A South Korean court has sentenced the mastermind of one of the country’s biggest online sex abuse rings to 40 years in jail.
Cho Ju-bin was found guilty of running a group which blackmailed girls into sharing sexual videos that were then posted in pay-to-view chatrooms.
At least 10,000 people used the chatrooms, with some paying up to $1,200 (£1,000) for access.
Some 74 people, including 16 underage girls, were exploited.
“The accused has widely distributed sexually abusive content that he created by luring and threatening many victims,” the Seoul Central District Court said on Thursday, according to Yonhap news agency.
It said Cho was found guilty of violating laws to protect children from sexual abuse and for running a criminal ring which produced and sold abusive videos in order to make a profit.
Cho’s criminal syndicate sold the videos it acquired through blackmail to secretive chatrooms on the Telegram app.
The case sparked a national outcry in South Korea.
In March, a police committee took the unusual step of naming Cho, a 25-year-old college graduate, after five million people signed petitions asking for his anonymity to be lifted.
“I apologise to those who were hurt by me,” Cho had said that month as he was led away from a Seoul police station. “Thank you for putting a brake on the life of a devil that could not be stopped.”
Police have said at least 124 suspects were arrested and 18 operators of chatrooms on Telegram and other social media, including Cho, were detained following investigations into similar sexual crimes since late last year, reported Reuters news agency.
Five other defendants have received sentences ranging from seven to 15 years.
As the judges sat down to deliberate, the call for justice from women’s advocates was loud and clear.
Tens of thousands of petitions, including from victims, had been handed to officials on this case urging them to hand down a hefty prison sentence.
South Korean courts have been accused of being far too lenient on digital sex criminals for far too long.
The 40-year punishment for ringleader Cho Ju-bin still falls short of the life sentence sought by prosecutors.
But one women’s rights group described it as “the beginning of the end” of sexual exploitation of women on chat groups.
There are still concerns that the victims of this kind of sex crime are not getting the help they need, and the rest of the criminal syndicate received much lighter sentences.
However, women in South Korea will see this as a start and a sign that their long fight is finally yielding results.
But the words I wrote when this case was made public still ring true.
The fury will not stop here.
QotD: “Only one stat you need to know on the the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women”
Only one stat you need to know on the the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women: So many women were murdered by men, so many girls were neglected, abandoned or aborted, that women have become a global minority – for the first time in history.
The first loyalty of sex industry advocates is to the sex industry itself. This loyalty is showing itself again in how the ECP is exploiting COVID19 lock-down to push for the total decriminalisation of the sex industry.
The BBC has published an article today that reads very much like a regurgitated press release from the ECP, with no alternative points of view offered, and, in the name of ‘balance’ only a brief statement from the government at the end, which only addressed the legal status of the sex industry, and not poverty under lock-down.
Poverty pushes women into prostitution. The recent switch to Universal Credit in the UK has pushed more women into poverty. If the ECP’s real concern was for the welfare of women in poverty, they would be lobbying for a better social safety net, so that no woman was forced into prostitution just to make ends meet.
Instead, the ECP is calling for the complete decriminalisation of the sex industry, because recognising ‘sex work as work’ is, somehow, the only way women trapped in prostitution can get benefits under lock-down when they can’t ‘work’.
In the UK, the act of selling sex itself is legal, but the acts around it like soliciting, kerb-crawling, pimping, and brothel keeping are illegal, so really what the ECP is calling for is the decriminalisation of pimps and brothel-keepers, all so that prostituted women can be recognised as ‘workers’ in order to get extra benefits under lock-down!
The implication is that if the sex industry were decriminalised, it wouldn’t matter how many women were pushed into it through poverty, because ‘sex work is work’. What about all the women in poverty who, for whatever reason, can’t or won’t turn to ‘sex work’? What about the women who are not lifted out of poverty by ‘sex work’? It is obvious that the ECP only cares about women in poverty as a means to an end, the end being the decriminalisation, expansion, and normalisation of the sex industry.
