The below text is copyright, “Broken Bodies – Broken Dreams: Violence against Women Exposed”:
“Child pornography in the contemporary world
Not surprisingly, Japan is a major Asian producer of child pornography. Around the world, there are strong links between child prostitution, child-sex tourism and the production of child pornography.
Girls and boys of all ages, including infants, are sexually exploited in pornographic imagery. Both “a crime in and of itself, and … a picture of a crime scene,” child pornography stretches back centuries. In the last 30 years, however, it has become a thriving enterprise, with images that are more hardcore than before and increased access to those images via the Internet.
Most pedophiles do not use child pornography to turn a profit. They are more likely to stockpile pictures and films that they can copy and trade, thereby adding to their private collection. Nevertheless, the advent of modern home video and personal computer technology has made child pornography easier to produce and trade without detection. As a result, underground distribution has become more organized and commercialized. In the United States alone, the estimated revenues of the child pornography market are approximately $2 billion to $3 billion per year, making it one of the country’s most lucrative cottage industries. Russia is notable as an emerging market, second only to the United States as a source for child pornography.
In modern times, no region in the world is exempt from the production of child pornography. During the industry’s early days, most images were of Western children, many from the United States, whose pictures were commercially reproduced in Europe. A minority of other images were from India, Mexico and Africa. With the growth in sex tourism, images of Asian and Eastern European children were added to the global stock and trade in child pornography, as sex tourists filmed and then distributed their encounters with children. Latin American children also have been exploited on film by both international and local pedophiles and child abusers. In Brazil, street children in particular have been targeted for pornography that is exported to North America.
Many victims of child pornography are boys. In the United States, over 50 percent of child pornography seized in raids depicts boys, and in Canada that figure is 75 percent. In Japan, however, girls are captured in the majority of images. For both boys and girls, their exploitation on film can have a lasting psychological impact. Because of an almost inexhaustible shelf-life, pornographic images can continue to be reproduced and shared, such that “long after the child has grown up, he or she knows that someone, somewhere, may be looking at their picture, witnessing their degradation and distress.” This has perhaps never been more true than in the age of the Internet.
Evidence suggests that a significant number of consumers of child pornography are likely to be active child abusers. The Internet facilitates this link, because it “not only acts as a mechanism for making, displaying, trading, and distributing child porn, it also acts as a vehicle for child pornographers to make contact with and ensnare new victims.” Child sex abusers can enter Internet chat rooms where children congregate, gain their trust and either solicit pictures of them online or arrange to meet them – sometimes traveling across continents – for the purpose of sexually abusing them. One study from the United States found that one in five children who go online regularly is approached by Internet strangers for sex.
Moreover, the Internet allows pedophiles and child abusers to receive positive reinforcement in a way that can legitimize and normalize their criminal behaviors. According to one convicted pedophile, “The Internet is great. It’s a whole world that sucks you in. With 24 hours of first going on I’d found child porn … I found people I could talk to. People who felt like me … I never had so many friends.”