New statistics cited by Najat M’jid Maalla, the United Nations’ investigator for the sale of children, outlined an increasingly bleak picture on the exploitation of children online.
Among their findings:
- Child prostitution and child pornography found on the Internet has increased, with over four million sites exploiting children, including those of children aged under two years.
- “The number of sites devoted to child pornography worldwide is growing. The number of predators connected to the Internet at any one time is estimated to be 750,000.
- More than 200 new images are also circulated daily, the production and distribution of child pornographic images rakes in between 3 and 20 billion dollars (2.04 and 13.62 billion euros) a year.
- Images of sexually exploited children are not only growing in number but are also increasingly shocking. The number of images showing serious exploitation quadrupled between 2003 and 2007, showing abject images of brutal rape, bondage, oral sex and other forms of debasement.
- The UN estimates that between 10,000 and 100,000 minors are victims of the child pornography network.
The methodology of this UN report and the statistics cited will unquestionably be challenged. Some will point to age of consent issues, others will challenge the wide spread of estimates given both for the revenue and number of victims as being too far apart to be meaningful.
Don’t let the squabbling obfuscate the stark reality that the ease of access to images of child sexual abuse is increasing, the number of sites offering the images are increasing, and the number of children forced into sexual slavery is increasing.
To learn more about these issues and how you can help, see my blog Child Trafficking and the Internet.