Child Sexual Abuse Material on a Pornography Site

Overview

Although laws still refer to child sexual abuse material as “child pornography” and so this term persists for legal reasons and in the cultural vernacular, we believe that “child sexual abuse material” (CSAM for short) or “child sexual abuse images” are more precise terms because it is important to be clear about the fact that “child pornography” images and videos are showing the sexual abuse of real children.

It is becoming more common in the child protection space to use the phrase “child sexual abuse material” or CSAM, so to avoid confusion we will use this term throughout our materials. However, it is important to clarify that this is not a legal term and may include more than images or videos.

We want to help you learn about the variances that exist in this area of law and understand whether or not you might have legal recourse for situations involving child sexual abuse material being distributed online and/or appearing on pornography websites.

The Prevalence and Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material

There is a widely held understanding that the Internet has played a significant role in the establishment of pedophile rings that span the globe. These groups of producers, distributors, and collectors of child sexual abuse material are found across the world in a variety of jurisdictions and countries and they use the Internet to work together to collect and distribute child sexual abuse material for themselves.

As has been documented in many places, including an in-depth investigation by The New York Times, this activity is often accompanied by the perpetrators collaborating to plan their crimes against children and discussing tips about not getting caught and evading law enforcement.

The increased production and distribution of child sexual abuse material is a massive concern for child protection organizations around the world. The rise of warrant-proof encryption is already making detection of these crimes more difficult and advancements in technologies and platforms for encrypted communication mean this problem is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

As noted above, much of the dissemination of child sexual abuse material in the digital age is facilitated using encrypted peer-to-peer messaging tools. However, social media platforms and other websites have also been used by predators to groom children and ultimately convince them to send “self-produced” child sexual abuse material in the form of sexually explicit “selfies.”

Predators will then use these very images to blackmail their victims into creating more of this material and/or to sexually abuse or traffic them in real life. Predators are also hacking minors’ phones and other devices in order to steal sexually explicit photos or videos that may be stored there and then sharing them within their networks or even publishing them on pornography websites.

Furthermore, due to law enforcement being overwhelmed by the sheer size of the problem there has been a disturbing rise in the number of mainstream websites featuring child sexual abuse material, especially of teenagers.

One of the most disturbing trends in the modern online pornography industry is the rise of pornography “tube” sites that allow individuals to upload sexually explicit material to their platforms. An incorrectly-perceived lack of legal accountability for these types of websites has encouraged them to facilitate content being uploaded without any legitimate form of verification of legality or consent. This has led to myriad instances of illegal content — including child sexual abuse material — being uploaded to these websites and victims of sexual abuse and exploitation being continually re-victimized and re-traumatized by the crimes that were committed against them.

Could I Qualify for a Lawsuit?

Confidentiality: The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) may use or maintain the information provided here to contact you for further details regarding your experience. Information from this form is strictly confidential. Access to confidential information is permitted only on a need-to-know basis and limited to the minimum amount of confidential information necessary to accomplish the intended purpose of the use, disclosure, or request. By submitting this information, you authorize representatives of NCOSE to contact you for further information, and confirm your understanding that the provision of information on this form does not establish a client-attorney relationship between you and NCOSE.

Disclaimer: The Law Center cannot guarantee legal representation to every injured person with a potential legal claim and the submission of this questionnaire does not create an attorney client relationship. Except in situations directly related to litigation the Law Center generally cannot assist with record expungement requests.

Did someone upload sexually explicit videos of you without your knowledge or consent?

Are you a victim of sexual abuse and/or assault?

Were you ever forced, coerced, pressured, or tricked into performing paid sex acts?

Have you been harmed physically, psychologically, professionally, or in your personal relationships due to exposure to hardcore pornography?

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