Child pornography exploits children in many different ways. Children may be deceived, tricked or coerced into engaging in sexual acts for the production of pornography. Abuse images may also be made in the process of sexually exploiting a child without the child’s knowledge. These images are then stored, distributed, sold or traded with others. Those who ‘consume’ pornographic images of children perpetuate the exploitation of children by creating a demand for more images. The makers of child pornography often use their products to coerce, intimidate or blackmail children used in the making of such material, while others, who gain access to those images, may then use them to desensitize and groom other children for abuse.
ECPAT works to ensure that the benefits of the Internet and new technologies are not compromised by those that seek to use it for the sexual exploitation of children. ECPAT works with governments, law enforcement, the technology industry and other NGOs to develop protocols for reporting and responding to such crimes, through awareness and education, reporting hotlines and other measures to help identify and assist the child victims. It also advocates and works for development of comprehensive national child pornography laws to protect children.
The growth of the Internet is creating more commercial opportunities for child exploiters and pornographers and the rapid development of new technologies are facilitating the development and reach of distribution networks. ECPAT seeks to develop positive cooperative relationships with ISPs and the information technology industries in order to find answers to the problems concerning the sexual exploitation of children, including the making, transmission, accessing and downloading of child pornography via Internet and other technologies. ECPAT encourages ISPs to develop codes of conduct, to include child-friendly information on their sites and to give all possible support to law enforcement agencies to prevent the criminal use of the information technologies by those seeking to exploit children.