Amazon Under Fire for Sex Book

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Amazon, one of the largest online retailing sites, came under fire by Love 146, an organization that campaigns against child trafficking and exploitation, for its marketing of a self-published e-book “Age of Consent: A Sex Tourists Guide!” by Peter F. Friedmann, which appears to, according to the Huffington Post, “encourage pedophilia overseas. It’s description stated that “”In some countries it is even illegal to have sex outside of marriage, with severe consequences if you are caught doing so! On the flipside, there are many countries on this planet where the age of consent is as low as 12 or 13… This $3.49 will keep you out of jail, possibly the most important few dollars that any red blooded testosterone pumped traveller will spend.” It has been listed since October last year, received 15 odd one-star ratings, and was available for free on the Kindle Lending Library

Although the listing of the book was removed last Thursday, it no doubt forces us to think about Amazon’s policies towards such books. There seems to be two sides to the argument – that the public had no right to demand censorship of material on Amazon, as Friedmann has the right to write whatever he wants, and the line that is to be drawn between what is socially acceptable and justifiable to be mass-marketed is not particularly clear. Many claim that it leaves room for more ambiguous book banning in the future when people exert and assert their ideas of morality on others. Furthermore, some do not see the problem with a book like “Age of Consent”, as they opined that other countries have different definitions of the age of consent, and different yardsticks to measure obscenity and moral justifiability. Hence, organizations based in, and are governed by the values of the USA, should not attempt to assert its definitions on other countries.

On the other hand, that fundamentally, as the book was of a highly obscene nature, and encouraged exploiting children (who are often in the sex slave trade in other countries), it should not even have been on Amazon to begin with. Although I think is that Amazon ought to have been more careful about the books on its website, I guess due to the sheer number of self-published books on its site, it’s highly unlikely that Amazon would be able to carefully screen its books.

Ultimately, for me, I trust my gut, which tells me that this book is sick, completely despicable and disgusting for revealing such material to the international public, and making information about sexual exploitation of children to easily accessible. I’m appalled by the nature of the material, and one could even venture to argue that it encourages child sex trade and exploitation across the world. I’m not sure if with the right to freedom the book does have the right to remain on the Internet, but if that is so, then at what cost, to the right of children across the world?

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