> In various places throughout the Bible we are told
> "last days" will not be good times for mankind. ...
> love themselves more, love money more, and love
pleasure more. ...
> Wickedness will increase.
Millions 'live in
million people are enslaved worldwide, according to a
The International Labour
Organization says 2.4 million of them are victims of
trafficking, and their labour generates profits of over
By Jan LaRue
America's alabaster cities are
saturated with pornography from sea to shining sea. It's
big business, and it's not confined to the"dirty"
bookstores and peep shows in the sleazy part of town.
Porn is piped into homes, hotels, and corporations in
every metropolis and hamlet via cable and satellite
television, dial-a-porn, and cyberspace—and unfiltered
Internet access brings it into public schools and
libraries, to America's children.
A recent article in the New
York Times Magazine makes some comparisons to show how
the $ 10 billion-a-year pornography business has become
one of the most flush and vigorous in America: It's
bigger than the combined revenues of all the
professional football, baseball, and basketball
franchises. It's greater than the take at all the
nation's movie box offices.
Porn apologists say it has no
adverse impact on society, while critics charge that
there are consequences for America's economy, morals,
public health, and safety.
The late U.S. Supreme Court
Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote: "There is a
long-recognized legitimate interest in regulating the
use of obscene material in local commerce and in all
places of public accommodation. ... The States have the
power to make a morally neutral judgment that public
exhibition of obscene material, or commerce in such
material, has a tendency to injure the community as a
whole, to endanger the public safety, or to jeopardize
the right of the states and the Nation ... to maintain a
This article focuses on
obscene, hard-core pornography, which the Supreme Court
ruled in 1973 (in Paris Adult Theatre 1 v. Slaton) is
not protected by the First Amendment and is illegal
under federal and most state laws. In that case, the
Court cited"A few plain examples"of material that may
be found obscene: "Patently offensive representations or
descriptions of ultimate sexual acts, normal or
perverted, actual or simulated. Patently offensive
representations or descriptions of masturbation,
excretory functions, and lewd exhibition of the
Hard-core sexual material sells because it titillates.
Porn earnings are estimated at $ 10 billion to $ 14
billion a year in the United States (the lower figure is
according to Fortune magazine) and $ 56 billion
worldwide. Forbes magazine breaks down the global
profits this way: adult videos,$ 20 billion; sex clubs,
$ 5 billion; magazines, $ 7.5 billion; phone sex, $ 4.5
billion; escort services, $ 11 billion; cable,
satellite, and pay-per-view TV, $ 2.5 billion; CD-ROMs
and DVD-ROMs, $ 1.5 billion; Internet (sales and
memberships), $ 1.5 billion; novelties, $ 1 billion; and
others, $ 1.5 billion.
Porn is big business for
organized crime, as noted in the 1986 Final Report of
the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography. But
today, with the allure of immense profits, corporate
giants such as General Motors (owner of DirecTV, which
offers X-rated channels) and AT&T have brought the
respectability-starved porn industry to Wall Street.
Nonetheless, the decision by AT&T to offer hard-core
porn on its digital tier of pay-per-view cable
television has resulted in the filing of a proxy
resolution by a coalition of religious investors that
controls 1.6 million shares of AT&T stock. The
resolution requires the company to explain why it's
carrying the Hot Network, which AT&T admits will provide
"I'm not a weirdo or a
pervert—it's not my deal," says Bruce Biddick of Centex
Securities, a stock underwriter in La Jolla, California.
"I've got kids and a family. But I can see as an
underwriter going out and making bucks on people being
weird. Hey, dollars are dollars. I'm not selling drugs.
It's Wall Street."
Hotel chains, including
Marriott and Hilton, make more money from pay—per-view
pornography—about $ 190 million a year—than from snack
and drink sales in minibars.
"Porn doesn't have a
demographic; it goes across all demographics," says Paul
Fishbein, the 42-year-old founder and editor of Adult
Video News, the trade publication for the"Adult"
industry."There were 11,000 adult titles last year
versus 400 releases in Hollywood. There are so many
outlets that even if you spend just $ 15,000 and two
days-—and put in some plot and good-looking people and
decent sex—you can get satellite and cable sales. There
are so many companies, and they rarely go out of
business. You have to be really stupid or greedy to
Adult Video News claims: "The
largest credit card company makes up to $ 35 million per
month off of e-porn."American Express, however, stopped
accepting charges at Web porn sites because chargeback
rates are too high due to disputed charges by customers.
Visa and MasterCard impose fines on sites that fail to
keep rates within 1 percent of total monthly
The Federal Trade Commission
(FTC) and the New York State attorney general filed
suits last August against scores of porn Web sites for
billing thousands of Web users for supposedly free
services and for billing other consumers who have never
visited the sites at all.
Last year, an FTC task force
began investigating complaints of Web pornographers'
"page-jacking"And"mouse-trapping"—when an Internet
user is directed, through deception, to a Web site and
trapped there by disabling his computer's Web browser.
Last February, the FTC announced a court settlement with
an e-porn company doing just that.
RISE IN PSYCHOLOGICAL
Porn's new availability has stirred many people's
craving for it to the level of an addiction, a type of
psychological disorder. In a Fortune article," Addicted
to Sex: Corporate America's Dirty Secret," Patrick
Carnes, a nationally recognized expert in sexual
addictions, said: "Most of my patients are CEOs or
doctors or attorneys or priests. We have corporate
America's leadership marching through here."
Stephen Pesce, a New York City
psychotherapist, agrees: "The sex down on Wall Street is
unbelievable, with the prostitution and the porn."
Cybersex compulsive is a term
coined in a recent study to define at least 200,000
American adults who visit sex sites at least 11 hours
per week. According to researchers Al Cooper, David
Delmonico, and Ron Burg, writing last year in the
journal Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity," This is a
hidden public health hazard exploding in part because
very few are recognizing it as such or taking it
Other psychology experts see
many American men's yen for porn as signaling a huge and
growing problem in their relationships with the opposite
sex, a trend that could result in yet more divorce and
sexual abuse."Constant bombardment by images of buff,
sleek, airbrushed, ideal women is giving rise to a new
mental disorder among men: the centerfold syndrome,"
psychologist Gary Brooks told a meeting of the American
Psychological Association in 1996. This is resulting not
from any increase in the circulation of porn
magazines—with their steamy centerfold photos—but from
the vast upsurge in X-rated material on cable,
videocassette, and the Internet.