'Huge' Market for Child Porn Victimizes Younger Kids

By Monisha Bansal | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT


(CNSNews.com) - The "shockingly huge consumer market" for child pornography is increasingly centered around very young children, some as young as 18 months old, according to the chairman of a group dedicated to preventing the exploitation of children.

During a Thursday news conference in Washington, D.C., Baron Daniel Cardon de Lichtbuer, chairman of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) also said there are currently only five countries on earth that sufficiently outlaw child pornography -- Australia, Belgium, France, South Africa and the United States.

"The laws around the world are alarmingly insufficient to fight this epidemic," said Cardon. "This is simply not acceptable" ICMEC states that 95 countries have no laws against child pornography and another 63 have inadequate laws to combat child porn.

Ernie Allen, president and CEO of the ICMEC and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) acknowledged that the laws themselves are not a "panacea."

"Every country in the world could pass laws. What we have to do is identify the people who are abusing children and disseminating these images and prosecute them and bring them to justice," Allen told Cybercast News Service.

Tom McClusky, acting vice president of government affairs at the Family Research Council, agreed, calling it "more of a problem of enforcement than laws."

"[The U.S. Justice Department] admits there needs to be a lot more done. The laws that are on the books need to be enforced more and a lot of law enforcement personnel in the field need to know more of what to look for," he added. "They are doing a better job than in the past, but that is a small standard to hold yourself to," McClusky told Cybercast News Service.

Allen pointed to the widening problem of child pornography distribution on the Internet.

"The development, increasing accessibility, and use of home computer technology have revolutionized the distribution of these images by increasing the ease of possession and dissemination and decreasing the cost of production and distribution, especially across international borders," Allen said.

According to ICMEC, child pornography has become a multi-billion dollar commercial enterprise, and is among the fastest growing businesses on the Internet.

Cardon warned of a "growing phenomenon," in which the victims of child pornographers are younger and younger. "It is no longer the case of a 14 year old girl, or a 6 year old boy, but of an 18 month old baby," he said.

According to NCMEC, 83 percent of individuals arrested for possessing child pornography had images of children six to 12 years old, 39 percent had images of children three to five years old and 19 percent had images of infants and toddlers under the age of three.

The latest high-profile arrest in connection with child pornography involves Brian Doyle, deputy press secretary at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He was arrested Tuesday during a sex sting operation conducted by Polk County, Fla., police. Doyle had allegedly emailed pornography and communicated his sexually explicit desires to a person in a chat room that he thought was a 14-year-old girl. The person on the other end was a police detective.

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