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Global Campaign Against Child Pornography

The Global Campaign Against Child Pornography of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) is made up of the following programs:

Launch of the Global Campaign Against Child Pornography
Washington, D.C. (April 2004)
L-R: Ernie Allen, ICMEC President and CEO; Sheila Johnson, Former ICMEC Board Member; Nancy Anderson, Microsoft Deputy General Counsel; Maria Cantwell, U.S. Senator; Ron Noble, INTERPOL Secretary-General

Child pornography has become a global crisis. It is a lucrative worldwide industry, fueled by the Internet. Its victims are becoming younger. According to data from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), 19% of identified offenders had images of children younger than 3; 39% had images of children younger than 6; and 82% had images of children younger than 12. There is also strong evidence of involvement by organized crime and extremist groups. Children have become a commodity in this insidious crime. While there is no empirical research on the scope of the problem, there are estimates.

  • A 2002 report by ECPAT International and the Bangkok Post estimated that 100,000 child pornography websites existed on the Internet in 2001.
  • According to the Internet Watch Foundation in the United Kingdom, there has been a 1500% increase in the number of child pornography images since 1997.
  • In 2003, the National Criminal Intelligence Service in the United Kingdom estimated that child pornography websites had doubled worldwide; that half of the sites are hosted in the United States; and that the number of sites in Russia had doubled.
  • NCMEC reports that most child pornography consumers and child victims are Americans; however, the financial transactions are increasingly moving offshore.
  • U.S. and international law enforcement are now attacking the problem of child pornography. More cases are being made and more perpetrators brought to justice. Yet, law enforcement cannot arrest and prosecute every offender. We must do far more at the policy level. We must strangle the flow of money supporting this illegal, insidious enterprise.

ICMEC recognizes that - given given the extent of the problem of child sexual exploitation - it is impossible to address and control it through arrest and prosecution alone. More must be done to disrupt the availability of child pornography on the Internet, and industry has an important role to play in the flight to keep children safer. While the ultimate goal is to be able to interdict specific images to prevent their redistribution, it is clear that there is no easy, single-pronged solution to this problem, and it will take a concerted effort by governments, law enforcement, industry, and civil society to ensure that children are better protected. At the October 2010 Annual Meeting of the ICMEC Board of Directors, the Board adopted a resolution recognizing the need for a comprehensive approach. The resolution is available in English, French, German, and Spanish.

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