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Ban on child modelling sites proposed

US Congressman Mark Foley yesterday announced he is introducing a bill to ban so-called “child modelling” web sites, which sell access to pictures of children that are not obscene pictures, thereby evading the scope of anti-child porn laws.08 May 2002

“These web sites are nothing more than a fix for paedophiles,” Foley said. “They don’t sell products, they don’t sell services – all they serve are young children on a platter for America’s most depraved. These sites sell child erotica and they must be banned immediately.”

Foley said "child modelling" web sites that exploit children as young as four years old, cause immense psychological damage to the children and also put them in physical danger when contact is made with the people who visit their sites.

Contact is made, Foley said, “when paedophiles who pay to see photos and video clips of the children in sexually suggestive poses send the children provocative clothing and bathing suits to ‘model’ and converse with them via e-mail. In more extreme cases, ‘parties’ have been held in hotel rooms where the paedophiles can meet the young children they have been paying to view on-line face-to-face.”

Reuters news spoke to an unnamed operator of several child modelling sites who argued that he did not traffic in child porn, and said he "did not want to speculate on why his customers visit the sites becuase he had never met them."

Specifically, this legislation will ban all web sites that charge fees to view models 16 years of age and under that do not promote products or services beyond the child. “If a child is modelling for Gap or Gucci, it’s legal. If the site is selling nothing else than the child via photos or video clips, it’s illegal,” Foley said.

There is no equivalent law in the UK to cover non-obscene images of children.