Child pornography refers to pornographic material depicting children. It is described as a form of child sexual abuse. The Internet has made the production and usage of child pornography easier, and is a target of legislation and law enforcement efforts.
While the mere viewing or use of child pornography has been characterized as a victimless crime, the production of it involves the abuse and exploitation of children, except when it is produced with simulated or computer generated images, a form which is still illegal in the United States but has been repeatedly challenged in court.
The internet has radically changed how child pornography is produced and disseminated, and resulted in a massive increase in the production and use of child pornography. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, "By the mid-1980's, the trafficking of child pornography within the United States had been almost completely eradicated through a series of successful campaigns waged by law enforcement. Child pornographers had become lonely and hunted individuals. Producing child abuse images was both difficult and expensive, and reproducing images was equally difficult and expensive. Purchasing and trading such images was extremely risky. Anonymous distribution and receipt was not possible and it was difficult for pedophiles to find and interact with each other. Unfortunately, technology has changed the situation. Producing child abuse images has now become easy and inexpensive. The Internet allows images and digitized movies to be reproduced and disseminated to tens of thousands of individuals at the click of a button. The distribution and receipt of such images can be done almost anonymously. As a result, child pornography is readily available through virtually every Internet technology (web sites, email, instant messaging/ICQ, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), newsgroups/bulletin boards, and peer-to-peer). The technological ease, lack of expense, and anonymity in obtaining and distributing child pornography has resulted in an explosion in the availability, accessibility, and volume of child pornography." The production of child pornography has become very profitable and is no longer limited to pedophiles.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ("UNCRC"), which has been ratified by an overwhelming majority of the nations of the world, identifies child pornography as a violation against children and requires that nations who are parties to the convention take measures to prevent the exploitative use of children in pornographic materials. Where child pornography involves depictions of children engaging in sexual conduct, the production of this material is prohibited legally in UN member countries.
Children of all ages, including infants, are used to produce pornography internationally. Estimates of the number of children worldwide involved in child pornography range from thousands to hundreds of thousands. "While impossible to obtain accurate data, a perusal of the child pornography readily available on the international market indicates that a significant number of children are being sexually exploited through this medium."
A 2007 study of prison inmates convicted of child pornography possession found that 85% had also committed acts of sexual abuse against minors, but only 26% had convictions for child molesting. The doctors who conducted the study concluded in their paper that "many internet child pornography offenders may be undetected child molesters."
The United Kingdom Children's charity NCH stated that "the 1,500% rise in child pornography cases since 1988 would be reflected in more children being abused to produce the pictures."
A 2008 review of the use of Internet communication to lure children outlines the controversy and possible links to actual behaviour regarding the effects of Internet child pornography. One perspective is that exposure to child pornography stimulates and provokes criminal sexual intent that otherwise would not exist. Exposure to child pornography might heighten desire and motivation to act on urges by decreasing internal restraints. Anonymity (or belief that anonymity exists) may further loosen the internal restraints, such that the individual "practices" molestation in the imagination, facilitated by still or moving images, which makes actual criminal sexual behaviour with children more probable if the person was already sexually motivated toward children, or, by creating new sexual interests in children . The review article states that these are plausible hypotheses, but that there is a lack of clarity as to the general applicability of these mechanisms. There is not any current data that use of child pornography on the Internet either decreases or increases the incidence of actual offending: they note that similar theories have been developed in the past about pornography in general.
Whether artificially created erotic or pornographic material (e.g. lolicon, some pornographic d?jinshi, etc.) constitutes "child abuse" is disputed, as no actual children are necessarily involved in the production. The purported link between use of child pornography and child abuse has been used to justify the prohibition of sexual depictions of children, whether their production involves child abuse or not. This link is itself disputed: "Considerable controversy exists within the social and behavioral science community about the negative effects, if any, of child pornography upon the behavior of potential or actual offenders. ... Many researchers have come to the conclusion that there is no sound scientific basis for concluding that exposure to child pornography increases the likelihood of sexual abuse of children. Others have suggested that there is a consistent correlation between the use of pornography and sexual aggression." Sex therapist Petr Weiss and Canadian Justice Jeff Shaw, for instance, argued that child pornography use may decrease cases of child sexual abuse by allowing pedophiles to sublimate their desires. According to the New York Times, "At least some men convicted of sexual abuse say that child pornography from the Internet fueled their urges. In a recent interview, one convicted pedophile serving a 14-year sentence in a Canadian federal prison said that looking at images online certainly gave him no release from his desires - exactly the opposite: 'Because there is no way I can look at a picture of a child on a video screen and not get turned on by that and want to do something about it.' he said."
Canadian law forbids the production, distribution, and possession of child pornography. Prohibition covers the visual representations of sexual activity by minors (although prosecutions in cases where all involved are over 14 are rare) and the depiction of their sexual organ/anal region for a sexual purpose, unless an artistic, educational, scientific, or medical justification can be provided. It also includes the written depictions of children engaging in sexual activity.
Law that addresses dynamic aspects of the Internet by regulating the nature of live-time chatting and email communications that may relate to enticing children for pornographic (e.g., web cam) or other sexual purposes has passed in 2002. It also criminalizes the intentional access of child pornography.
On September 15, 2007, the Children and Youth Secretariat of the Anti-Child Pornography Alliance (ACPA-Pilipinas) in the Philippines launched Batingaw Network "to protect and save children from all forms of abuses and exploitations." It is the largest anti-child pornography movement in the Philippines to date. It declared September 28 as the "National Day of Awareness and Unity against Child Pornography.
This article is based on "Child pornography" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Child+pornography&action=history