Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Internet: Child Exploitation Flourishes in a World Without Borders

UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS - The figures are devastating. At any one time on the Internet it is estimated there are around three quarters of a million predators searching for sites featuring child pornography. The UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Najat Maalla M’jid (at left) in a report to the latest session of the Human Rights Council says, “there is more and more child pornography on the Internet, becoming what is today a very profitable business, with a worldwide market value estimated at billions of dollars.”

Statistics for cyber child pornography are difficult to find but in her report M’jid points to estimates that over a three year period between 2001 and 2004 the number of sites carrying child pornography nearly doubled to around 480,000. Estimates of the number of children who are victims vary hugely, from ten thousand to 100,000. Pornographic images of children, from babies through to teenagers are posted on the web. Figures cited in the report estimate nearly 20 percent of individuals possessing child pornography had images of babies and children aged under 3 and more than 80 percent had images of children aged between 6 and 12.

The report says most producers of pornographic images of children are known to the victims, in fact more than a third are family members and more than a third of those found guilty of possessing child pornography live with children. More than half of those in possession of child pornography have access to children at home, at work or in their social environment.

The Special Rapporteur draws attention to the life-long consequences of child pornography for the victims themselves. The internet images which will never disappear “compound the consequences of the child abuse, affecting the victims’ recovery and the delivery of services available to them”, she says...


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