OVERVIEW OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
The treatment of children as sexual objects is as old as humanity, with evidence of child-adult sex practices recorded in societies such as ancient Greece and the Roman Empire (Linz & Imrich, 2001). There has also been a long history of erotic literature and drawings involving children, but pornography in the modern sense began with the invention of the camera in the early nineteenth century. Almost immediately, pornographic images involving children were produced, traded, and collected. Even so, child pornography remained a restricted activity through most of the twentieth century. Images were generally locally produced, of poor quality, expensive, and difficult to obtain (Ferraro & Casey, 2005). However, the advent of the Internet in the 1980s dramatically escalated the problem by increasing the amount of material that was available, the efficiency of its distribution, and the ease by which it could be accessed. The Internet also made child pornography a truly international enterprise.
The idea of protecting children from sexual exploitation is relatively modern. For example, as late as 1880s in the U.S., the age of consent for girls was just ten years old and the use of children in obscene material was not specifically outlawed by the U.S. federal government until 1978 (Wortley & Smallbone, 2006). Today, law enforcement agencies are faced with the challenge of controlling a flood of child pornography generated by an increasingly sophisticated technology. This is a global problem that crosses state and national borders, and requires an international response.