Child Pornography
By Khan Bilal Khan

July 16, 2009

Child pornography refers to images or films depicting sexually explicit activities involving a child; as such, child pornography is a visual record of child sexual abuse. Abuse of the child occurs during the sexual acts which are photographed in the production of child pornography. Child pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry and among the fastest growing criminal segments on the Internet, according to the USA The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

New technology such as inexpensive digital cameras and Internet distribution has made it easier than ever before to produce and distribute child pornography. The producers of child pornography try to avoid prosecution by distributing their material across national borders, though this issue is increasingly being addressed with regular arrests of suspects from a number of countries occurring over the last few years.

The United States Department of Justice estimates that pornographers have recorded the abuse of more than one million children in the United States alone. The United Kingdom Children's charity NCH have stated that demand for child pornography on the internet has led to an increase in sex abuse cases, due to an increase in the number of children abused in the production process. In a study analyzing men arrested for child pornography possession in the United States over a one year period from 2000 to 2001, most had pornographic images of prepubescent children (83%) and images graphically depicting sexual penetration (80%). Approximately 1 in 5 (21%) had images depicting violence such as bondage, rape, or torture and most of those involved images of children who were gagged, bound, blindfolded, or otherwise enduring sadistic sex. More than 1 in 3 (39%) had child-pornography videos with motion and sound. 79% also had what might be termed soft-core images of nude or semi-nude children, but only 1% possessed such images alone. Law enforcement found about half (48%) had more than 100 graphic still images, and 14% had 1,000 or more graphic images. Forty percent (40%) were "dual offenders," who sexually victimized children and possessed child pornography.

The Internet has radically changed how child pornography is reproduced and disseminated, and, according to the United States Department of Justice, resulted in a massive increase in the "availability, accessibility, and volume of child pornography."[42] The production of child pornography has become very profitable and is no longer limited to pedophiles. Digital cameras and Internet distribution facilitated by the use of credit cards and the ease of transferring images across national borders has made it easier than ever before for users of child pornography to obtain the photographs and videos. The NCMEC estimated in 2003 that 20% of all pornography traded over the Internet was child pornography, and that since 1997 the number of child pornography images available on the Internet had increased by 1500%.

Shouting parents pounded on and hurled bottles at a van carrying a British daycare teacher charged with distributing child porn, reports the Guardian. Photos found in Vanessa George's home showed children as young as infants being sexually assaulted, according to law enforcement authorities. Parents lined up for hours to confront the teacher at a court appearance. They shouted as the van later rushed her from the courthouse, and then ran down the street to attack the vehicle. Two men were arrested in the attack.

Inside the courtroom, parents sobbed as they heard details of the charges against George, 39. Police are still attempting to identify the children in the photos, but believe many were taken at the nursery school were George worked. George's family is under police protection. "Myself, my two children and family have been shocked by the information and events of the past three days," George's husband said in a statement.

One of the primary mandates of the international policing organization Interpol is the prevention of crimes against children involving the crossing of international borders, including child pornography and all other forms of exploitation and trafficking of children.[59][60]

The USA Department of Justice coordinates programs to track and prosecute child pornography offenders across all jurisdictions, from local police departments to federal investigations, and international cooperation with other governments. Efforts by the Department to combat child pornography includes the National Child Victim Identification Program, the world's largest database of child pornography, maintained by the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the United States Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) for the purpose of identifying victims of child abuse.[61][62] Police agencies have deployed trained staff to track child pornography files and the computers used to share them as they are distributed on the Internet, and they freely share identifying information for the computers and users internationally.

When child pornography is distributed across international borders, customs agencies also participate in investigations and enforcement, such as in the 2001-2002 cooperative effort between the United States Customs Service and local operational law enforcement agencies in Russia. A search warrant issued in the USA by the Customs Service resulted in seizing of computers and email records by the Russian authorities, and arrests of the pornographers.

In spite of international cooperation, less than 1 percent of children who appear in child pornography are located by law enforcement each year, according to Interpol statistics.

Google announced in 2008 that it is working with NCMEC to help automate and streamline how child protection workers sift through millions of pornographic images to identify victims of abuse. Google has developed video fingerprinting technology and software to automate the review of some 13 million pornographic images and videos that analysts at the center previously had to review manually.

Child protection experts have called for greater efforts to patrol child abuse websites after a study revealed that it takes a month on average to take them down from the internet.

Research conducted by computer security experts at the University of Cambridge found the average time it takes for illegal websites to be blocked varied wildly, with child abuse images often staying online for many weeks.

Source: wiki/Child_pornography

Back to Article List