Should the pornography industry be banned?
► « A pure and simple ban would be illusory »
Annick Billonsenator from Vendée (UDI) co-rapporteur of the senatorial report
“We did not choose the abolitionist track, that is to say the pure and simple prohibition of the pornographic industry, because that would have been illusory, since most of the filming is done in North America or in Eastern countries. We may regret it, but banning does not prevent dissemination. The industry will always find ways to reinvent itself.
I remind you that, originally, the delegation for women’s rights was supposed to work on minors’ access to pornography only. Nevertheless, we have chosen to broaden our field of investigation to the entire pornographic industry, as what we discovered was so serious: actresses raped on set, degrading practices, all disseminated massively, even to children.
Faced with this observation, we could have chosen to regulate this sector, by regulating the shooting conditions for example. Industry representatives encouraged us, explaining for example that the establishment of intimacy coordinators, supposed to ensure the consent of the actresses, or codes of ethics was enough. But we did not retain this track, which was above all akin to display.
So we opted for a third way. This report, we hope, will perhaps allow the general public to open their eyes and question the existence of this industry. Perhaps a broad debate, across society, will one day lead to a ban, but for now we have opted for a more pragmatic approach: showing what pornography really is.
A crime of incitement to rape
Among our proposals is the creation of an offense of incitement to rape, as there is an offense of incitement to racial hatred. We have not yet finalized a bill to this effect, but hope to be able to discuss it with the chancellery very soon. We also ask to better arm Arcom and the Pharos digital reporting platform to impose a black screen on sites until the verification of the age of Internet users who connect is ensured. Again, we need to be as effective as we can be in online hate.
These measures are essential to combat the dissemination of increasingly violent and degrading images. Scientific studies show that consumers of pornographic images fall into a form of addiction that is only satisfied if the content is increasingly violent. This is also why today’s pornography has nothing to do with that of the 1970s. However, this ever-increasing violence infuses the whole of society. It is therefore impossible to fight against sexual violence without attacking the pornography which is at its root. »
► « Pornography must stop being an area of lawlessness »
Celine Piquesactivist of Dare feminism
“First and foremost, we have to look at pornography for what it is under the current framework of our laws. In my opinion, we can only realize that it is illegal because it covers sexual violence, pimping, human trafficking, uncontrolled and unlimited dissemination of sexual content. However, all this is prohibited by French law.
For years, this industry has lied to us with words that have made the violence invisible. The first of these was « cinema », which refers to works of fiction. Banning pornography amounted to a form of censorship, its advocates argued. We finally realize that this is not a form of cinema, fiction, but real sexual acts, often very violent, performed in front of a rotating camera, placed in a corner of the room. I therefore think that pornography must stop because it is nothing more than a form of filmed prostitution, where the classic pimp-client-prostitute trio is replaced by the producer-client-actress trio. However, since 2016, France has penalized the clients of prostitutes or prohibited the purchase of sexual acts.
This observation is corroborated by recent surveys of which Dare feminism is at the origin. In a first case, in June, four men including the founder of the Jacquie et Michel site – the most popular in France – were indicted in an open judicial investigation, in particular for “aggravated pimping”, « trafficking in human beings in an organized gang », « rape with torture » and « acts of barbarism ». In another case, on September 27, three actors were taken into custody for « aggravated human trafficking », « rape in meetings » Where “aggravated pimping”.
What are they accused of? In order to recruit actresses, they had run in a terrifying system. A tout, hidden under a female pseudonym, spotted fragile young women, in a situation of family breakdown and financial distress. Passing themselves off as a prostitute, they dangled them easy money. This tout then turned into a client and obtained from them a sexual service aimed at removing their reluctance to paid sex. After leaving them without pay, he contacted them again to suggest a new way of bailing them out, via high-paying porn videos destined for Canada. But the film ended up being accessible everywhere, including in France.
Faced with such practices, I simply ask that, as a matter of urgency, this industry ceases to be a zone of lawlessness. It seems to me that there is nothing exaggerated in asking that it be reconsidered for what it is: a form of serious sexual violence. »