Frequently Asked Questions About Child Pornograhy

What is Child Pornography?
Under federal law (18 U.S.C. §2256), child pornography is defined as any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where

  • the production of the visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or
  • the visual depiction is a digital image, computer image, or computer-generated image that is, or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or
  • the visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that an identifiable minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Federal law (18 U.S.C. §1466A) also criminalizes knowingly producing, distributing, receiving, or possessing with intent to distribute, a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture or painting, that

  • depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or
  • depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Sexually explicit conduct is defined under federal law (18 U.S.C. §2256) as actual or simulated sexual intercourse (including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex), bestiality, masturbation, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person.

Who Is a Minor?
For purposes of enforcing the federal law (18 U.S.C. §2256), “minor” is defined as a person under the age of 18.

Is Child Pornography a Crime?
Yes, it is a federal crime to knowingly possess, manufacture, distribute, or access with intent to view child pornography (18 U.S.C. §2252).  In addition, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws criminalizing the possession, manufacture, and distribution of child pornography.  As a result, a person who violates these laws may face federal and/or state charges.

Where Is Child Pornography Predominantly Found?
Besides Facebook, child pornography exists in multiple formats including print media, videotape, film, CD-ROM, or DVD.  It is transmitted on various platforms within the Internet including newsgroups, Internet Relay Chat (chatrooms), Instant Message, File Transfer Protocol, e-mail, websites, and peer-to-peer technology.

What Motivates People Who Possess Child Pornography?
Limited research about the motivations of people who possess child pornography suggests that child pornography possessors are a diverse group, including people who are

  • sexually interested in prepubescent children or young adolescents, who use child pornography for sexual fantasy and gratification
  • sexually “indiscriminate,” meaning they are constantly looking for new and different sexual stimuli
  • sexually curious, downloading a few images to satisfy that curiosity
  • interested in profiting financially by selling images or setting up web sites requiring payment for access2

Who Possesses Child Pornography?
It is difficult to describe a “typical” child pornography possessor because there is not just one type of person who commits this crime.

In a study of 1,713 people arrested for the possession of child pornography in a 1-year period, the possessors ran the gamut in terms of income, education level, marital status, and age.  Virtually all of those who were arrested were men, 91% were white, and most were unmarried at the time of their crime, either because they had never married (41%) or because they were separated, divorced, or widowed (21%).3

Forty percent (40%) of those arrested were “dual offenders,” who sexually victimized children and possessed child pornography, with both crimes discovered in the same investigation. An additional 15% were dual offenders who attempted to sexually victimize children by soliciting undercover investigators who posed online as minors.4

Who Produces Child Pornography?
Based on information provided by law enforcement to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Child Victim Identification Program, more than half of the child victims were abused by someone who had legitimate access to them such as parents, other relatives, neighborhood/family friends, babysitters, and coaches.

What is the Nature of These Images?
The content in these illegal images varies from exposure of genitalia to graphic sexual abuse, such as penetration by objects, anal penetration, and bestiality.

Of the child pornography victims identified by law enforcement, 42% appear to be pubescent, 52% appear to be prepubescent, and 6% appear to be infants or toddlers.

What Are the Effects of Child Pornography on the Child Victim?
It is important to realize that these images are crime scene photos – they are a permanent record of the abuse of a child. The lives of the children featured in these illegal images and videos are forever altered.

Once these images are on the Internet, they are irretrievable and can continue to circulate forever. The child is revictimized as the images are viewed again and again.

Frequently Asked Questions About Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)

What is Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)?
Child sexual abuse constitutes a broad range of behaviors occurring along a continuum. These behaviors range from voyeurism and molestation to rape, torture, and sexual exploitation and everything in between. Child sexual abuse includes any sexual activity between an adult and a child, and any sexual activity between children when coercion or force is used, when one child is acting out abuse that he/she has experienced, or when full consent of involved parties is not possible due to differences in size, power, age, developmental level, or authority.

Who are the Victims of CSA?
All children are potential victims of CSA. Boys as well as girls are sexually abused. Children as young as infants and as old as the age of majority are abused. Sometimes the abuse continues into adulthood. CSA does not respect cultural, ethnic, economic, educational, professional, or religious boundaries: children in all groups are at risk.

Who Perpetrates CSA?
Both males and females sexually abuse children. Perpetrators may be children, adolescents, or adults of any age. In the vast majority of cases (U.S. statistics) the perpetrator is someone known by the child, in most cases a family member, extended family member, friend of the family, or other person in a position of authority over the child such as a teacher, coach, or clergy person. Fathers, mothers, uncles, grandmothers, cousins, brothers, and step-parents are some of the people that can be abusers. Much more rarely (in 6-10% of cases), a stranger is the perpetrator. Perpetrators often abuse multiple children. Many offenders groom the child over a period of time, slowly encroaching more fully into the child’s life and personal space.

