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April 7, 2006

Study reveals possession of child pornography legal in 138 countries

Study: Child Porn Isn't Illegal in Most Countries
At a press conference in Washington, D.C., the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children and other participants including Microsoft presented a study on Thursday that reveals the woeful inadequacy of child pornography laws around the world.

The ICMEC's global policy review of child pornography laws in 184 Interpol-member countries shows that more than half have no laws that specifically address child pornography and in many others the existing laws are insufficient.

"It's hard to arrest and prosecute if you don't have the legal foundation on which to build," said Ernie Allen, ICMEC president and CEO.

The ICMEC study found that possession of child pornography is not a crime in 138 countries. In 122 countries, there's no law dealing with the use of computers and the Internet as a means of child porn distribution.

"One of the greatest challenges we are confronted with is child safety, child protection, and child rights," said Baron Daniel Cardon de Lecture, chairman of ICMEC. Most of the countries in the world, he said, "have no meaningful system to adequately and effectively combat sexual exploitation of children."

Only five countries—Australia, Belgium, France, South Africa and the United States—have laws deemed adequate by ICMEC to address the issue.

[...] The production of child pornography is also becoming more professional. According to de Lecture, child pornography is thriving because it's profitable and relatively risk free compared to other criminal enterprises like smuggling weapons or drugs. "There is a huge consumer market for child pornography," he lamented. "Child pornography is enormously profitable and there is for the moment no risk. There is risk for dealing with arms. There is risk in dealing with drugs. There is no risk in trading your children today in three-quarters of the world."

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