure compiled by adding the annual totals
of total drug seizures as shown in the ACS's Annual Reports for each of
the years 1989-90 to 1993-94.
196. Submission from the Australian Customs Service,
28 March 1995, p. 2; Evidence, p. 183 (Australian Customs Service).
197. Evidence, pp. 160, 175. The ACS explained
to the Committee (Evidence, pp. 159-60, 182-83) that its statistics on
the amount of child pornography detected entering Australia were not completely
reliable or comprehensive. This was due, in part:
- to difficulties in ensuring consistent recording standards are applied
at all Customs posts;
- to the fact that the statistics tend to record seizures, and are not
always adjusted to reflect the fact that in some cases the Office of
Film and Literature Classification eventually advises that some or all
of the seized material does not fit within the definition of child pornography;
- the statistics include material not seized at the border, but subsequently,
as a result of material found at the border, as a result of intelligence
or, in some cases, as a result of joint operations with other agencies.
198. Evidence, pp. 163-64, 175.
199. Submission from the Australian Customs Service,
28 March 1995, p. 5. The "intelligence assessments" on European
paedophile networks referred to in the ACS submission were done by Interpol:
Evidence, p. 174.
200. Submission from the Australian Customs Service,
28 March 1995, p. 4.
201. Submission from the Australian Customs Service,
28 March 1995, p. 3.
202. Evidence, p. 174.
203. The Committee was informed on a confidential
basis of one such case in New South Wales. For reports of paedophile tourists
from other countries using similar methods to help pay for their trips,
see "Tourists prey on boys in Sri Lanka", Canberra Times,
24 January 1994, p. 10; "Police link with Thailand to end trips for
child sex", Times (London), 5 March 1994, p. 8.
204. See for example, see Evidence, p. 172 (Australian
Customs Service): no evidence that electronic transmission of child pornography
has led to any reduction in use of mail and other traditional methods.
205. It seems that there are only four cases in
Australia to date in which charges have been laid. For these, see respectively:
"Computer porn count remand", West Australian, 6 July
1994, and "Porn peddlers hit infobahn" West Australian,
11 April 1995, p. 15; "Computer porn man guilty", West Australian,
1 April 1995, p. 3; "Soldier fined over child porn on computer",
Age, 20 June 1995, p. 3; "Police raid home over Internet porn",
Courier-Mail, 25 August 1995, p. 5.
206. The Committee was told in confidence that
a person prosecuted for obtaining child pornography from overseas had
told police that he had tried unsuccessfully to locate child pornography
on-line within Australia.
207. "15 homes raided in computer crackdown",
Courier-Mail, 3 October 1995, p. 3: a home-based computer bulletin
board was used to distribute material alleged to be child pornography,
with the material seized being referred to the censor for a ruling on
whether it was pornographic in order to determine if charges should be
208. Organised Crime: Papers presented by Mr
Douglas Meagher, Q.C., to the 53rd ANZAAS Congress, Perth, Western Australia,
16-20 May 1983, AGPS, Canberra, 1983, p. 39.
209. "Revealed: our child porn merchants",
Sunday Age, 7 June 1992, p. 6.
210. On claims about the size of US commercial
child pornography operations, see US Senate, Report of the Permanent Subcommittee
on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, Child Pornography
and Pedophilia, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1986,
pp. 42-43. The Subcommittee noted that commercial production and distribution
of child pornography had never been as large as the estimates, ranging
from annual sales of US$500 million and upwards, which were used by anti-pornography
lobbyists. The Subcommittee suggested more realistic annual figures might
be US$5 million for imports and a smaller value for domestic commercial
production and commercial dealing. The submission from the Australian
Customs Service, 28 March 1995, p. 5 cited a US claim that "The production
and sale of child pornography in that country is a billion dollar industry".
However, the ACS did not seek to support this claim when its representatives
appeared before the Committee: Evidence, p. 181.
211. Submission from the Victorian Government,
22 March 1995, p. 14. The position seems to be the same in the United
States, where the US Senate, Report of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, Child Pornography and Pedophilia,
US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1986, p. 4 stated:
No one produced definitive evidence that traditional organized crime
groups, such as La Cosa Nostra, have any appreciable influence on the
production or distribution of true pedophile-oriented child pornography.
Nor was evidence found of any widespread involvement, much less control,
of child pornography distribution by other ethnic crime organizations
or criminal groups, such as motorcycle gangs.
