Child Pornography: Model Legislation & Global Review
Press Conference Marking the Release of Child Pornography: Model Legislation & Global Review
Washington, D.C. (April 2006)
Baron Daniel Cardon de Lichtbuer,Former ICMEC Chairman
Developing and championing model legislation with regards to child pornography is crucial to a successful outcome in the fight against child pornography. Consequently, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) conducted research into the child pornography legislation currently in place in the 196 countries around the world.
In particular, we were looking to see if national legislation:
- Exists with specific regard to child pornography, and not just pornography in general;
- Provides a definition of child pornography;
- Expressly criminalizes computer-facilitated offenses;
- Criminalizes possession of child pornography, regardless of the intent to distribute; and
- Requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to report suspected child pornography to law enforcement or to some other mandated agency.
The 1st edition, published in 2006, returned shocking results:
- only 27 had legislation sufficient to combat child pornography offenses (5 countries met all of the criteria set forth above and 22 countries met all but the last criteria, pertaining to ISP reporting); and
- 95 Countries had no legislation at all that specifically addresses child pornography.
The 6th edition, published in late 2010, revealed progress. Of the 196 countries reviewed:
- 45 Countries had legislation sufficient to combat child pornography offenses (8 countries met all of the criteria set forth above and 37 countries met all but the last criteria, pertaining to ISP reporting); and
- 89 Countries still had no legislation at all that specifically addresses child pornography.
Forward movement continues to be visible in this edition, though much remains to be done. Our updated research shows that of the 196 countries reviewed:
- 69 Countries have legislation sufficient to combat child pornography offenses (11 countries met all of the criteria set forth above and 58 countries meet all but the last criteria, pertaining to ISP reporting); and
- 53 Countries still have no legislation at all that specifically addresses child pornography.
Of the remaining 74 countries that do have legislation specifically addressing child pornography:
- 60 do not define child pornography in national legislation;
- 21 do not provide for computer-facilitated offenses; and
- 47 do not criminalize the knowing possession of child pornography, regardless of the intent to distribute.
ICMEC's groundbreaking report, Child Pornography: Model Legislation & Global Review, was first released in April 2006 and is now in its 7th Edition. In addition to the legislative review, the report offers a "menu of concepts" to be considered when drafting anti-child pornography legislation. Topics addressed include:
- Defining "child" for the purposes of child pornography as anyone under the age of 18, regardless of the age of sexual consent;
- Defining "child pornography," and ensuring that the definition includes computer- and Internet-specific terminology;
- Creating offenses specific to child pornography in the national penal code, including criminalizing the possession of child pornography, regardless of one's intent to distribute, and including provisions specific to downloading or viewing images on the Internet;
- Ensuring criminal penalties for parents or legal guardians who acquiesce to their child's participation in child pornography;
- Penalizing those who make known to others where to find child pornography;
- Including grooming provisions;
- Punishing attempt crimes;
- Establishing mandatory-reporting requirements for healthcare and social-service professionals, teachers, law-enforcement officers, photo developers, information-technology (IT) professionals, ISPs, credit-card companies, and banks;
- Creating data retention and preservation policies/provision;
- Addressing the criminal liability of children involved in pornography; and
- Enhancing penalties for repeat offenders, organized-crime participants, and other aggravated factors considered upon sentencing.
The 7th Edition is currently available Arabic, English, Russian, Spanish
The 6th Edition is currently available in French, Korean, Portuguese and Thai
In 2009, ICMEC worked closely with the Child Online Protection initiative of the International Telecommunication Union to draft global Guidelines for Policy Makers on Child Online Protection.
In late 2010, ICMEC collaborated with the Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety to draft a Joint Report on Online Child Protection: Combatting Child Pornography on the Internet, which addresses the impact of the Internet on the production and distribution of child pornography. The Joint Report, which was presented at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Vilnius, Lithuania, offers a number of law and policy tools for consideration by Commonwealth Member States designed to make the Internet safer for children. The 6th Edition of the Child Pornography Model Legislation was included in the initial report. We are in discussion now to update the Joint Report and to include the 7th Edition of the Model Legislation. ICMEC's updated findings were again presented at the 2012 IGF in Baku, Azerbaijan in November 2012.