Dutch to Prosecute for Virtual Child Porn?

by Pixeleen Mistral on 22/02/07 at 8:45 am

Possible paedophile school closing

by Curious Rousselot, virtual correspondent

Kitty Nooij of the prosecutor’s office in the Netherlands told told the Dutch news show Netwerk that they would try to bring cases of virtual child pornography to court, according to a story in The Register by Jan Libbenga. According to Libbenga’s article, “Virtual child pornography has been a criminal offense in the Netherlands since 2002.”

The article mentions Sasami Wishbringer, who’s SL business was covered in the SL Herald way back in December 9, 2004. Sesami offers (or did back in 2004) a number of virtual child related services including hentai, a form of Japanese animated porn.

In another, more recent Herald article from January 2007, Emily Semaphore was quoted as saying, “Being able to “play” a kid in a “safe” environment can be very healing for many people.” It appears that some experts may not completely agree with her, at least as it relates to sexual activity. Psychologist Jos Buschman of the Van Mesdag clinic in Groningen, says Second Life is “by definition a school for paedophiles”, despite the fact that adult members like to roleplay as children.

Emily Semaphore is notable for being one of the co-owners of Jailbait, an age-play area in Second Life. When asked about the percentage of second-life age play that is sexual, Emily said, “I would say it’s about 50/50.” With a business named Jailbait it appears clear that Emily disagrees with Jos Buschman.

The Register article quotes Robin Harper of Linden Labs as saying, “if Second Life has evidence of child pornography or abuse that involves children in the real world, it will act to protect the child and notify the authorities”. One wonders what Linden Labs stance on virtual child pornography and in-game hentai will be? Will this have an effect on non-sexual child play such as the Harry Potter fans, and the group Children of Second Life?

19 Responses to “Dutch to Prosecute for Virtual Child Porn?”

  1. LaBlanc

    Feb 22nd, 2007

    Virtual child pornography is still child pornography. Even if you don’t think it should be illegal that doesn’t mean the people who make it and use it are not pedophiles.

    How does it feel to you, personally, that Second Life is so full of pedophiles?

  2. BanChildPorn

    Feb 22nd, 2007

    “… virtual child pornography fuels and validates the sexual fantasies of child molesters and pedophiles, potentially harms nondepicted children, and can be traded for images involving “real” children… Virtual child pornography has no socially redeeming value.”

    ME speaking: To have a meaningful discussion, we need definitions of the terms other than vague terms such as “age play”.

    “A pedophile… is a significantly older individual who prefers to have sex with individuals legally considered children. Pedophiles are individuals whose erotic imagery and sexual fantasies focus on children.”

    “child pornography involves a visual depiction (not the written word) of a child (a minor as defined by statute) that is sexually explicit.”

    “child erotica is any material, relating to children, that serves a sexual purpose for a given individual.”

    “Child pornography and erotica are used for the sexual arousal and gratification of pedophiles. They use child pornography the same way other people use adult pornography—to feed sexual fantasies. Some pedophiles only collect and fantasize about the material without acting out the fantasies, but for others the arousal and fantasy fueled by the pornography is only a prelude to actual sexual activity with children.”

    ME: There are adults in SL who want to role play as children but not engage in sexual activity. Not all age players are pedophiles, just as not all pedophiles are child molesters. However… virtual child pornography and those to participate in and produce it i.e. “age play” that depicts sexually acts with children should be banned from Second Life.

    ME: This however might all be a moot discussion and not up to SL residents or the Linden lawyers to decide, but rather for the high courts vis a vis The U.S. “Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996″ that “banned visual depictions that are ‘advertised, promoted, presented, described[,] or distributed in such a manner that conveys the impression’ that they contain sexually explicit depictions of minors.”

    ME: The constitutionality of this legislation has and is being challenged, and among the arguments, the U.S. government “presented compelling evidence that VIRTUAL CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CAUSES ‘REAL HARM TO REAL CHILDREN’” and argued for the CPPA because the “the State has a compelling interest in ‘safeguarding the physical and psychological well-being of a minor’” and that “the First Amendment does not protect certain categories of speech that are `UTTERLY WITHOUT REDEEMING SOCIAL IMPORTANCE,’ … CHILD PORNOGRAPHY AMONG THEM. [The] only distinction between real and virtual child pornography is whether actual children are used in the production of the visual depictions, the dissent argued that using virtual children in its production `does not somehow transform virtual child pornography into meaningful speech.’

