ASACP at its core

Tim Henning

As the executive director of the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP), I am frequently asked about what the association actually does; how effective it is at its task; and how it uses the funds it raises. As I prepare for the QWEBEC Expo and a whirlwind trip to Europe for the fall show schedule, I wanted to share the answers to these questions with you:

How ASACP spends its time.

All told, ASACP achieves tremendous results from its limited budget — results that may be even more spectacular with a higher level of funding — but that step is up to you.

When you consider that in its 15 year-long history, ASACP has processed more than 600,000 reports of suspected CP (averaging more than 200 reports per day), it is clear that it is a needed and worthwhile organization — but this is just the starting point for all the tasks it performs — including working with international law enforcement authorities to pursue confirmed “Red Flag” reports of CP.

This is not mere “note passing,” but a process requiring a commitment to an advanced technological infrastructure, including the ongoing education needed to stay a step ahead of the bad guys. The time-consuming task of liaising with authorities and other hotlines around the world, added to ASACP’s continued participation in the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography and other groups, involves considerable staffing resources and a dedication to performing these tasks.

As for efficacy, once ASACP submits a “Red Flag” report, the matter is in the hands of law enforcement, where it usually becomes an active criminal investigation without a formalized “report back” procedure. This is common and a means of preventing criminals from learning the progress of an investigation — but on occasion, anecdotal reports and informal comments from law enforcement agents reveal that ASACP is indeed having a great impact on commercial child sexual abuse — including its participation in the recent bust of the notorious “Dreamboard” CP site.

ASACP is also involved on the political front, championing the rights of legitimate adult entertainment businesses before legislators in Sacramento, Washington and beyond.

For example, ASACP developed its award-winning Restricted To Adults (RTA) label in response to Congressional demands that the industry “do something” about children’s access to age-restricted content on the Internet. The association also recently sent a letter of protest to Congressional leaders concerning the inaccurate and misleading naming of the “Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011” — since ASACP has conclusively proven that no ties exist between lawful adult companies and the heinous crime of trafficking in illegal depictions of child sexual abuse.

Of course, all of these activities take more than time, they also require money.

How ASACP spends your money.

As a non-profit organization, ASACP relies on the sponsorships, membership fees and donations it receives for its continued existence. In today’s tough global economy, these revenues are increasingly harder to come by — especially from ASACP’s historical support base, the online adult entertainment industry — which is enduring declining sales and frequent company closings.

Against this backdrop, it is important for our friends and supporters to understand how their contributions are used — a vital consideration for cash-trapped operators with limited discretionary budgets for charities, industry advocacy and trade organizations.

One of ASACP’s biggest expenses is its CP Reporting Hotline, which serves on the front line of Internet child protection; enabling concerned website visitors to easily report suspected child pornography, 24/7 365 days per year.

Unlike some “outside” organizations, however, ASACP does not simply provide this raw list of reported URLs to the authorities, it investigates the reports first, knowing more about the adult industry, its players and how they work, than do layman groups. This step allows ASACP to filter out legitimate “teen” programs and other questionable websites, focusing on confirmed “Red Flag” reports of genuine, illegal CP — which are then sent to law enforcement, along with any forensic data that we are able to uncover.

This level of due-diligence has protected legitimate companies against unnecessary scrutiny, legal fees and false accusations.

Another major budget item is the percentage of revenues that are devoted to paying staff salaries and other expenses. In this regard, ASACP earns high marks — as unlike many other non-profit organizations where staff salaries may be the largest expense, ASACP has always limited its salaries in order to balance its need for quality staffing with its need to operate on a modest budget. Happily, our staff’s passion for “fighting the good fight” means that money is not our primary motivator.

Travel is another huge but necessary expense.

To further its mission and to develop and sustain contacts within the adult industry and beyond, ASACP requires a presence at the most important trade events and meetings, making travel expenses a significant budget item. Fortunately, some of our sponsors and others have underwritten many of these expenses from time to time; providing airfare or hotel accommodations, as well as show passes, booth space and promotional items such as flyers and gift-bag inserts.

Our Los Angeles office space is also donated to the organization, saving considerable expenses on this prime real estate.

Compare this to other organizations you may consider contributing to and you will see that ASACP devotes a lower percentage of its income to salaries and office overhead, so that more of its resources can be devoted to its core mission of keeping children out of and away from adult entertainment, while protecting the interests of adult businesses.

All told, ASACP achieves tremendous results from its limited budget — results that may be even more spectacular with a higher level of funding — but that step is up to you.