- The United States Justice Department estimates that close to 300,000 American youth are currently at risk for becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
Two-thirds of the sex offenders in state prisons committed offenses against children. There are more than 747,000 registered sex offenders in the United States today.
As many as 100,000 are noncompliant and missing. 1
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports, “Best data suggests at least 100,000 American children a year are victimized through child sexual
exploitation,” (more children are victimized than the number of people that die from car accidents and illegal drugs combined in America).
- In a study by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children of the people arrested for child pornography; 40% also had raped children along with possessing child pornography.
- Child pornography is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States right now. Nationally, there has been a 2500% increase in arrests in the past10 years, according to the FBI.
- From 2004 through 2008, ICAC task force officers processed 20,562 documented online enticement complaints, including 7,879 documented complaints of suspected travelers.
- The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reviewed 17.3 million images and videos of suspected child pornography in 2011 — four times more than 2007.
What mental health experts have learned is that when someone (90% of the offenders are male) becomes addicted to child pornography, they usually progress to younger and
younger children and will seek out more sadistic or masochistic images, and in extreme cases, bestiality. 2
The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers found that the average number of victims for non-incestuous pedophiles who molest girls is 20, for pedophiles who
prefer boys the number jumps to 100.
- An average serial child molester may have as many as 400 victims in his lifetime.
Commercial Sexual Exploitation
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) refers to an act of sexually abusing a child for economic gains. A child is sexually abused by an adult for remuneration
in cash or kind to the child or a third person or persons. Here, the child is treated as a sexual and a commercial object.
- Of the endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in 2012, 1 out of 8 were likely child sex trafficking victims.
- As of December 2012, the NCMEC CyberTipline has received more than 1.7 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation since it was launched in 1998.
- ICAC Task Forces noted a more than 1,000 percent increase in complaints of child prostitution from 2004 to 2008.
Federal law (18 U.S.C. §2256(8)) defines child pornography as any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture or computer/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,
- Visual depiction is a digital image or computer/computer-generated image that is, or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, or
- Visual depiction has been created, adapted or modified to appear that an identifiable minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
- The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which helps to identify and locate children in pornography photos and videos, says its staff reviewed more than 10.5 million images in 2009 alone.
Recent technological advances such as smart phones, thumb drives and cloud computing have made it easier for offenders to collect, store and trade child pornography.
Other technological tools such as anonymizers and encryption have enhanced the ability of offenders to evade detection by law enforcement.
The size of an offender’s collection of images of child sexual exploitation is not merely a reflection of these technological advances. Their collection may also
suggest an active participation in the child pornography market — a market in which the demand for images fuels the ongoing, abhorrent sexual abuse of children.
- In 2006 U.S. attorneys handled 82.8 percent more child pornography cases than they had in 1994.
In 2012 alone, over 400,000 reports were submitted to NCMEC’s CyberTipline of persons suspected of possessing, manufacturing,
or distributing child pornography.
- An estimated 50,000 people in the U.S. are believed to be “consistently trading illegal images” involving children at any one time. (NCMEC)
More than 100 million images and videos of suspected child abuse have been referred to the program housed within NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification Program to assist in criminal investigations
and for the purpose of locating child victims since it was created in 2002.
Online Enticement of Children for Sexual Acts
It is a crime to use the Internet to knowingly persuade, induce, entice or coerce a child younger than the age of 18 to meet for sexual acts or to attempt to arrange
such a meeting (18 U.S.C. §2422(b)).
- 93 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 go online.
- Of children five years old and younger who use the Internet, 80 percent use it at least once a week.
- One in 25 children ages 10 to 17 received an online sexual solicitation where the solicitor tried to make offline contact.
- 15 percent of cell phone owning teens ages 12 to 17 say they have received sexually suggestive nude/semi-nude images of someone they know via text.
State and local law enforcement agencies involved in Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces reported a 230 percent increase in the number of documented complaints
of online enticement of children from 2004 to 2008.
Thirty-four percent of children ages 10 to 17 have received unwanted exposure to sexual material, according to key online victimization research presented
by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
- In 82% of online sex crimes against minors, the offender used the victim’s social networking site to gain information about the victim’s likes and dislikes.
- 65% of online sex offenders used the victim’s social networking site to gain home and school information about the victim.
- 26% of online sex offenders used the victim’s social networking site to gain information about the victim’s whereabouts at a specific time.
- 63% of teens said they know how to hide what they do online from their parents.