    Resources: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children http://www.ncmec.org

  3. Marianne McCann

    Feb 22nd, 2007

    How does it feel to you, personally, that Second Life is so full of pedophiles?

    Cite your source? How full is it? What percentage of members? How does this relate with RL figures?


  4. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Feb 22nd, 2007

    Marianne, SL is “full” enough of such things that when Elf Clan was active on Second Life, I had to regularly deal with “ageplay” people who propositioned our children on Elven lands. And since the Elven lands were PG… I would have to believe it was even worse elsewhere.

    Yes, we did have those playing the part of children in our Elven fantasy world. These were people that enjoyed recalling and role-playing the innocence of childhood. They played children because they had no interest in sexuality on Second Life and they played in the Elven lands because they knew we had no-nonsense, zero-tolerance policies toward offenders (ie, they felt relatively “safe” there to play their chosen roles). These people took great offense at those who approached them with illicit goals.

    Such is a good illustration of the difference between adults playing children– and pedopheliac ageplay… and offers one indication of how prevelant and offensive such things are becoming on Second Life.

  5. Lorelei Patel

    Feb 23rd, 2007

    “How does it feel to you, personally, that Second Life is so full of pedophiles?”

    What makes you think SL is any different than RL, except that in SL, people have anonymity and may feel freer to say what is on their minds?

  6. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Feb 23rd, 2007

    >What makes you think SL is any different than RL, except that in SL, people have anonymity and may feel freer to say what is on their minds? — Lorelei patel<

    So how does the fact that there are pedophiles in RL justify there being pedophiles in Second Life?

    Here’s a primary difference between RL and SL Lorelei: in RL, if someone steals from me and I know who did it, I can file charges and have that person put in jail. Theft happens all the time on SL, without any viable jurisdiction. In RL if someone slanders me or my friends, they can be sued (and in most instances, they would not dare do so to my face, because they would be very much aware of potential consequenses). There is no option for such on SL– and “hiding behind the keyboard” cowards abound. In RL if someone is of a mind to attack me, he is at least aware of the fact that I can attack right back– and he’s also aware that he will likely wind up in jail. On SL there is little or no accountability.

    In RL… pedophelia is illegal and can bring a prison sentence. Again, on SL it would appear there is no accountability.

  7. Reality

    Feb 23rd, 2007

    In Second Life the children are not real, have no emotions, and quite frankly cannot ever exist outside the realm of computer data.

    There, wayfinder, is your difference.

    Second Life Child Avatar: Not real, not alive – will never be real or alive.

    Real Life Child: self explanatory.

  8. Lorelei Patel

    Feb 23rd, 2007

    “Again, on SL it would appear there is no accountability.”

    Accountable for what, exactly?

  9. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Feb 28th, 2007

    >In Second Life the children are not real, have no emotions, and quite frankly cannot ever exist outside the realm of computer data. There, wayfinder, is your difference. — Reality<

    Pardon me Reality, but how do you know this?

    Since Linden Lab requires nothing more than a bogus email address to sign up on their board… how do you know that actual pedophelia doesn’t happen every single day?

    See the problem here? The closer one gets to the edge of a cliff– the more likely one is to fall off. I think you cannot say for absolute certainty that no real children are involved in Second Life… and that no real children are endangered by the manner in which Linden Lab operates the system.

  10. Reality

    Feb 28th, 2007

    Frankly wayfinder the person behind the avatar is irrelevant to my statement. The avatar is not alive, feels no emotion and cannot exist off-line.

    As for false e-mail addresses and the like – second Life is not the only place it happens and quite frankly it is none of your concern, nor mine. it is the concern of the parents that allowed it to happen in the first place …. but that is a debate for another time and another topic.

    Suffice it to say your post changes nothing.

