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Internet Child Porn Essay

According to UNICEF, the United States and Somalia are the only two countries that have not yet ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, Somalia currently has no legally recognized government and cannot ratify anything at all, leaving the United States as the only country that still does not agree with it. The Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography reports that Bill Clinton did not submit it to the Senate for deliberation and ratification.

Perhaps he was too busy with Monica Lewinsky, and maybe the Republicans under Bush were too busy in airport restrooms like Senator Larry Craig. But perhaps Obama can do something about it. Child abuse through internet pornography is growing. In fact, the United States Department of Justice approximates one million children in the United States alone, who were victims of pornographers (Levesque 65). Indeed, tougher internet child-pornography regulations need to be enforced because it continues to be rampant, digital technology has made it easier to proliferate, and the graphic pornography is increasingly becoming more brutal.

Internet child pornography is rampant and increasing. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) asserts that “approximately 20% of all internet pornography involves children. ” It is a “growing crisis. ” The Internet Watch Foundation also reports that since 1997, internet child pornography increased by approximately 1,500%. Furthermore, internet child pornography is growing because it generates high revenue. Roger Levesque, in Sexual Abuse of Children reports that child pornography is a multi-billion dollar business. It is also one of the fastest growing internet criminal segments (Ferraro, et al. ).

The growth and high demand for it is fueled by addiction, just like illegal drugs. As Ryan Singel of Wired reports, “Internet pornography is the new crack cocaine, leading to addiction, misogyny, pedophilia, boob jobs and erectile dysfunction, according to clinicians and researchers testifying before a Senate committee Thursday. ” Pedophiles are addicted to child pornography, which they use for personal sexual arousal, trading with fellow pedophiles, training for future child abuse victims, or inducement for child prostitution (Crosson-Tower 208).

Consequently, the high demand for addictive internet child pornography increases child abuse cases. As, the Guardian reports, “Demand for child pornography on the internet has led to an increase in sex abuse cases. ” It also adds, “many paedophiles acknowledged that exposure to child sex images fuelled their fantasies and played an important part in leading them to commit physical sexual offences against children. ” Unsupervised children using the internet naively are “groomed for abuse while accessing chat rooms. If the victims take the bait, they become part of future pornographic productions.

The increase in popularity of social-media internet sites such as MySpace has increased these chances, whereas in the past, kidnapping by total strangers made it more difficult for pedophiles to capture victims. Moreover, the Internet Watch Foundation through the Associated Press reports that “Child pornography on the Internet is becoming more brutal and graphic, and the number of images depicting violent abuse has risen fourfold since 2003. Marlise Simons of the New York Times also reports that “even babies and infants were peddled via the Internet and other media to clients in Europe, Russia and the United States. ” Indeed, the Internet facilitates the distribution of child pornography.

In the section “Law Enforcement Efforts Against Child Pornography Are Ineffective” of Philip Jenkin’s book At Issue: Child Sexual Abuse, he points out “overwhelming evidence” that child pornography “is all but impossible to obtain through nonelectronic means. The US Department of Justice also reports that because of the Internet’s “technological ease, lack of expense, and anonymity in obtaining and distributing child pornography,” it “has resulted in an explosion in the availability, accessibility, and volume of child pornography. ” Furthermore, in 2001, “There are estimated to be one million pornographic images of children on the internet, many of them featuring children from third world countries being abused by affluent sex tourists from the west” (Wellard 26).

UNICEF also reports that “a single child pornography site receives a million hits a month. ” In order to receive that much Internet traffic, organized crime groups use sophisticated computer technology to evade detection. Pornographers can send viruses to unwitting Internet users without their knowledge to gain control of their computers, which can be transformed into file servers that can remotely store images and videos of child pornography for downloading later. This happened to Michael Fiola, an unsuspecting man in Massachusetts who was wrongfully charged for possessing child pornography.

As Matthew Healey of the Associated Press reports, “Of all the sinister things that Internet viruses do, this might be the worst: They can make you an unsuspecting collector of child pornography. ” After a virus infected Fiola’s laptop and downloaded heinous pictures and videos into his computer, his employer discovered it through the internet bill, and he “was fired and charged with possession of child pornography, which carries up to five years in prison. He endured death threats, his car tires were slashed and he was shunned by friends. ” But he and his wife “fought the case, spending $250,000 on legal fees.

They liquidated their savings, took a second mortgage and sold their car. ” Eventually, charges were dropped after prosecutors confirmed the defense findings. “It ruined my life, my wife’s life and my family’s life,” says Fiola. These sophisticated techniques emanates from hidden internet levels, where 50,000 to 100,000 online organized pedophiles, one-third American, gather together, as asserted by Jenkins in his book Beyond Tolerance: Child Pornography Online. With the advent of web-cams and digital photography and video, even from cell phones, home-made child porn is now easy to produce.

Peer-to-peer networking, wherein internet users can share files with each other instead of downloading it, along with the use of data encryption, file division and passwords, also makes any illegal porn difficult to detect, as reported by the Internet Watch Foundation. Truly, law enforcement is weak in battling child porn. As of 2008, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) reports that 93 out of 187 countries do not have child-porn-specific laws. And out of the 94 that do have anti-child-porn laws, 36 do not criminalize the possession of child pornography.

And according to Interpol statistics, only 1% of child-porn abuse victims are located each year by law enforcers, as reported by Emily Friedman in ABC News. Furthermore, violators found with images of post-pubescent minors, even if it is illegal, are often not prosecuted (Wells, et al 277). Currently, China has the most effective method in the war against child pornography. Right now, the US uses highly inefficient methods. To mitigate its image as the porn search engine of the world, Google develops software to fight child porn.

In 2008, Google adapted software for its search engine to track child porn that is available through its search engine, as reported by Maggie Shiels of BBC News. The FBI also posts hyperlinks on the World Wide Web that advertise child porn. Then they raid the homes of internet users who click on the links, as Declan McCullagh writes in CNet. Moreover, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOPP), established in 2006, attempts to target the assets or finances of organized child-porn rings, as Jamie Doward from the Guardian reports.

But China simply blocks all porn and American social-media sites from the Internet. China is known very well for its internet censorship and harsh penalties for drug trafficking. Drug use in the country is one of the lowest in the world. As Reuters reports in December 2009, “The Chinese government has run a highly publicized campaign against what officials said were banned smutty and lewd pictures overwhelming the country’s Internet and threatening the emotional health of children.

They also add that “China has banned a number of popular websites and Internet services, including Google’s Youtube, Twitter, Flickr and Facebook, as well as Chinese content sharing sites. ” Jennifer Guevin of CNET also writes, “Google acknowledged last year that the Chinese government asked it to disable a search feature with the goal of censoring pornography. ” In response to CNET’s report, Myles Taylor, a reader, commented, “I wish we’d take some pages from their book and start cracking down on child pornographers, pedophiles and such. ”

In conclusion, law enforcement on child pornography is too weak and tougher regulations need to be implemented to combat this crisis. It would be very effective and simple if the US government were willing to simply block all porno and social-media-sharing sites from the Web, but the US First Amendment would prohibit that. However, unless US lawmakers do something drastic, such as revising the US Constitution, shoppers will continue to see the photographs of missing children on milk cartons, reminding them that their child could be the next victim of thousands of pedophiles simply waiting for the next opportunity.


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