THEY ARE in the usual explicit pornographic poses. And they are young - 11.9 years of age. Some appear younger.

These pre-pubescent girls, sometimes photgraphed with Teddy bears and other playthings of the young, appear in a magazine called Lollitots which can be purchased openly for $7.50 at "adult" book stores in the District and across the country.

While Lollitots shocks the uninitiated, the magazine is, in fact, mild compared to the films projected in "adult" book store peep shows and to magazines which display children as young as 7 engaged in sex acts with other children and adults.

A search for these children, their parents, the photographers, film makers and publishers is, more often than not, fruitless and frustrating. It leads into a subculture of child porn and prostitution - a lucrative twin industry which, according to law enforcement officials across the country, is proliferating.

Outrage and disgust are obvious reactions to child porn, but there is a complexity of attitudes regarding what can and should be done about the use of children in pornography. The outraged feel it is the sickest, but inevitable, extension of a rampant permissiveness and growing tolerance of pornography - and that is must be controlled by tougher obscenity and child abuse laws.

Civil libertarians argue among themselves whether the selling of child pornography material goes beyond the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. Psychologists disagree on whether a sexually exploited child is psychologically damaged, or whether the sexually disturbed are so aroused by such material as to commit sex crimes against children.

The issue is compounded by current confusion regarding sexual attitueds. Pornographic squad officials grumble that they are low priority divisions - overworked, understaffed, underfinanced. There is such an attitude of leniency that the pornography star is exalted, they claim, and they are vilified, making it difficult to get a conviction on all but the "kinkiest" pornography.

"The judiciary is very scared of being on the 'wrong' side. You get big swings in the law. Not so long ago they were willing to call 'An American Tragedy' obscene - now they are unwilling to call anything obscene." That is from New York lawyer Charles Rembar, who successfully defended "Lady Chatterley's Lover," "Fanny Hill" and "Tropic of Cancer" against obscenity charges in the 1960s.

Rembar parts company with civil libertarians such as Alan Reitman, American Civil Liberties Union associated director, who feels the only way to go after child pornography is at the level of those engaging the children in the sex acts, not the sellers. "That stuff is gross and it's awful that you have to defend on principle this kind of stuff," Reitman says, "but I feel it's dangerous to tackle the problem through the mechanism of censorship."

Rembar counters with, "Nobody's going to pose these kids if they can't sell it! It is totally unrealistic to say that the people who sell these magazines and films are not involved in the act themselves. We've raised a whole crop of 'First Amendment junkies,' 'free speech poppers' who don't understand the First Amendment. To take it as 'absolute' is nonsense. You can't go out and peddle watered stock and say that is free speech." A "Commodity"

THE SEXUAL abuse of children is a crime. In California "it is a very serious offense that carries a heavy penalty up to 50 years and could be defined as [anything from] kissing seductively to fondling private parts to having sexual relations," says Jackie Howell, a Los Angeles police department juvenile division investigator.

Officials there have become so alarmed at the growing cases of child porn and prostitution that last week they set up a special sexual exploitation section of the juvenile division.

"Child molestation and exploitation, including prostitution, pornography, sex perversion and the furnishing of narcotics, are extensive in this city," a recent Los Angeles Police Department study concluded. "Children have become commodities and are bought, sold and traded for the financial gain of the involved adults. Every conceivable sexual act is committed upon these young people, including acts of sado-masochism."

During the investigation, pornographic materials - more than 3,000 photographs, 30 magazines and 120 amateur and commercial films - were seized. From information volunteered by suspects, victims and witnesses, the study concluded that more than 3,000 children under age 14 were being exploited sexually in and around Los Angeles. More than 25,000 juveniles 14 through 17 were being used sexually by approximately 15,000 adult males, the report stated.

Child pornography is not new, but the use of children - and at younger, pre-teen ages - has developed, with little controversy, in part because the public has been ignorant on the subject of child pornography and prostitution. Public outrage, often an effective exralegal weapon, has only recently begun to grow. Few of those citizens who would object are in the habit of frequenting "adult" book stores, and many newspapers still bury stories on the subject or are reluctant to run them at all.

"I just found out about these magazines and films this summer and I've become a raving banshee over it," says Dr. Judianne Densen-Gerber, a New York psychiatrist and head of Odyssey Institute, a drug rehabilitation and child abuse center. This month she held a news conference which featured a film showing an 8-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl performing sexual acts. Three New York state legislators then proposed a new bill to strengthen existing statutes. It would provide long prison terms for parents or any person producing, promoting or profiting from pornographic performances by children.

