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    Canada’s Leading Anti-Human Trafficking Activist Rebutt’s Tom Flanagan’s Child Porn Comments

    Canada’s Leading Anti-Human Trafficking Activist Rebutt’s Tom Flanagan’s Child Porn Comments

    March 18, 2013 (OTTAWA) – This week’s issue of Macleans includes a sit down interview with Tom Flanagan discussing child pornography, the backlash and the “worst week of his life”. In response to Mr. Flanagan’s comments, MP Joy Smith, Kildonan – St. Paul issued the following statement:

    In a recent New York Times article, “The Price of a Stolen Childhood,” Jan. 24, put a spotlight on child porn when a victim sued for damages after having pictures of herself distributed throughout the world.
    As the detective spread photos out on her kitchen table, Nicole saw her 10- year-old make up laden face looking back at her. She saw photos of her father forcing himself on her at the age of 10 years. This young girl was raped by her father and forced to perform oral sex on him. She broke down as she remembered how her dad manipulated her into playing games, convincing her that this was what fathers and daughters do. The detective explained that these photos had been downloaded by hundreds of thousands of computers via file-sharing services around the world.
    Nicole’s father sent thousands of these videos out over the Internet. He was a man who was supposed to protect her – he was a former police officer and he was her father. Finally, at age 16 she broke down and told her mother what was happening in her father’s home. This rape was repeated every time it was viewed over the Internet by those who chose to view it. This is the victimization thousands of times over and over of an innocent child.
    Political scientist, Tom Flanagan said he has “grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures. It is a real issue of personal liberty, to what extent we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person.”
    His comments crossed the line. Tragically, child porn hurts children and once online, these images haunt victims long after the sexual abuse occurs. It gives license to pedophiles who abuse our young.
    The U.S. Supreme Court addressed this question of additional harm that comes from knowing that pictures of childhood exploitation are circulating widely, in its 1982 decision upholding child-pornography bans: “Pornography poses an even greater threat to the child victim than does sexual abuse or prostitution . because the child’s actions are reduced to a recording, the pornography may haunt him in future years, long after the original misdeed took place,” wrote Justice Byron White.
    Most child porn is produced by using the very young, under six years of age.
    Flanagan’s public statement about how viewing pictures harms no one was extremely bizarre. He should know it harms the victim. He is supposed to be an educated man.
    Flanagan’s statement shows a glaring lack of understanding about the innocent victims who live with the results of their predators’ vile crime on their innocence. Flanagan should know that from the 2009 report by the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, 39 per cent of child pornography images were reported to involve children aged between three and five years of age, and 19 per cent involve images of infants under three years of age. The report notes that there are more than five million unique child sexual abuse images on the Internet today.
    I congratulate the Wildrose Party for firing him as their campaign manager; the CBC for firing him as their guest commentator on Power and Politics and the Manning Centre for removing him as a speaker at the upcoming Manning Conference. Flanagan should be ashamed of himself. He should continue to apologize for his careless remarks to the thousands of child victims whose images still remain on the Internet for public viewing. Maybe then his hasty remorse would be more believable. Their agony will never go away.
    For more information on MP Smith’s work to combat Human Trafficking in Canada, please visit: www.joysmith.ca.

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