‘Child Protection’ Org Fought Against Efforts to Crack Down on Childlike Sex Dolls, Cartoon Child Porn

by Laurel Duggan

 

The Prostasia Foundation, a tax-exempt nonprofit organization that claims to work to prevent child sex abuse, has fought against measures cracking down on fetish activities involving sexually fantasizing about children, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found.

Prostasia’s stated mission is to prevent child sex abuse before it happens through research, consulting, “defending the innocent” and advocating for “effective laws” that could help prevent abuse, according to the group’s website. In practice, however, Prostasia has advocated for policies that would expand adults’ access to childlike sex toys and fictitious child pornography while making life easier for convicted sex offenders; the organization argues that these activities do not harm children and may help pedophiles avoid committing crimes.

“Prostasia Foundation is a child sexual abuse prevention organisation, led by survivors and experts,” Jeremy Malcolm, founder and former executive director of Prostasia, told the DCNF in September. “One of the ways that we can prevent abuse is by ensuring that mental health services are available to those who may otherwise be at risk of offending. We have zero tolerance for child sexual abuse, and have never offered any excuse to those who abuse children.”

Malcolm, who is no longer executive director, declined to comment for this story, directing the DCNF to his earlier statement.

“Prostasia doesn’t have a victim focus, full stop. Their energies are taken up with defending paedophile access to cartoon [child sexual abuse material] and child sexual abuse dolls,” wrote Michael Salter, a University of New South Wales associate professor whose biography says he “applies critical and feminist theory to the study of complex trauma.” He also served as an adviser to the Australian government’s eSafety Commission in 2020.

The organization openly fights against bans on childlike sex dolls, calling such bans “unconstitutional,” and encourages people to write letters to lawmakers urging them not to restrict access to these devices using sample language provided on Prostasia’s website.

“Experts are saying that rather than reducing child sexual abuse, a ban could actually increase it by removing a victimless outlet for some people who might otherwise target a real child,” the sample language reads. “Research into whether a sex doll ban would help or hinder the protection of children is currently underway. Lawmakers should await the outcomes of this research before banning these devices.”

The group submitted comments advocating against 2019 United Nations draft guidelines on child protection because the guidelines interpreted child pornography to include cartoons, drawings, audio representations, written materials, sculptures and toys. This interpretation would criminalize art and violate free expression, Malcolm argued on Prostasia’s website.

The group also challenged the use of sex offender registries in their 2019 comments to the United Nations, arguing that the 12-24 percent recidivism rate among offenders is “low” and that a job might help a convicted sexual criminal avoid reoffending. Prostasia also claimed sex offender registries can “create a false sense of safety,” are ineffective and impose harm on those who have been convicted and completed their sentences.

Prostasia is in the early stages of a research project into whether engaging in pedophilic sexual fantasy activities such as cartoon child pornography and child sex doll use is linked to risk of committing sexual crimes against children, and the group has repeatedly acknowledged that there’s little research on the subject. Because there haven’t been formal studies finding a relationship between these fantasy activities and sexually abusing children, Prostasia urges lawmakers to allow sexual fantasy content about children until more is known.

“Laws and policies that are being promoted to ban such fantasy outlets rely on an assumption that equates fantasy engagement to risk of offending, but there is scant evidence to back this up,” the organization wrote in a post on its website titled “Exploring the use of fictional and fantasy sexual outlets.”

The organization’s position has drawn criticism from experts on child protection.

“Sexual images of children are not ‘art.’ … Are there any Prostasia ‘campaigns’ that don’t undermine online child protection?” Salter wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “This organization uses queer rights as a cover for its actual agenda, and it is sickening … They claim to be a child protection org, but it’s hard to find an issue where they err on the side of actual child protection.”

“The movement to minimize, and even normalize, pedophilia is in line with general cultural trends. That is, to elevate adult sexual desire as the ultimate good,” Katy Faust, founder of the children’s rights group Them Before Us, told the DCNF. “Wherever adult sexual desires are exalted, children pay the price.”

Malcolm challenged the notion that individuals with sex offense convictions should be excluded from child safeguarding projects in a blog post on Prostasia’s website arguing that “stigmatized groups,” including prostitutes and adult performers, should have a say in the development of child protection laws.

“What is it that brings these diverse stakeholders together? Firstly, a firm commitment to the elimination of child sexual abuse: we all agree that sex between adults and children must never be tolerated, and that neither can the dissemination of illegal sexual images or videos of real children,” he wrote.

“Secondly, we believe that human rights are universal and that if we are infringing on human rights in order to protect children, then we are doing it wrong. Thirdly, we take a sex-positive approach,” the group said.

Prostasia also offers tips on its website about “age play,” a form of role play in which one participant pretends to be a child or a baby, and says there’s nothing wrong with the practice as long as it’s done between consenting adults. The advice for online age play included using a pseudonym, avoiding forums where there are minors and “avoid[ing] law enforcement stings” in which the police charge a person with soliciting a minor when the person was actually engaging in age play with an online user he believed was an adult.

Prostasia says on that same web page that adults engaging in age play are likely to be harassed by a non-understanding public and advises readers to steer clear of predatory communities. It also suggests that any minors should be reported to the moderator of the chat room or bulletin board.

“Everyone’s sexuality is as unique as a fingerprint, and just as much beyond their conscious control. But that’s not the message that society tells us,” the advice reads. “Society privileges only a very narrow range of sexual desires and practices as normative (mostly those involving heterosexual cis-gendered people). Those who deviate from this script are stigmatized and associated with deviance and criminality, and as a result, their rights are routinely infringed.”

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Laurel Duggan is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Jeremy Malcolm” by Prostasia. Background Photo “Young Child” by Rene Terp.

 

 


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