I have sent a complaint to the BBC, please feel free to copy or adapt the below:
Why is the BBC unquestioningly reporting the claim, from sex industry lobbyists, that the best thing for women forced into prostitution through poverty, is the complete decriminalisation of the sex industry?
Why was the false claim from the ECP that ‘sex work’ is criminalised (since the act of selling sex itself is legal in the UK) allowed to stand unquestioned?
Why was there no alternative point of view given by campaigners for a better benefits system? Why was no one from Nordic Model Now asked for a comment? Why was there no interview with a woman who has exited the sex industry, and, because of her experiences, supports the abolitionist legal approach?
The BBC must realise by now that the political debate over the legal status of the sex industry is highly polarised and partisan; the article read like a regurgitated press release from the ECP, it is lazy, biased journalism.
Curiously, the article also, briefly, quotes someone from an organisation in Bristol called One25, which is dedicated to helping women exit prostitution. I have sent them a short email asking them if they are happy with the way they have been portrayed in the article, as completely aligned with the ECP.
It was not the trail of bodies but a drink splashed on the windscreen reducing visibility that eventually brought Alek Minassian’s rampage to an end, the Canadian mass killer told police.
Mowing down pedestrians on a busy Toronto pavement in a rented van for 1½ miles, the 25-year-old had killed ten people and wounded 16. The final stage of his plan, to be shot dead by the police, backfired when an officer arrested him after a tense stand-off.
Two years on, Minassian is standing trial, giving the involuntarily celibate, or “incel”, movement its day in court. In the intervening years, experts say, that online group — comprised of indignant, sexually frustrated men — has increased and become more hostile.
“Minassian is the first perpetrator of mass violence connected to misogynist incel ideology who didn’t die,” said Alex DiBranco, founder of the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism and a PhD candidate at Yale University. “So we haven’t had the opportunity previously to see somebody prosecuted for this cause.”
Minassian, now 28, admits to the killings but has raised a defence of not criminally responsible to ten charges of murder and 16 of attempted murder. The trial, before only a judge, began this week.
Inceldom can be traced to the misogynistic “pick-up artistry” movement, whose leaders taught seduction techniques, said Ashley Mattheis, a researcher at the University of North Carolina. By 2007, those who felt they would never succeed in forming relationships had splintered off, co-opting the term incel from an inclusive blog to support lonely people.
Today the movement intersects with far-right extremism and other forms of male supremacy and uses online message-boards.“While they share the same kind of ideal about what masculinity should be — the buff, strong dude with money that chicks want — their relationship to it is failure. Incels race to the bottom,” Ms Mattheis said. Their rules stipulate: “If someone touched your mouth with her mouth voluntarily you are not an incel.”
While most are unlikely to become violent, a small nihilistic coterie call for the violent overthrow of the “Stacys”, meaning shallow women, and “Chads”, the men they date. “They link that to some very strange social, economic ideas about redistributing women,” Ms Mattheis said.
Chief among them was Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old who killed six people at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2014 and left a manifesto.
Minassian, who had communicated with Rodger online, wrote on social media on the morning of his own attack that the “incel rebellion” had begun, adding: “All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”
In a police interview, Minassian said he had been laughed at by girls at a Halloween party in 2013. “I was angry that they would give their love and attention to obnoxious brutes,” he said, a familiar incel refrain. “I feel like I accomplished my mission,” he said after the attack, adding that he hoped to “inspire future masses”.
He joined the Canadian army in 2017 but left after 16 days of basic training, and was introduced to incel ideology at college. Eight of his ten victims were women, ranging in age from 22 to 94.
As many as 50 people have been killed in incel-related violence in North America since 2014. In May, Canadian police brought incel-related terror charges for the first time against a 17-year-old, following a deadly machete attack on a Toronto massage parlour.
Ms DiBranco said that extreme misogynist forums were becoming “more extreme and are growing faster”.
A recent Swedish report found that one incel website had 57,000 unique visitors a month in late 2019. “It’s a concern and it’s a threat,” Ms Mattheis said, “and it should be taken seriously.”
Pornography is not created by the powerless people of the world; it is the capitalist empires, the Hugh Heffners and Larry Flints who turn the powerless and vulnerable into pornography.