See also US House of Representatives, Hearing before the Subcommittee
on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, Protection of Children
Against Sexual Exploitation, 16 June 1983, US Government Printing
Office, Washington, DC, 1985, p. 51, spokesman for the US Postal Service:
"While the production and/or distribution of child pornography is
potentially lucrative, we have seldom found it to be highly profitable
when conducted through the mails".
212. Evidence, p. 131. See also on the potential,
Evidence, p. 181 (Australian Customs Service): "there is money to
be made" in child pornography and "... our experience ... would
be that organised activity tends to go where there is money to be made".
For a somewhat different view, see Evidence, p. 242 (Australian Federal
Police Association): "There is money in the production of child pornography
material. There is an absolute money-driven part of that ...".
213. Evidence, p. 65.
214. Evidence, p. 120.
215. "Uni man on child porn charge",
Age, 17 January 1992, p. 1.
216. "University officer distributed pornography",
Age, 25 November 1992, p. 3; "Pornographic video 'horrific,
disturbing'", Canberra Times, 25 November 1992, p. 10. For
other reports on the Byrne case see "Porn list kept on computer at
university, court is told", Age, 1 April 1992, p. 17; "Secret
life of a suave lady's [sic] man: child pornography peddler exposed",
Herald Sun, 29 November 1992, pp. 24-25; and "Former uni official
gets jail over videos", Age, 1 December 1992, p. 5.
217. "University officer distributed pornography",
Age, 25 November 1992, p. 3.
218. See for example, "Monsters in shorts
and thongs", Age, 30 March 1985, pp. Extra 9-10; "22
held in Filipino child vice raid", Sydney Morning Herald,
29 February 1988, p. 10.
219. Australian Federal Police, Investigations
Department Digest, "An Overview of Paedophile Activity, Child Sexual
Abuse and Exploitation", 9 October 1992, para. 19. This confidential
overview was tabled in the Senate on 20 June 1994, making it a public
document. See also the submission from the Women's International League
for Peace and Freedom (Australian Section), p. 2: "... there are
organisations (not necessarily run by paedophiles) which are involved
in ... the selling of child sex tours for profit".
220. Evidence, pp. 132-33. See also p. 149 (Australian
Federal Police). The submission from the Queensland Police, 28 March 1995,
p. 1 stated: "Queensland Police Service investigations and intelligence
held have not revealed evidence of the existence of organised child-sex
221. Evidence, pp. 23.
222. Evidence, p. 29.
223. Evidence, p. 30. See also Evidence, p. 48
(World Vision Australia): there are certain well-recognised spots in known
paedophile destinations where one can locate children.
224. See for example, "22 held in Filipino
child vice raid", Sydney Morning Herald, 29 February 1988,
p. 10. See also R. O'Grady, The Child and the Tourist, ECPAT, Bangkok,
1992, p. 120: "Known crime syndicates from the United States, Germany,
Australia, and Japan (the Yakuza) are all deeply involved in the booming
sex trade in South-East Asia and have now extended their influence to
the area of child prostitutes". No evidence is cited to support the
latter part of this claim of involvement by Australian crime syndicates.
225. Evidence, p. 144.
226. Evidence, p. 149.
227. Evidence, p. 9 (National Association for Prevention
of Child Abuse and Neglect).
228. Submission from the Women's International
League for Peace and Freedom (Australian Section), p. 2.
229. See footnote 55 above.
230. See for example Evidence, p. 59 where the
South Australia Police told the Committee that cooperative, liaison and
information-exchange actions with other law enforcement agencies relating
to child abuse and paedophile activity were:
... historically fairly recent initiatives from policing points of
view to actually tackle the problem and to develop an understanding
of what the extent of it is within society. So in that context I think
we are still very much in a learning curve about paedophiles, and learning
about their networking and activities ...
For the improved knowledge of the AFP, see para. 3.75 above. As another
example, the New South Wales Police in 1992 established a taskforce (Project
Kestrel) to address an acknowledged deficiency in knowledge about the
nature and extent of paedophile activity and sexual abuse of children:
see NSW, Independent Commission Against Corruption, Interim Report
on Investigation into Alleged Police Protection of Paedophiles,
Sydney, September 1994, p. 28.
231. See for example Evidence, p. 73 (South Australia
Police): in regard to child sex abuse in general, "... it is really
only since it has become a community issue and we have provided an environment
where victims have had the confidence to be able to go to authorities
and talk about what is happening that we have really started to unravel
the extent of the problem".