Such a law would get at the one link most accessible (after the seller) to law enforcements officials - the distributor. Distributing pornographic material within a state now is generally a misdemeanor - and only, of course, after it has been judged obscene. This often requires long and costly litigation.

"The distributor should be put in jail, along with those producing the material," says Rep. Edward Koch (D-N.Y.) "This is simply a whole separate category - consenting adults can do whatever they want to do as long as it doesn't involve children."

Koch toured a Times Square bookstore and recalls an automat-like experience in pornography. "Out of 50 of these peep show machines, 17 showed films of sexual acts between children, children and adults, children and animals. They describe what you are seeing alongside the machine: 'sex between brother and sister,' 'sex between adult and juvenile.' There were two boys about 10 and a girl about 12 in explicit acts of fellatio. People who want to see pornography, their taste escalates. What satisfied before no longer does."

One New York law enforcement official, smarting from charges that little was being done to get at the source of such films, said that "Koch is running for mayor."

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau says, "We have yet to find any evidence that such films are made or produced in Manhattan. If they are filmed in California, that is out of our jurisdiction."

Morgenthau believes "there ought to be stiffer sentences regarding the use of these children and the sale of the material." He noted that, following a year's investigation, New York police seized 1,200 films and magazines, many using children. Arrests were made. "They convicted a major wholesaler, Edward Mishkin [62, of Yonkers, N.Y.]. He could have gotten seven years in jail - he got six months of 'weekends' in jail. On Jan. 5, he was rearrested."

Morgenthau's is a familiar tale, repeated by law enforcement officials across the country. For example, Kent Master, a New York distributor of "chicken films" - the vernacular for porn films involving children - advertises 10 films in its "Lollypops" series. The ads show cartoons of two nude, very young boys licking lollipops, the slogan "Chicken Films Come of Age" and graphic descriptions of sex acts, including "Ronnie, Bobby and Eddie - three pre-teens on a bed." The movies are 8 mm, in color, 200 feet and $20 apiece. There is an address, but directory assistance has no phone listed. Undercover agents last week arrested the firm's owner, charging him with the misdemeanor of promoting obscenity.

"Under present criminal statutes we can't go in with a search warrant and confiscate the films. He would not sell us more copies, and so the only thing we could do is charge him with a misdemeanor," says Morgenthau. "And we still don't know who the children are or where they come from." The Legal Obstacles

EVEN if such charges are brought against distributors or bookstores, a labyrinth of fake publishers, fake addresses, murky juvenile and obscenity laws, porno dealers taking the Fifth Amendment - all protect the photographers, the recruiters of children and the people who make "chicken films" and magazines.

Take the case of Lollitots magazine.The masthead leads one to believe the magazine is a coast-to-coast operation - published by Delta Publishing Co. Inc. in Wilmington, Del., and distributed solely by Parliament News in Sun Valley, Calif., just outside Los Angeles. But according to Delaware authorities, Delta Publishing is a fictitious front. Parliament News, however, is for real.

The city of Los Angeles is prosecuting Parliament News and its president, Paul Wisner, 52, charging them with possession with intent to commercially disseminate obscene material.

This month, a number of District book sellers were picked up in a raid and charged with the misdemeanor of selling obscene material, Lollitots included. The case is pending trial.

"Under the D.C. obscenity code we could move on Lollitots - because a section prohibits the lewd exhibition of genitals of minors," says Robert Kendall, special assistant U.S. attorney for obscenity prosecution.

But enforcement officials trying to get a tougher federal case against Parliament or the still unknown publishers face problems.

Phil Wilens, chief of the Justice Department criminal division's government regulations and labor department, said he "almost retched" when he saw Lollitots. "But the only federal statute involved is in interstate transportation of the magazine. Posing, recruiting the girls, is all a state offense and how do you get back to the source? I haven't any idea."

Presumably, since Lollitots is distributed solely by Parliament News in California and was available over the counter at a 14th and H Streets NW "adult" bookstore, some interstate transportation took place. But Wilens says, "You have to actually prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Parliament indeed shipped that particular edition of that magazine - packaged and delivered it to a carrier and in fact carried and delivered it to an address in a particular state." Records of such shipments are hard to find. "We can make a case from time to time," Wilens said, "but it takes a monumental effort, and resources are low."

In the California case, Parliament News' lawyer, Stanley Fleischman, of the Beverly Hills firm of Fleischman, Brown, Weston & Rhode, plans to argue that Lollitots is not obscene and therefore is covered by the First Amendment. "It is simple nudity, nothing more. For something to be obscene [in California, unlike the District] there has to be sexual activity."

The Supreme Court lists three requirements for finding material obscene: 1. Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest. 2.Whether the work depicts, or describes in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law. 3. Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.The test of "utterly without redeeming social value" is now rejected as a constitutional standard.

