U.S.

Hawaii Lawmakers Propose Blocking Porn Sites Unless Fee is Paid

Hawaii became the latest state to propose a fee to browse pornography online. Sponsors of the bill in the Aloha State say the legislation will help curb human sex trafficking and children's access to porn sites through their electronic devices.

Legislation proposed Thursday has various layers, from preventing children to access pornography on their phones to make it more difficult for porn sites to become hubs for human trafficking.

The proposed bill would require a one-time $20 fee for those seeking to browse internet porn sites. Money from fees would fund the state’s coffers to address and slow human trafficking, according to the bill. Similar legislation has been filed in other states in an attempt to slow human sex trafficking.

State Sen. Mike Gabbard, who sponsored the bill in the Hawaii Senate, said children shouldn’t have access to porn on their phones, and that a one-time fee could deter users from trying to access sites online.

"It doesn't make sense for children to have to access to X-rated material on their cell phones," Gabbard told CNN. "By making it harder for people to access these porn sites, we can make prostitution hubs harder to access which will reduce sex trafficking,"

The verbiage in the bill filed by Gabbard states “pornography is more widespread and accessible than at any other time in American history.” It states pornography is exposed to the most vulnerable members of society, and that porn “normalizes violence and abuse of women and children” while treating them “like objects.”

“Pornography treats women as objects and commodities for the viewer’s use, teaching girls that they are objects to be used and teaching boys that this is acceptable behavior,” the bill reads.

Most states have filed or passed some kind of legislation in regards to the Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Act.

Hawaii’s move is just one of the latest that argue a child shouldn’t have access to full pornography on their mobile devices. Laws have been passed in all 50 states that prevent minors from even seeing — or purchasing — porn magazines from behind the counter at convenience stores and gas stations.

“In stores, Playboys and Penthouses were wrapped in brown paper. Those laws are still on the books,” Special Forces of Liberty spokeswoman Kathleen Winn told CNN. “And kids can’t go to R-rated movies.”

Hawaii’s proposed bill might not be as cut-and-dry easy as it sounds, with filters and such to thwart users accessing porn sites.

Dave Maass of Electronic Frontier Foundation, which monitors online porn taxes issued by states, said bills like Hawaii’s is “just plain, awful policy” in a report on the EFF site. He also said laws enforced across the states would force people to buy software they never wanted to purchase.

EFF further explains that anyone wishing to pay the $20 fee to access sites would be required to offer up their identification and an understanding that a “written warning regarding potential dangers” of such filters could be removed.

The bills across the states also face elaborate censorship issues, according to EFF.

The Hawaii bill isn't the first of its kind. A $20 fee on porn sites was proposed in Rhode Island that would also fund human trafficking victims. And just last month, Arizona state senator proposed a $20 porn fee to help fund President Donald Trump’s border wall, which the president said would help prevent human trafficking.

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