The Commercial Market of Child Pornography Images On the Internet

A report released by the European Financial Coalition explained the current online market in child pornography.

According to the paper, roughly 7.5 percent of sexual abusive images of children are sold, with the rest of the materials being shared freely primarily through the use of peer to peer technology.

Law enforcement in the EU broke up a commercial web streaming site, where men were paying between $25 to $30 for a 30 minute session. Customers also paid $5,500 in an annual payment in order to receive screen shots of the streaming video. The child on the web cam was sexually abused at their location in an undisclosed South East Asia country.

For individual video clips, security agencies have reported prices as low as $10. Subscription to websites that offer child sexual abuse images cost $50 for a 3 month membership.  Demand for new materials is reflected in the price, with files of new images on demand going for as much as $1,200.

According to monitoring data from the UK based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), there were 513 individual “brands” that were offering commercial child pornography images in 2012. Based upon website template, registration details, payment systems and other information, intelligence analysts believe that these brands are controlled by a small number of owners. In 2012, the 10 most active brands distributing child pornography was associated with a single distributor.

Since it started monitoring brands in June 2009, the IWF has identified 1,292 individual unique brands and website templates that were being used in the commercial distribution of child sexual abuse images.

In order to distribute the materials, these brand owners utilize a wide-range of web hosting services and URLs. In the final three months of 2013, a total of 1,138 URLs were identified as commercially distributing child sexual abuse images. Nearly half, or 516, were hosted in the United States.

According to the 2012 annual report by Internet reporting organization INHOPE, most of the child pornography images (both free and commercial) involved prepubescent children. 76 percent of the child victims identified in images in 2012 were prepubescent. 15 percent were in puberty, and 9 percent were infants. 75 percent of the victims in the images were female, 13 percent were male, and 12 percent involved both sexes.

Source (PDF):  “Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online: A Strategic Assessment,” European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online, Public Version, prepared by the European Cybercrime Center – Europol, October 2013.

Source:  “Annual Report 2012: Making a real difference,” International Association of Internet Hotlines INHOPE.