  11. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Feb 28th, 2007

    Thanks for your opinion Reality. However, changes nothing. ;)

    So easy to play that game, isnt’ it? LOL

    While I will agree it is ultimately the responsibility of the parent to see to the safety of their child– a parent can’t be everywhere all the time. Society as a WHOLE is responsible for the welfare of its children– which is why we have child welfare laws.

    You claim that the person behind the avatar is irrelevant to your statement. I cannot imagine then, what that statement might be relevant to. Are we discussing real people here, or hypothetical, imaginary constructs? If you believe the liklihood of real children being behind avatars is irrelevant– then we will absolutely disagree.

  12. Reality

    Mar 1st, 2007

    I simply do not care who is behind the avatar Wayfinder – the issue relates to the avatar, not the person behind it.

    as far as I am concerned any parent that fails to keep their kid out of an Adult rated service deserves the same jail time as the ‘predator’ that manages to find them. such an opinion comes from using services that allow you to restrict what content a child can view, which can be done through the computer itself as well as through setting up different user accounts which allow different sites through.

    The reality is this: society should not be responsible for a child – ever. Your kid, you watch them.

  13. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Mar 1st, 2007

    Wow Reality, what can I say? While I respect your right to opinion, I think most people would find those sentiments questionable– and even objectionable. Society should never be responsible for a child? Ever? A parent whose child is abused should be considered as responsible as the abuser?

    One question; if you had a child and that child was ever kidnapped, molested, murdered, how would you like to spend the rest of your life in prison for allowing such a thing to happen? That’s what you’re advocating above.

    Parents do not have 24/7/365 control over where their children are or what their children do. They see a child playing something like Second Life– and while they should be cautious– many parents don’t have the technical knowledge to even know what SL is– they’ll think it’s just another game. And while I will agree 100% that parents should be VERY aware of their children’s activities– evidence proves that children can be very, very sneaky in circumventing parental vigilence. They used to sneak out behind the barn and smoke. Today, they sneak around on the internet.

    It’s not just a matter of pixels on a screen. It’s the people behind the pixels, their intentions and psychology, their perversions– and the potential danger such presents to society as a whole. All some things need to fully cook is a pot to boil in.

  14. Reality

    Mar 1st, 2007

    Kindly go back and reread wayfinder, you may find that you are not reading my response properly. I said nothing about kidnap, murder, or molestation.

    No – you cannot watch your child all the time, which is why it is important to set the limits you can. Note that I said society should not ever be responsible for a child – this means society should not be one giant babysitter. Hmm, perhaps it would be better to say that Society as it currently stands should be responsible for anyone’s child. Society causes just as many problems as it prevents (columbine anyone?)

    Oh – and it is about the pixels on the screen Wayfinder. That is exactly what this article and its sister article are about: The pixels and computer data.

    Were it up to me those convicted of child Rape would be shot, the parents sent away for a time to think about what they could have done differently and society as a whole would get a crash course in the proper way to foster a child’s growth (meaning pay attention and don’t dismiss things out of hand.)

    I have lost track of the number of times I’ve seen a parent aghast at finding out just what their child has been doing …. and blaming everyone else for their own mistakes. There is no excuse for learning what you can control, learning how to control it and actually applying said controls. No excuse whatsoever.

  15. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Mar 1st, 2007

    Well, I don’t agree with all you say, but I do appreciate the respect you show in your posts. If everyone could debate as respectfully, these blogs would be a pleasure.

    >Kindly go back and reread wayfinder, you may find that you are not reading my response properly. I said nothing about kidnap, murder, or molestation.<

    Agreed, and I wondered after I hit the post button if I should have expanded on that statement. Where I gathered such inferrence was the statement:

    “as far as I am concerned any parent that fails to keep their kid out of an Adult rated service deserves the same jail time as the ‘predator’ that manages to find them.”

    If a predator finds a child… the reults can be inferred to include kidnap, molestation and murder. So what I was doing was drawing logical conclusions. Agreed, you did not state such specifically. But my thought is that almost every parent who has ever lived has unwittingly put their child in danger at one time or another. Sometimes such negligence does deserve (and receives) jail time. But usually, it’s just an oversight, lack of understanding or being unaware of what’s going on.

