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Illegal Child Pornography Becoming One of the Fastest Growing Internet Businesses - National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is Working With Law Enforcement to Combat This Crime
[August 18, 2005]

Illegal Child Pornography Becoming One of the Fastest Growing Internet Businesses - National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is Working With Law Enforcement to Combat This Crime


ALEXANDRIA, Va. --(Business Wire)-- Aug. 18, 2005 -- According to experts, child pornography has become a multi-billion dollar commercial enterprise, and is among the fastest growing businesses on the Internet.(1) The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), a nonprofit dedicated to the welfare of children, is working with law enforcement and others to combat the production, distribution and possession of child pornography. Through the use of digital and web cameras, child pornography has become easier and less expensive to produce. Distribution on the Internet has facilitated instant access by thousands and possibly millions of individuals throughout the world. The ability to use credit cards to purchase child pornography has made it easier than ever to obtain.



Arrests in the United States for the possession of child pornography, during a one-year period from 2000 to 2001, produced alarming results. According to investigators, the majority of those arrested had images of children who had not yet reached puberty. Specifically, 83% had pornographic material that involved children between ages 6 and 12; 39% had material involving children between ages 3 and 5; and 19% had images of infants or toddlers under age 3. (2)

"The ease and anonymity of using home computers has revolutionized accessibility as well as the production and distribution of child pornography, especially across international borders," said Ernie Allen, President and CEO, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). "The fact that child pornography can be purchased using a credit card, or traded at no cost on the Internet, is causing an exploding global problem and an immeasurable impact on the sexual exploitation of children."


The exact number of web sites is difficult to determine. A 2002 report by ECPAT International and the Bangkok Post, estimated that 100,000 child pornography web sites existed on the Internet in 2001. Since 1997, the number of child pornography images on the Internet is estimated to have increased by 1500%.(3) NCMEC's congressionally mandated CyberTipline received 21,603 reports of child pornography in 2001, and in 2004 it received 106,176 reports - a 491% increase over a four-year period.

Child pornography is illegal. The possession and/or distribution of child pornography is a federal crime. It is estimated that 20% of all pornography on the Internet involves children.(4) "Traditionally, we have viewed pedophiles as the users and distributors of child pornography," said Allen. "However, we are shocked to learn that the consumer market for child pornography is growing and becoming much broader.(5) Younger and younger children are being victimized, and the content is becoming more graphic and more violent."(6)

Child pornography is defined as the visual image of infants, toddlers, and children under age 18, in sexual poses or in explicit sexual activity. These are not adults dressed up as children. Many images depict violence such as bondage, rape, or torture.(7) Although most pornographic images are of girls, the number of boys is increasing.(8)

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Established in 1984, NCMEC works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to provide services for families and law enforcement.

NCMEC's website, www.missingkids.com reaches a global audience with a multi- lingual database of images and information on missing children, prevention tips, and free resources. NCMEC also operates a 24-hour nationwide hotline 1-800-THE-LOST, and a 24-hour tipline, www.cybertipline.com. Since 1998, the CyberTipline has received more than 340,000 reports of child exploitation (including 310,000 reports of child pornography).

(1) Source: Top Ten Reviews (TM) "Internet Filter Review" an online resource that reviews Internet Safety. (Reported that CP generates $3 billion annually)

(2) Source: "Child Pornography Possessors Arrested in Internet-Related Crimes: Findings from the National Juvenile Online Victimization Study" (Alexandria, Virginia: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 2005) page 4.

(3) Source: Internet Watch Foundation, United Kingdom

(4) Source: "Internet Sex Crimes Against Minors: The Response of Law Enforcement, November 2003. (Alexandria, Virginia: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, November 2003) page 3.

(5) Source: "Child Pornography Possessors Arrested in Internet-Related Crimes: Findings from the National Juvenile Online Victimization Study, 2005", page x.

(6) Source: "Child Pornography Possessors Arrested in Internet-Related Crimes: Findings from the National Juvenile Online Victimization Study, 2005", page 4.

(7) Source: "Child Pornography Possessors Arrested in Internet-Related Crimes: Findings from the National Juvenile Online Victimization Study, 2005", page 5.

(8) Source: "Child Pornography Possessors Arrested in Internet-Related Crimes: Findings from the National Juvenile Online Victimization Study, 2005", page 5

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