Online Child Pornography Legislation
In 2001, ECPAT International estimated the number of child pornography websites at 100,000 1. Ten years later, that figure does not account for the increased number of Internet users and online trading of illegal images through peer to peer networks, email, text messages, streaming video, and other means.
It is difficult to know the full extent of the online child pornography issue; however, in 2007, the State of the World’s Children Report estimated that at least 1.8 million children were involved in commercial sex work 2. The Internet can indefinitely extend the abuse through the circulation of virtually irretrievable images and video.
Because connected technology is the lifeblood of the child pornography industry, legislation must specifically address the electronic proliferation and storage of illegal images. The global market for these materials demands the cooperation of individual nations. Specific, consistent laws will greatly facilitate identifying and prosecuting offenders. And, as policy makers are careful and vigilant in drafting these laws, they will be protecting and safeguarding children all over the world.
According to ICMEC, child pornography legislation should:
- Exist with specific regard to child pornography.
- Provide a definition of child pornography.
- Criminalize computer-facilitated offenses.
- Criminalize possession of child pornography, regardless of the intent to distribute.
- Require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to report suspected child pornography to law enforcement or to some other mandated agency. 3
iKeepSafe encourages parents everywhere to be aware of the realities of child pornography and what they can to encourage effective legislation.
1ICMEC (April 2006). New Study Reveals Child Pornography Not a Crime in Most Countries. Retrieved from http://www.icmec.org/missingkids/servlet/NewsEventServlet?LanguageCountry=en_X1&PageId=2338
2Unicef (2007). State of the World’s Children 2007: Women and Children. Retrieved from http://www.unicef.org/sowc07/report/report.php
3ICMEC (2008). Child Pornography: Model Legislation and Global Review. Retrieved from http://www.icmec.org/en_X1/icmec_publications/English__6th_Edition_FINAL_.pdf