Representative Mark Foley (R-FL) has introduced a bill that would erase the fine line that protects child 'modeling' sites from being prosecuted under child pornography laws. ("Child Modeling Exploitative Act") Believe it or not, there are sites out there that feature 10 yr. old - 14 yr. old girls in interactive situations...'modeling' bikinis and skimpy clothing.
"The photos of 12-year-old “Amber” cavorting in a swimsuit and various skimpy outfits wouldn’t have raised so much as an eyebrow if they had been posted on a family home page. But on lilamber.com — one of a growing number of “preteen model” sites operating in the legal gray area between innocent imagery and child pornography — they have drawn the attention of the Justice Department and prompted a congressman to declare war on the “reckless endangerment” of such kids by their parents and Web site operators."(source)
Parents are actually allowing/encouraging their young girls to participate in this online 'modeling' citing "college money" as the justification. Rep. Foley wants these parents held responsible. So do I. But not everyone does...opponents of this measure say that it is too vague and will stop legitimate modeling agencies from photographing children for catalogues. Rep. Foley says that he is not looking to destroy advertising for the Gap and that they have met with top advertising agencies and legitimate modeling companies to discuss how the predators can be shut down without harming the innocent. He also says that he is looking for any input that will 'help narrow the definition'.
The operators of these Pre-teen sites say that viewers are other young girls...but "There is ample evidence that the sites, which sell photos and videotapes to members, cater primarily to adults, very few of whom are in the market to hire models. Many — if not most — customers are sexually interested in children, and some are pedophiles, according to law enforcement officials and children’s advocates." (READ this article!)
I agree with Rep. Foley...parents that are allowing their children to be prey for pedophiles should be just as liable --if not more so --than the vultures that run the sites. Technology is moving faster than our laws can keep up with and I am afraid that it is children that will pay the price.