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Child Pornography on the Internet: New Challenges Require New Ideas

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 70 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2003 Pages: 28,30
Julian Fantino
Date Published
December 2003
2 pages
This article outlines the challenges associated with policing child pornography on the Internet, and outlines the action plan of the Toronto Police Service in its efforts to police Internet pornography and identify victims of child sexual abuse.
The Internet provides a cloak of anonymity to child pornographers who publish their crimes on the Internet or use the Internet to lure children to them for devious purposes. There are more than 100,000 Web sites containing child pornography, presenting one of the greatest policing challenges law enforcement has ever seen. The Sex Crimes Unit of the Toronto Police Service has undertaken four initiatives to control Internet child pornography: the creation of a pilot project to identify victims of child sexual abuse; a partnership with Microsoft Corporation on investigative methods; the creation of an educational video; and an international conference on child sexual exploitation. In 2002, the Ontario Provincial Government awarded the Toronto Police Service with a $2 million grant for their pilot project to identify victims of child sexual abuse, which involves conducting interviews with every child in the life of a convicted child sexual offender. Microsoft Corporation began development on the Child Exploitation Network, which will allow investigators to immediately search a suspect’s computer without corrupting it. The Toronto Police Service hosted their international conference on child exploitation during September 2003, with presenters from all over the world offering their expertise to 400 participants. Finally, future challenges for law enforcement involving technological innovations are outlined, such as prepaid credit cards that are virtually untraceable.