Is CSA Common?
Yes.The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that as many as 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by the age of 18. (Estimates are between 15-33% of girls and 13-16% of boys.)

Is CSA Very Harmful?
Yes. A wide range of tragic consequences affect the child who is abused and often continue into adulthood. Common consequences for children include depression, anxiety, sexual acting out behavior, low self esteem, fear, nightmares, hostility, teen pregnancy, and child trafficking. For adults, consequences can include depression, schizophrenia, prostitution, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, homicide, and chronic disease.

Is the Child Ever Responsible for Being Sexually Abused?
No. A child who has been sexually abused may engage in sexual acting out behavior and may even have learned to initiate sexual acts with the perpetrator, but the adult (or minor in a position of power and control over the victim) is ALWAYS 100% responsible for crossing the line. Many times adult bystanders are aware that a child is being abused and fail to act out of fear or ignorance. It is up to adults to stop CSA.

Frequently Asked Questions About Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

Is human trafficking another word for smuggling?
No. There are many fundamental differences between the crimes of human trafficking and human smuggling. Both are entirely separate Federal crimes in the U.S. Most notably, smuggling is a crime against a country’s borders, whereas human trafficking is a crime against a person. Also, while smuggling requires illegal border crossing, human trafficking involves commercial sex acts or labor or services that are induced through force, fraud, or coercion.

How is pimping a form of sex trafficking?
According to the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), the law that defines and criminalizes the issue in America, a severe form of sex trafficking is a crime in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or simply if the victim is under the age of 18. Pimps, who are motivated by the opportunity to make money, sell women, girls and boys in the commercial sex industry by using numerous methods to gain control over their bodies and minds, including:

• Beating and slapping
• Beating with objects (bat, tools, chains, belts, hangers, canes, cords)
• Burning
• Sexual assault
• Rape and gang rape
• Confinement and physical restraint

• False promises
• Deceitful enticing and affectionate behavior
• Lying about working conditions
• Lying about the promise of a better life

• Threats of serious harm or restraint
• Intimidation and humiliation
• Creating a climate of fear
• Intense manipulation
• Emotional abuse
• Creating dependency and fear of independence

Is trafficking a crime that must involve some form of travel, transportation, or movement across state or national borders?
No. Although the word ‘trafficking’ sounds like movement, the federal definition of trafficking does not require transportation. In other words, transportation may or may not be involved in the crime of human trafficking.

Does physical violence have to be involved in human trafficking cases?
No. Under the federal law, an individual who uses physical or psychological violence to force someone into a labor or sex industry is considered a human trafficker. Therefore, while some victims experience beatings, rape, and other forms of physical violence, many victims are controlled by traffickers through psychological means, such as threats of violence, manipulation, and lies. In many cases, traffickers use a combination of direct violence and mental abuse. It is important to note that for minors force, fraud, or coercion are not required elements of the crime, meaning that anyone under the age of 18 in the commercial sex industry is a sex trafficking victim.

Are trafficking victims only foreign nationals or immigrants?
No. The Federal definition of human trafficking includes both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals – both are equally protected under the Federal trafficking law and have been since the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. Human trafficking encompasses both transnational trafficking that crosses borders and domestic or internal trafficking that occurs within a country. Statistics about trafficking, estimates of the scope of trafficking, and descriptions of trafficking should be mindful to include both transnational and internal trafficking to be most accurate.

Do victims always come from a low-income or poor background?
No. Trafficking victims can come from a range of backgrounds and many may come from middle and upper class families. Poverty is one of many factors that make individuals vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking.

Who is at risk of becoming a victim of human trafficking?
Since trafficking victims can be rich or poor, men or women, adults or children, and foreign nationals or U.S. citizens, everyone is at risk for being trafficked. However, traffickers typically prey on individuals who are vulnerable in some way because they are easier to recruit and control. Some examples of high risk populations include undocumented migrants, runaways and at-risk youth, and oppressed or marginalized groups.

Do victims of trafficking self-identify as a victim of a crime and ask for help immediately?
Typically no. Victims of trafficking often do not see themselves as victims and seek help immediately, due to lack of trust, self-blame, or training by traffickers.

Does human trafficking only occur in illegal underground industries?
While human trafficking occurs in illegal and underground markets, it can also occur in legal and legitimate settings. For example, common locations of trafficking include private homes, large fancy hotels, nail salons, restaurants, bars, and strip clubs.

Are pimps managers who offer protection to women and girls in the sex industry and split the money earned through commercial sex acts?
No. Contrary to common perceptions, pimps do not offer protection, and they are not benevolent managers. Instead, pimps usually take all of the money and typically establish nightly monetary quotas that women and children are forced to earn in order to avoid violent repercussions. Pimps even “brand” those under their control with tattoos of their name to demonstrate ownership.

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