As 2014 came to a close and ASACP looks forward through 2015, it is important for us as an organization to review the challenges and accomplishments we faced during the past year and to consider how these changes will affect us going forward. Reflecting on how challenging 2014 has been for ASACP reveals that despite the difficulties, many of our most significant accomplishments were born out of these challenges, or carried on in spite of them.
Perhaps the biggest challenge faced by ASACP in 2014 has been a continued decrease in financial support that we receive from the online adult entertainment industry whose interests ASACP protects just as it protects the interests of child safety on the Internet. This problem has three major aspects: the first is the overall decrease in industry revenues is leaving less money on the table for supporting a group such as ASACP — despite the many benefits of doing so. Another factor is the ongoing consolidation of adult sites and programs, where dozens of sponsors and other supporters have become acquired by larger companies, which have not maintained sponsorships for each of these programs — and have not upped their own sponsorship levels to make up for the loss of operating revenues for ASACP that their acquisitions caused.
In the final analysis of its accomplishments and challenges for 2014 and the goals it has set itself for 2015 and beyond, perhaps the biggest factor affecting the future success of ASACP is the balancing act it must perform.
Finally, many folks within the industry see the level of “philosophical” support that ASACP receives and mistakenly believe that this translates into robust financial support. While it would be great if this was true, the truth of the matter is that today, ASACP does more than ever, with less than ever before.
For example, in 2014, ASACP saw a continued increase in the usage of one of its core functions; the operation of its internationally recognized Child Exploitation Tipline, which received more than 100,000 individual reports of suspected online child exploitation — doubling the hotline’s report volume since 2011. Of these raw reports, ASACP referred more than 14,000 reports to global law enforcement authorities and other relevant hotlines. As a result, the association rendered assistance to investigators in many of these cases and helped several sponsors and members with child pornography related issues. ASACP did all of this with only one hotline analyst. This last point highlights the ongoing challenges of carrying out our mission with minimal staffing — in fact, a smaller staff than many other non-profits of ASACP’s size. Sometimes, however, more help is needed and truly welcome, especially if the association is to serve the growing needs of supporter base.
For example, ASACP continued to greatly expand its international outreach efforts in 2014 with the invaluable assistance of Vince Charlton, Volunteer Director of European Outreach. This has led to a number of important achievements that would not have been possible otherwise, due to budgetary and staff-time limitations on travel and other factors. Among these accomplishments are Charlton’s participation in advocating for child protection issues in the U.K. and Europe on behalf of the industry, including participation in the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) European Forum 2014 in Paris as well as meetings with ATVOD and other U.K. policy makers. Charlton also participated in multiple meetings with child protection organizations in the U.K.; including the U.K. Council for Child Internet Safety, ParentZone launch of PITDA (Parenting in the Digital Age) initiative at House of Commons in London, Westminster eForum Keynote Seminar: Childhood and the Internet – safety, education and regulation and EURIM Digital Policy Alliance – Age Verification – House of Lords, Westminster Palace … just to name a few.
Other efforts require additional staff expertise that is not available in-house. This led ASACP to hire the professional social media company; 7Veils.com in late 2013, who continues to greatly expand ASACP’s mission through better communication on these mediums, including Facebook and Twitter. This is vital as these channels form an important bridge between ASACP and its mainstream counterparts, parents and lawmakers, who are not frequenting industry news websites, and who otherwise have limited exposure to ASACP’s message.
This struggle for resources was front and center in 2014 but it is not all a matter of putting out however, as ASACP receives a lot back for its efforts. For example, the association received numerous “thank you” emails in from teachers, parents and others, regarding the resources offered on both the ASACP and RTA websites, which help to educate and protect children in their digital lives — scoring a goal for our team in the battle of public perception. This positive perception led to multiple quotes for ASACP in international mainstream media outlets regarding online child protection issues, evolving Internet legislation and global child exploitation cases.
Despite all of these accomplishments, ASACP was still able to attend and participate in numerous international conferences and tradeshows, both targeting mainstream child protection initiatives as well as events serving the adult entertainment industry.
In the final analysis of its accomplishments and challenges for 2014 and the goals it has set itself for 2015 and beyond, perhaps the biggest factor affecting the future success of ASACP is the balancing act it must perform. ASACP takes on the delicate task of meeting the distinct needs of child protection as well as protecting the rights of the legitimate adult entertainment industry to serve its countless customers around the world, in a manner that is both safe for children and responsible for society. It is not always appreciated how difficult it is for ASACP to gain and maintain credibility because of this dual mission, resulting in attacks and misunderstanding by forces both within and outside of the adult entertainment industry, making a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation for ASACP all too common, which is already over-tasked and under-staffed.
Thus, it is vital for ASACP to stay focused on its mission, carrying on in the face of a limited budget and resources to do what is right, both for children and for our industry. With your help, it is a war that is winnable — the continued success of your business may well depend on it.
Founded in 1996, ASACP is a non-profit organization dedicated to online child protection.
ASACP is comprised of two separate corporate entities, the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection and the ASACP Foundation. The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. ASACP manages a membership program that provides resources to companies in order to help them protect children online. The ASACP Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The ASACP Foundation battles child pornography through its CP Reporting Hotline and helps parents prevent children from viewing age-restricted material online with its Restricted To Adults (RTA) website label (www.rtalabel.org). ASACP has invested 18 years in developing progressive programs to protect children, and its relationship in assisting the adult industry’s child protection efforts is unparalleled. For more information, visit www.asacp.org.