Child pornography

pornography that exploits children

Child pornography is pornography that exploits children.[1] It is against the law in many countries.[2] Child pornography is made by taking pictures or videos,[1] or more rarely[3] sound recordings,[4] of children who are wearing less clothing than usual, wearing no clothing, or being raped. It can also be made using illustrations of children. Child pornography is sometimes called "child sexual abuse images" because it is images (pictures) of a child who is being sexually abused.[1] Child pornography can be made by setting up a camera or other recording device and molesting a child.

Child pornography can also be drawn,[5] written,[6][7][8] or created by a computer.[9] In that case, it is called "simulated child pornography",[10] "virtual child pornography",[11] "non-photographic child pornography", or "pseudo-photographic child pornography":[12] the child in the pornography is simulated, virtual, or drawn, meaning the child is not real.[10][11][13]

There are several possible reasons for a person to look at child pornography. The most common is that the viewer is a pedophile, hebephile, or ephebophile who finds minors sexually attractive and uses pornography featuring minors to induce arousal.[14] Viewers may be curious about the subject.[15] Or a person who plans to commit statutory rape may plan to show the pornography to a minor as a form of grooming to convince the minor that minors having sex with adults is normal.[16] Mexico is the largest distributor of child pornography in the world.[17]

Laws about child pornography


Between 2016 and 2018, many countries made their child pornography laws more similar, which let police from different countries work together more easily. In particular, the word "child" in the new child pornography laws is used as a synonym for legal minors under the age of 18.[2] This can be confusing because "child" usually means a person who has not yet reached puberty. However, in 2007, the United States already had laws forbidding pornography with models under 18, and most people who were arrested for owning child pornography around that time had images of children who have not started puberty.[18]

Some countries consider virtual or non-photographic child pornography which depict children who are not real to be a type of child porn that is illegal, whereas other countries do not consider this type of child porn illegal. Making this type of child porn illegal has been controversial. This is due to multiple reasons: due to the opinion that it is pointless to protect children who are not real,[19] the opinion that such laws remove people of their rights,[20] a fear that these laws can cover harmless material,[21] and the fear that it is possible to exploit such laws to charge harmless individuals with heavily disproportionate charges.[22] Another criticism that is often given to the illegal nature of pornographic depiction of fictional children is the assertion that removing a potential a pedophile's ability to access an alternative to the "real thing" will encourage them abuse real children. Research on whether this is true or not has produced mixed results.[23][24]

In England due to a 2009 act, basically all non-photographic child pornography is illegal, even if it is something unrealistic, such as an anime drawing. However, charges for unrealistic non-photographic child porn possession or creation which do not involve real children tend to get dismissed by judges at trials and are not treated overly seriously.[25]

The Internet is a common place for people to share child pornography, especially on the dark web.[26][27] When police officers find child pornography on the Internet, it is difficult for them to track down the molester and the other people who have looked at the recording.[26]

Abuse and harm caused to the child


Child molestation is when an adult touches a child in the genital area (between the legs), buttocks, or breasts, or a child is made to touch an adult in those areas. An adult touching any part of a child's body is also sometimes called molestation. Molestation is very harmful to children and can traumatize them for years or for the rest of their lives.[28] An adult recording an instance of molestation as child pornography also harms the child. This harm from the recording is added to the harm from the molestation itself. Knowing that the molestation was recorded can slow down the child's healing from the abuse. The adult who has the recording can sell the recording, or threaten to share it with other adults to scare the child in the recording and make them obey the adult.[29][30]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Sanderson, Christiane (2004). The seduction of children: empowering parents and teachers to protect children from child sexual abuse (1st American ed.). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 1-84310-248-X. OCLC 567962554.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Child Sexual Abuse Material: Model Legislation & Global Review". 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  3. Gillespie, Alisdair A. (2012). Child Pornography: Law and Policy. Routledge. pp. 21-22.
  4. Yaman., Akdeniz (2008). Internet child pornography and the law: national and international responses. Burlington, VT: Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-2297-0. OCLC 560604650.
  5. "163.1 Definition of "Child Pornography"". Archived from the original on 2018-12-25. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  6. "Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition". Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  7. "Sharpe sentenced in B.C. child pornography case". CBC News. May 2002. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  8. "Ohio Appeals Court Overturns First-Ever Conviction for Writings in Private Diary". American Civil Liberties Union. 17 July 2003. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  9. "18 U.S. Code § 2252A – Certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child pornography". LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Battle over simulated child porn". CNET. 8 August 1997. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Al-Alosi, Hadeel (5 September 2017). "Virtual child pornography could both help and hinder law enforcement". The Conversation. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  12. "Indecent and Prohibited Images of Children | The Crown Prosecution Service". Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  13. Al-Alosi, Hadeel (2018). The Criminalisation of Fantasy Material: Law and Sexually Explicit Representations of Fictional Children. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-57281-2.
  14. Lanning, Kenneth V. (2001). "Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis 4th ed". National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
  15. U.S. Sentencing Commission (2012). "Child Pornography Offender Behavior". Report to the Congress: Federal Child Pornography Offenses (PDF).
  16. R., Levesque, Roger J. (1999). Sexual abuse of children: a human rights perspective. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-33471-3. OCLC 40255970.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. "Mexico is World Leader in Child Pornography: Officials". 27 March 2017.
  18. Wells, Melissa; Finkelhor, David; Wolak, Janis; Mitchell, Kimberly J. (2007-07-01). "Defining Child Pornography: Law Enforcement Dilemmas in Investigations of Internet Child Pornography Possession". Police Practice and Research. 8 (3): 269–282. doi:10.1080/15614260701450765. ISSN 1561-4263. S2CID 10876828.
  19. Nair, Abhilash. "When a drawing or cartoon image can land you in jail". The Conversation. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  20. "Act's prohibition on simulated child porn is unconstitutional". The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  21. "Graphic artists condemn plans to ban erotic comics". The Independent. 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  22. "Trans woman freed after being sentenced on 'bogus' child porn charges". Sky News. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  23. Goldblatt, Brian. "Virtual Child Pornography: The Children Aren't Real, But the Dangers Are; Why the Ashcroft Court Got it Wrong".
  24. Natasha (2016-04-15). "Is Virtual Child Pornography A Safe Alternative?". Researching Reform. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  25. Finnegan, Stephanie (2018-10-03). "Paedophile avoids jail after making animated child porn on video game". leedslive. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Lewis, Angela (2005). Law Enforcement Efforts Against Child Pornography Are Ineffective. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.
  27. "Child Porn among Fastest Growing Internet Businesses". National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, US. 2005-08-05. Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
  28. Widom, C. S. (August 1999). "Posttraumatic stress disorder in abused and neglected children grown up". The American Journal of Psychiatry. 156 (8): 1223–1229. doi:10.1176/ajp.156.8.1223. ISSN 0002-953X. PMID 10450264. S2CID 7339542.
  29. Sheldon, Kerry; Howitt, Dennis (2007). Sex offenders and the Internet. Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-02800-1. OCLC 124960029.
  30. Richard Wortley, Stephen Smallbone. "Child Pornography on the Internet". Problem-Oriented Guides for Police. No. 41: 14–16. {{cite journal}}: |volume= has extra text (help)

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