Blog

Child porn is child abuse

“Unfortunately, we’ve also seen a historic rise in the distribution of child pornography, in the number of images being shared online and in the level of violence associated with child exploitation and sexual abuse crimes. Tragically, the only place we’ve seen a decrease is in the age of victims. This is – quite simply – unacceptable.”
— Then Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., at the National Strategy Conference on Combating Child Exploitation in San Jose, Calif., May 19, 2011.

Stop_Child_Pornography-719627

Sadly, little has changed since Holder uttered those comments back in 2011. In fact, things have worsened.

Availability and distribution of child pornography exploded with the Internet and digital technology. Individuals can easily create, access and share child sexual abuse images worldwide with the click of a button.  Video and images are readily available through every Internet technology, including websites, email, instant messaging, Internet Relay Chat, newsgroups, bulletin boards, peer-to-peer networks, even social networking sites.

Child pornography offenders can connect on Internet forums and networks to share their interests, desires, and experiences abusing children in addition to selling, sharing and trading images.

Enforcement has stepped up, too. Attorneys general, local and state law enforcement, even federal officials are conducting investigations with unprecedented resources and making arrests at unprecedented levels, but the scourge remains.

Consider events in Louisville over the last month. A Louisville man charged with possession and transmission of child pornography. A Louisville high school teacher charged with child exploitation and possession of child pornography. Another Louisville man arrested on charges related to possession and distribution of matter portraying a sex performance by a minor. Children in this case were single-digit aged.

We’re all aghast. We’re all enraged. But the violations continue. Children continue to be hurt and the impact on these victims – and they are victims of abuse and exploitation – are significant and long lasting. Children who have been photographed or videotaped are even less likely to report their abuse than children who were abused but not photographed.

And research shows that children who were abused and photographed or videotaped experience higher levels of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem when compared to children who were sexually abused and not photographed. Research shows that the prevalence of child porn is creating another concern – it’s normalizing the sexual exploitation of children.

Concerned parents and citizens have a critical role in protecting children from these crimes. Resources are readily available from the National District Attorneys Association, and Innocence Justice Foundation. Information is available from The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which operates a Cyber Tipline for reporting crimes against children.

Companies have joined the movement as well. Google and Microsoft stopped online searches for child abuse images. Instagram, Reddit, Tumblr, Flickr and others are taking steps to block and report illegal images and posts. In some cases, searches trigger alerts to the companies, which can be shared with law enforcement.

This kind of child predation must be stopped. Because of the Internet, the lengths offenders go to protect themselves and their networks and other issues, it won’t be easy. But it’s necessary and we all have a role to play. See it? Suspect it? Report it to the Cyber Tipline: 800-843-5678.

Leave a Comment

Name*

Email* (never published)

Website