Thus, while "contemporary community standards" of California might find children in suggestive nude poses objectionable, Fleischman argues that the pictures do not show "sexual conduct." He reasons that, "if you can't get to that hard core definition of 'sexual conduct' then you cannot get to 'community standards.'"

The prosecuting attorney in the case, Richard Helgeson, admits that "in California, if you don't have actual sexual intercourse, it's very difficult." He feels there is a growing backlash against any use of children, however, and was encouraged that in a pre-trial motion the judge ruled that there was "probable cause for the case to go forward."

Parliament News Inc. is no stranger to pornography indictments. It is part of a conglomerate of printing, publishing and distributing firms operating out of southern California.

A man named Milton Luros was once described by a Los Angeles district attorney as "the biggest pornography publisher in Southern California and operator of a multi-million-dollar conglomerate." In a 1972 lawsuit, it was alleged that Luros operated companies under the names of American Art Enterprises (a publishing company), World News Inc., Seven Towers Inc., Academy Press, Socio Library, London Press, Oxford Bindery and (Lollitots') Parliament News Inc.

Although Paul Wisner is listed as president of Parliament, Luros is still active in the organization. Today, if you call Parliament News and ask to speak to Luros, the operator refers you to American Art Enterprises, the publishing house. The operator there informs you that "we go by several names." If you then ask Paul Wisner, she refers you back to Parliament News.

Helgeson said there is another seperate obscenity case pending against Parliament News. Asked if there were any convictions against Wisner, Fleischman replied, "Never one that stuck. The jury convicted and the trial judge dismissed."

Fleischman says American Art Enterprises is not Lollitots' publisher.

When told that the publisher listed on the masthead was a fake, Fleischman repeated that Parliament had nothing to do with the publisher. It was pointed out that any distributor has to pay some person or company supplying the printed material, who in turn knows the publisher. "What are you doing, hounding me?" he snapped.

Wisner, out on bail, said he did not know who published Lollitots. "It comes from overseas. It's published overseas." Reporter: "But the masthead states that it is published by Delta Publishing in Wilmington, Del." Wisner: "Yeah, that's who we deal with."

Reporter: "But that company does not and never did exist, according to Wilmington authorities." Wisner: "That's who we deal with." "But if it's nonexistent, how can you deal with them?" Wisner: "We deal with an agent." "In the United States?" Wisner: "Yes." "Then why do you say it is published overseas?" Wisner: "I'm not interested in any interpretation of that." He would not give the name of the agent.

Wisner was told that some people find the material in Lollitots objectionable, that they think the children are being sexually exploited and that they would like to find the publisher and photographers to prosecute them.

"That is not of any interest to me. I'm the distributor. If somebody's interested in that, that's their problem. That's not my problem." The California Connection

PORNO distributors would have you believe that all the films and magazines are made in Europe. Lloyd Martin, of the Los Angeles police department, says that "a lot does come from Europe. They get by customs by sending a 4,000-foot roll with the last 400 feet being the kids and sex. The rest is Walt Disney. The customs guy isn't going to go through it all."

But more and more child porn is being produced within the United States, most of it in California. The children used are sometimes runaways - the youngest case of male prostitution on record in Los Angeles was a 6-year-old runaway.

Many others are neglected children, often from broken homes, who can be induced to pose for $5 or a trip to Disneyland. "They're the kids," a Houston policeman said bitterly, "who come home and find themselves locked out because mom's inside with some man."

Sometimes the mothers provide the children. They may themselves be porno queens, they may be on drugs. Jackie Howell, the Los Angeles police investigator, points to a sad group of children she calls "locals" - sophisticated versions of Dickens' street children.

Sometimes the children involved are responding to affection, Howell says, and sometimes "it becomes a trade-off. They get to know that, if they ask for money, their 'friend' will give it to them."

"While some get into sado-masochistic situations," she added, "most often they are not beaten and they are well fed. It is really more a seduction than force."

Once involved, however, the children "feel a part of it," Howell said, "and believe they are as guilty as the adult, that no one would ever accept them again." Thus, she reported, they try to get contemporaries involved - "they don't feel so bad that way."

Howell rejects the idea that there is much harmless possing in the nude. "We have found that a child molester often is also the photographer. Photography is only a part of it, a sideline more often than not to prostitution, sexual abuse, drugs."

But trying to prove a charge of sexual abuse of a child or of contributing to delinquency is difficult, especially if the child chooses not to talk.

In 1974, for example, federal charges were filed in California against a magazine called Moppets. The mother of one of the child subjects testified and identified the publisher and photographer as a man named Edmund Leja.

