Some of the remaining countries prohibited child pornography under more general obscenity laws, but some countries had no legal prohibitions.There is also variation in prohibitions of child pornography; for example, some countries (such as the United States) prohibit only visual depictions of real children, whereas other countries (such as Canada) prohibit depictions of fictional children (e.g., anime) or nonvisual depictions (e.g., audio recordings or stories).
Average sentences are getting longer for comparable child pornography offenses, indicating that Internet offenders will occupy custodial beds longer and will require longer terms of supervision if they become eligible for probation/parole (Wolak, Finkelhor, & Mitchell, 2009).
Given the nature of the Internet, this type of sexual offending is clearly an international problem, with political, legal, and geographic complexities.
An important research question is the extent to which Internet sex offenders represent a new type of sex offender, or whether they reflect the transformation of conventional sexual offending through the adoption of new technologies (Seto & Hanson, 2011).
Whatever the explanations for this increasing demand, it is clear that the number of potential Internet offending investigations already greatly exceeds law enforcement resources. Many law enforcement agencies are still dealing with a backlog of cases arising from Operation Avalanche (an investigation that began after the discovery of Landslide Productions in Texas and its large database of members purchasing access to child pornography Web sites) and other, more recent international police operations that have identified very large numbers of online offending suspects.
This has been demonstrated in a recent study showing that the majority of Canadian child pornography offenders assessed at a sexual behavior clinic showed more sexual arousal (assessed through penile plethysmography responses in the laboratory) to children than to adults, and in fact show a stronger relative response than do offenders with contact victims (Seto, Cantor, & Blanchard, 2006).
As well, one-third to one-half of child pornography offenders interviewed by police or by clinicians admitted they were sexually interested in children or in child pornography content (e.g., Seto, Reeves, & Jung, 2010).
The latter group, in contrast, engages in online activities to arrange real-world meetings; their online activity is more directed toward meeting offline and shorter in duration than the online interactions of fantasy-driven offenders.
Briggs, Simon, and Simonsen (2011) identified 30 offenders who were considered to be contact driven and 21 who were deemed to be fantasy driven.
here is increasing public and professional concern about Internet-facilitated sexual offending, reflected in a greater number of prosecutions and clinical referrals for these crimes (Middleton, Mandeville-Norden, & Hayes, 2009; Motivans & Kyckelhahn, 2007; U. The large majority of online offenses involve possession or distribution of child pornography.
Internet sexual offending comprises a range of crimes, including possession or distribution of child pornography; production of child pornography; sexual solicitations (online interactions with minors for sexual purposes, including plans to meet offline); and conspiracy crimes (e.g., collaborating with others to distribute or produce child pornography or to solicit minors).
Faced with more cases than they can handle in a timely fashion, law enforcement and other professionals who deal with these offenders need to prioritize their resources. Given an overarching goal to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse, it makes sense to prioritize and triage child pornography cases involving production or high-level distribution over possession alone or "passive" distribution (e.g., uploading images to file-sharing programs but not actively trading with others); solicitation cases involving attempts to meet in real life over online fantasy activities (e.g., sexually explicit chat); and cases involving Internet offenders who have already sexually assaulted children or are currently doing so over those with no known contact offending history.