THE NATURE OF CHILD SEX OFFENDING IS EVOLVING
Victims are getting younger and younger and the acts done to them are becoming horrifyingly sadistic
The AFP and other law enforcement agencies also know that offenders are systematically and increasingly targeting children in developing countries through emerging sub-crime-types such as Pay Per View (PPV) live webcam streaming of child sexual abuse scenes on demand. Internet-facilitated Child Abuse Material (iCAM, also referred to as Child Pornography) and PPV offending are driving an exploding demand and supply industry that is sometimes facilitated by organized criminal networks (pedophile rings and human trafficking rings) but also by families and communities in a ‘cottage industry’ style. Poor farming families who formerly survived on very low incomes are now earning massively more money by sexually abusing their children live, on platforms such as Skype, for foreign offenders who remain almost completely untraceable. This is due in part to new and continually evolving technologies that facilitate online anonymity and allow ‘digital footprints’ to be effectively hidden. However, increased viewing of iCAM is strongly linked to increased ‘direct contact’ offending, as meeting and abusing victims online soon leads to meeting and abusing victims in person.
Since more and more people are viewing and building ‘iCAM libraries’, Safe Childhoods believes that a greater number of child sex offenders are emerging now than ever before. Joe Sullivan, a forensic psychologist and leading expert on child sex offending, says “Prior to the internet an offender was thought to have a huge collection with 150 images of children; today a 150,000 image collection is quite standard, and a 1.5 million image collection not unheard of”.
What is more, the nature of child sex offending is evolving. The victims are getting younger and younger and the acts carried out on them are becoming horrifyingly sadistic, fueled by the desensitization of the perpetrators and the fierce competition and rivalry among offenders in online communities. Offenders often consider their iCAM libraries to be their trophies and aim to collect the ‘best’ images and film series.
This demand fuels the process of production and supply and creates a spiraling number of victims whose images will circulate on the internet forever more.