Anne Mayne, Big Porn Inc.
QotD: “In porn, the women’s lack of human qualities often results in men’s inability to see just how violent the sex act is”
In porn, the women’s lack of human qualities often results in men’s inability to see just how violent the sex act is. No matter how cruel the sex, the one question I can always count on hearing from a man after my presentation is, “Women enjoy what they are doing, so why is porn a problem?” Of course, these men have no empirical evidence to support this, just their observations of the porn they masturbate to. When I ask them if they would like to see their wives, girlfriends, or sisters in this position—in an attempt to humanize the porn performers—they are quick to respond that their loved ones are different from the women in porn; their women would never “choose” such a job. The image these men seem to have of women in porn is of a woman accidentally stumbling onto a porn set one day, and realizing that this is what she has been looking for all her life. That these women are acting, and may have come to porn not so much through choice but due to lack of alternatives is rarely considered because this premise threatens to puncture the fantasy world created by both pornographer and user.
Gail Dines, Pornland
(Found at ‘burndownpornhub’)
Tumblr can be an awful platform, for a multitude of reasons, but sometimes it produces wonderful collective efforts like this:
You have probably never heard of MindGeek, the huge tech company that owns Pornhub: the world’s most popular porn site. Pornhub, which has 42 billion visits per year, is currently under fire for its apparent lack of safeguarding checks. Six million videos a year are posted on the site; some, according to anti-porn campaigners, depicting rape and sexual abuse. The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has found more than 100 cases of child abuse on the site between 2017 and 2019.
Inspired by the Traffickinghub petition which recently hit two million signatures, campaigners are taking the fight against pornography directly to MindGeek’s doorstep. Today, a demonstration, with facemasks and social distancing, of course, is taking place outside its UK HQ in Uxbridge, Greater London, in the hope that this public display will put pressure on the Government to expedite the Online Harms Regulation and hold porn sites accountable for their complicity in sexual exploitation.
MindGeek is the parent company to almost 100 websites that collectively consume more bandwidth than Facebook, Twitter and Amazon combined. It has become the largest multinational porn conglomerate in the world, controlling most of the major free porn sites. Pornhub entices traffic by offering free access but then users get bombarded with advertisements for pay-sites.
According to Gail Dines, a leading authority on the porn industry, ‘rather than take responsibility for content uploaded to their sites, MindGeek pushes the line that they are not the creators but merely the hosts, and that the performers are all engaging in porn consensually’.
I have spent many hours combing through the content on Pornhub and can confirm that it is vile in the extreme. Pornhub hosts videos including ‘sleep forced abuse drunk passed out’. There is also overt racism, such as ‘Ebony slave girl porn’ and ‘the most racist porn video ever created.’
Pornhub has been accused of turning a blind eye to the exploitation of women featured in the videos on the site. Now, mainly because of survivors speaking out, the feminist anti-porn movement has gathered pace in recent years. But the battle against the commercial sex trade should not be left only to feminists. Any human rights campaigner should be challenging Pornhub, because of the horrific videos appearing on the site.
QotD: “The past six months in my job working to help people targeted by loan sharks have been busier because of the pandemic”
One of my team has a case involving a vulnerable young woman who has been forced to pay off debts with sexual favours. Danielle is terrified of the loan shark who lives on the same estate. He has made threats to her partner and children, which has made her get help. Danielle is also living with crippling anxiety and depression – we make a referral to her GP for counselling and mental health support. We have also referred her to Citizens Advice for debt advice. The loan shark is under investigation.
The way loan sharks operate is to entice people by pretending to be their best friend and doing them a favour – it can be really easy to fall into that trap. These criminals initially offer money to mothers, who in some cases are seeking to feed their children, without fully informing them of the extortionate interest rates and despicable repayment methods. They will use violence, intimidation and even force women into performing sexual services and prostitution to pay off their debts.
It is extremely upsetting to hear stories of women who have experienced unimaginable suffering as a result of borrowing money. The sad reality is that this is not just a shocking one-off story and it is happening more frequently since the pandemic hit.