    For example, a child spends a lot of time at a friend’s house. Happens all the time. Who knows what kind of problems he might get into over there? The parentd do their best to screen their kid’s friends… but there’s only so much a parent can do. Best preventative medicine I’ve seen is to give the child a good upbringing and a strong sense of morality so they avoid such situations on their own… but childish curiosity is one of the strongest forces in the universe. Hopefully the training will hold, but… not always.

    The point that I was making is that under Linden Lab’s “open door” policy (ie, claiming they’re an “adults only” board but allowing anyone in who has an email address and who is willing to lie about his age) is extremely short sighted. It almost assures there are minors behind some avatars. You can BET that people engage in sexual activities with not only minors, but possibly adolescents every day. You can bet that pedophiles search out such ones. It’s a bad situation no matter how one looks at it. Ageplay and similar things on SL is just kind of rubbing dung into the wound.

    Personally, if I were running LL, I’d be taking every step to distance the company as far from such stuff as humanly possible. Linden Lab has been consistently making goofy decisions for as long as I’ve known them. There are always consequences for decisiosn we make. To date, their method of business has cost them to date more than 3.5 million users. Continue as they are, and it will cost them far, far more in the future.

  16. Ryozu Kojima

    Mar 8th, 2007


    >>In RL… pedophelia is illegal and can bring a prison sentence.

    Just a technical clarifcation here

    In RL, Pedophelia is NOT illegal. Don’t even try. This statement is 100% wrong.

    What is illegal is child molestation. You don’t even have to be a pedophile to molest a child. Let’s get our facts straight here.

    Reality vs. Wayfinder:

    Wayfinder, wether it’s a real child behind the avatar is not a sufficiant argument on why Ageplay should be banned. You can’t use such an exscuse without taking into account everything that exscuse really means.

    If you think “Oh, that might be a real child, let’s not expose them to child sex,” then what of real sex? What of the myriad of REAL pornography? Shouldn’t we ban any kind of sexually explicit material to protect the children who are violating the TOS to play Second Life?

  17. Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Mar 9th, 2007

    Ryozu, you are gramatically and technically correct: pedophelia is not illegal in RL.

    However, I think you’re splitting hairs. None of us here are discussing the psychological definition of pedophelia (which we can boringly discuss if you like). We’re discussing the exercise of pedophelia, and I think everyone understands that.

    As for your comment “let’s remove sexuality on Second Life so we don’t endanger children”… that may be more of a valid concept than you intended. In fact, it’s a big controversy in regard to the internet itself. Why is the government taking little or no role in preventing the exposure of children every day to things that are otherwise illegal in RL? Children can’t buy adult magazines. The can’t attend R rated or NC-17 or X rated movies. Yet they can easily access such on the internet every single day.

    Linden Lab opened itself up to questionability the moment they opened up membership to email-address registration (why do they even bother requiring an email? LOL). At that point, it was argued that they should have been very aware that children would lie about their age and access Second Life. At that point, Linden Lab ceased to take precautionary measures and for why? Ostensibly to boost their membership numbers and attract corporate interests.

    On that day, with that decision, Linden Lab threw morality and ethics out the window in favor of “residency” numbers. And every single person on the grid was aware of that fact. (Well, with the possible exception of the LL sycophants who believe LL can do no wrong… but they’re pretty blind to just about everything around them. LOL)

  18. Yichard Muni

    Dec 10th, 2007

    That law will condemn things such as paedophilia in virtual worlds is a thing which will happen one day or another. The problem is how this will be done. The problem is that the forbidding of paedophilia can be used as a puritan pretext to hamper legitimate freedom on the net, such as for instance virtual sex between mature and conscenting partners. (a thing which can be surprisingly fulfilling, despites the obvious lack of a contact).
    For this we have to be aware of the problems, and above all be on our guards on both sides, both the porn and puritan ennemies, I would say the porn and puritan allies, both allied against our freedom and enjoyment.

  19. Me

    Dec 28th, 2007

    If one commits virtual pedophilia, one should be tried in a virtual court and, if convicted, sent to a virtual jail.

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