The belong charge, as described by prosecutor Robert Heflin, was that "the publisher and the parents entered into a conspiracy to violate the misdemeanor stature of contributing to the delinquency of a minor." The prosecution lost the case. It could not prove to the court's satisfaction that taking nude photographs caused any physical or psychological harm or caused the children to lead a delinquent or disolute life.

"I could not get this in as evidence," Heflin says, "but just before the trial, a man was arrested in San Diego for molesting a young girl and they found this magazine in the apartment. In my opinion, that magazine was directed at the child molester - and the defense tried to compare it with a Louvre work of art."

Edmund Leja, a nudist and still a Studio City, Calif., photographer, complains repeatedly that he is misunderstood.

"Nudists believe there's nothing wrong with the human body," he says. "We don't believe you should hide the genitalia. Children will grow up with a better understanding of their bodies and genitals because of my magazine." The magazine is available only in "adult" bookstores.

Leja contends most of his readers are nudists. "Sure we get a few perverts. They're all over. Did I invent pedaphilia?" he asks, throwing up his hands. "Those people were there before I came on the market and they'll be there after I'm gone."

Leja argues that his magazine is no more graphic than "Show Me!," a picture book described as an "aid to sexual enlightenment" and sold in legitimate bookstores across the country. "Show Me!" contains photographs of masturbation and children fondling their genitals.

"Show Me!," produced in West Germany, has been praised by some educators and physicians, decried by others. It defeated three obscenity charges on the grounds that, as a whole, it was not lacking in serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. And those attacking such magazines as Lollitot and Moppets argue that the content and intent of those magazines are quite different from those of "Show Me!" Proliferation

RECENT YEARS have seen the surfacing of a number of pornography cases to which law enforcement officials point as evidence that the problem is growing geometrically:

In 1974 postal authorities in Texas arrested one Roy C. Ames and found four tons of magazines and films in a Houston warehouse. Ames was charged with recruiting children off the Houston streets and paying them $5 for posing for photos and $5 for sex acts. He was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment on federal charges of sending obscene material through the mails.

Ames had supplied 30 to 40 magazines around the country with pictures of children from age 8 to late teens involved in homosexual and heterosexual acts. Most of them were poor, and recruited their friends.

In 1975, a postal investigator purchased pictures of "Hard to Find Nymphets" advertised in a Hollywood underground newspaper. For $2 he received sample shots of "Sandy," aged 11, and a little doll." A set of 12 color photographs of her in a variety of "very interesting positions" cost $15. The pictures were mailed from California to Roswell, N.M. The photographers, Jacob James Dost and Thomas E. Kilfoyle, were convicted last summer of the federal crime of mailing obscene matter. The case is on appeal.

When police recently raided a Winchester, Tenn., boys farm for wayward teens, they found a pornographic cache of films and still photos. The farm's owner, the Rev. Claudius T. 'Bud' Vermilye Jr., and Episcopal priest, was charged with staging homosexual orgies, then photographing them and mailing the pictures to men around the country who contributed to the support of the farm. The boys have been returned to their homes and the case is pending trial.

Last week, William and Evelyn Stewart of Security, Colo., were arrested and charged with sexual assault on a child, child abuse and "obtaining compensation for placing a child." The couple allegedly sold their 12-year-old son, Boyd, for $5,000 for sexual purposes to Fred Earl Jordan, who police said took the boy to Los Angeles. The boy is now in protective custody of the Los Angeles police. The Costs

EXPERTS have widely varying views on whether child pornography acts as a release or a stimulus to child molesters. Research on whether pornography induces or reduces crime is, at best, tentative and inconclusive. Social scientists and psychologists, all with limited data, argue on both sides.

Law enforcement officials are hesitant to imply a casual link, but they invariably make such statements as "every time we get a child molester we find child sex exploitation magazines in his possession."

Others, such as educator and researcher William Simon, who provided research for the President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography (1971), challenge the view that such magazines are harmful. "I'm absolutely convinced they [the police] are distorting. It's overkill - the current King Kong of social senstaionalism is the sexually abused child while more important and valid child abuse is being ignored.

"I'm not convinced there is substantive damage to the child, even those posed in sex acts. First off, there just aren't that many involved. The same pictures are used over and over again, and it's a marginal enterprise. The numbers of children, real or mythical, are very small - too small to justify the hoopla that would once again convey to thousands that sex ought to be repressed and treated like dynamite."

Jackie Howell feels few educators or psychologists could support Simon's views if they saw the children she sees. "Very few just 'get their pictures taken.' The children experience overwhelming relief when we find them. They cry, thank us, call us, report when they are back in school."