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USA: Child sex exploitation up 750% in 5 years

Publish Date: 09 Feb 2004

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) today announced that reports of child sexual exploitation are at an all time high. Over the past five years reports to its CyberTipline, a congressionally mandated tipline and website for reporting these crimes, have increased 750 percent. These reports include cases of child molestation (outside of the family), child pornography, child prostitution, online enticement of children, child sex tourism, unsolicited obscene material sent to a child, and the federally mandated reports of child pornography from Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

"This dramatic increase clearly demonstrates that child sexual exploitation is a major problem in the U.S. and around the world," said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. "The CyberTipline is bridging the gap between the public, the ISPs and law enforcement agencies and helping to crack down on child predators."

In 2003, NCMEC experienced its most significant jump in child exploitation leads receiving nearly 82,000 reports, an increase of nearly 100 percent over the previous year. Since the CyberTipline was created in 1998, NCMEC has handled more than 200,000 reports.

"The rapid growth of sexually abusive images of children can be attributed to the ever-increasing number of users on the Internet, more affordable technology, and a federal law requiring ISPs to report all incidents of child pornography on their systems to the National Center," emphasized Allen.

  Statistics for CyberTipline's Five-Year History
 
  Year    Tips    Increase
 
  1998     4573
  1999     9673   111.5%
  2000    19276    99.3%
  2001    24460    26.9%
  2002    43097    76.2%
  2003    81987    90.2%
 
 
  Background
 

The CyberTipline is operated by NCMEC in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Justice's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces, along with state and local law enforcement.

Citizens who have information that will help in the fight against child sexual exploitation should contact the CyberTipline by calling 1-800-843-5678 or go online to http://www.cybertipline.com/. Leads will be forwarded to law enforcement for investigation and review, and, when appropriate, to the ISP.

CyberTipline Success Story

On June 21, 2003, an unknown subject dropped off a disposable camera at a drugstore in Prunedale, California. When employees noticed the pictures featured the sexual assault of a prepubescent girl, local authorities were contacted and the images were forwarded to NCMEC's CyberTipline. In one of the images, the victim's t-shirt featured an emblazoned logo and text. Exploited Child Unit (ECU) analysts scrutinized the image, ran various queries, and were able to identify a local elementary school in Clovis, California, with the same mascot and school colors as depicted on the victim's shirt. The CyberTipline report was forwarded to the Clovis Police Department and an officer immediately visited the school. When it was learned that the t-shirt was issued to approximately 60 girls during a cheerleading camp, a cropped version of the image was featured in news reports in the Clovis/Fresno area. On July 4, 2003, the offender turned himself in, made a full confession, and disclosed the identity of the eight-year-old victim. The offender was charged with several counts of child molestation and lewd and lascivious acts with a child.

About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

NCMEC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which serves as a national clearinghouse for information and a resource for child protection. It works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. NCMEC's congressionally mandated CyberTipline, a reporting mechanism for child sexual exploitation, has handled more than 200,000 leads. Since its establishment in 1984, NCMEC has assisted law enforcement with more than 95,000 missing child cases, resulting in the recovery of more than 80,000 children. For more information, please visit http://www.cybertipline.com/ or call toll-free 1-800-THE-LOST.

CONTACT: Joann Donnellan of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, +1-703-837-6388; or Danielle McDonald or Sean McCabe of Creative Response Concepts, +1-703-683-5004, for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Web site: http://www.cybertipline.com/

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