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Child Pornography And Internet

source: Michael C. Irving, PhD

Child pornography on the Internet is real child abuse. It uses real children and causes enormous damage for children and youth.

The Internet is a very powerful new technology for exploiting children. There is an increased demand for the product and it uses emotionally detached language. These are not “cyberspace” children, these are our children.

Children used for pornography are often being groomed for future and further abuse.

We need your help – the help of technological experts to help address this form of child abuse.

We need local and global education campaigns through the Internet, radio, television and newspapers to combat child abuse. We need research and information.

Police “recovered more than 100,000 pornographic images of children as young as two from one U.S. based pedophile club known as “Wonderland” which exchanges pornographic pictures of children on the Internet.”

The images they traded like baseball cards were of children tied up, children being raped, children having sex with animals, adults or other children. Suspects include teachers, a scientist, a medical student, a scout master, an accountant and a university professor. The Toronto Star, September 3 and 6, 1998.

Discussion – Child Prostitution and Child Sex Rings
Identification/Refinement of Key Themes:

  • A lack of public awareness, education and outreach.
  • Myths about sexual abuse, sex rings and a connection to prostitution.
  • Impact on an individual’s life – the survivor’s perspective.
  • Why is society in denial, and how is this accomplished?
  • How do pedophiles maintain their groups. How can they be identified? How to they propagate these activities?

Public Messages:

  1. The reality of child sex rings and prostitution:
    • Child sex rings and prostitution happens to children/individuals who are vulnerable, perhaps related to institutions as clients.
    • Individuals from abusive situations are more likely to become involved in sex rings or prostitution than those who are not.
    • When children are soliciting, there is no choice. Even when adults are soliciting, there are no choices.
  2. Impact of abuse:
    • There is a life-long impact resulting in internal (emotional, physical) and external (behavioural) problems.
    • Dissociative disorder is real. Memory loss from trauma is real and can be recovered both outside and inside of therapy.
    • Denial exists on the part of the abused and abuser.
  3. Myths about the impact of abuse:
    • Survivors have no sense of personal power, and are not capable of functioning as an adult and making good choices.
    • Survivors are perceived as unable to function, and allowances are made for their dysfunction instead of a search for the cause of such dysfunction.
  4. Impact
    • How recovered memories affect an individual’s life and life choices.
    • Sense of predetermined “fate” to continue in an abusive/abused capacity.
    • Memories played out in symbolic forms such as disease, abuse of others or choice of an abuser as a partner, alcoholic or drug addiction, life long impact.
    • Suicidal thoughts tend to be more common among survivors.
    • Impact of sex rings/prostitution on survivors: a complete sense of isolation; the message to the abused child is that society itself is responsible/corrupt; there is no “out there”, no safe place, no rescuer.

Why is society in denial, and how is this accomplished?

  • Society is associated with the government/media.
  • There is profit in denial. Abusers have a vested interest in denial and comfort.
  • Comfort, vested interest and both conscious and unconscious guilt.
  • Those who have not experienced this type of trauma have difficulty in understanding higher pain.
  • Often those who attack survivors are often in denial about abusers and abuse.
  • There are safety issues related to a lack of education on this topic.


There is a lack of public awareness of sex rings. There are many myths and a lack of perspective on the part of the public.

Prostitution and its connections to child abuse are unclear. The myth of prostitution is that they “do it because they love it”. Society is in denial – offers closure without examining the underlying issues behind prostitution. There is a lack of education around the issue of prostitution/abuse in the school system at every level.

The myth of pedophilia and child prostitution is that “young boys choose to participate.” How do pedophiles organize and sustain their activities? Does the anonymity of the internet propagate these activities? Is a child sex ring a child used by a number of abusers? This is worse than the abuse of a child by a caregiver, because no bond is formed. The child is totally isolated. His or her abuser has no power within the group. Survivors often develop strong defenses to cope, and may have very high pain thresholds. When the abuse occurs outside the family environs, the memories are often more difficult to access.

Memories may be triggered by specific words. There is often a lack of acknowledgement of the abuse by the abuser. A defense mechanism develops – the child is “special”. The photographic aspect of this type of abuse can encourage exhibitionistic behaviour.

The connection between prostitution and abuse is so obvious. Why is the public surprised by this? Survivors are vulnerable and often prone to being “seduced” into pornography and prostitution. Survivors also often feel that they are “fated” to continue in an abused capacity.

Myth of Suppression:

People think that it is possible to bury memories without affecting the individual concerned. It is easier to blame the victim than the abuser. The survivor becomes “objectified” and develops a strong sense of denial as a coping mechanism. This is the reason behind the denial of this type of abuse by society. People are more concerned about protecting their own comfort level than protecting the comfort levels of children. People do not want to confront the issues. “This type of thing doesn’t happen in Canada.” Social service agencies, law enforcement staff and others working in this field become desensitized, because the truth is so horrific. As well, the male identity in our culture encourages suppression of these issues, and the majority of institutions tend to be “male centred” in terms of their operational framework.

The Maple Leaf Gardens issue did generate a public outcry. However, this was bothersome, because of the media identification with the “hockey icon” image as a vehicle to address abuse issues. This disregards other survivors who are not associated with a “celebrity association”. There are also issues associated with validation and celebrity endorsement. Another difficulty is presented by the incorrect association of abuse with lower economic class structures. The message is most often dependent upon the messenger for clarity and accuracy.

References On Child Pornography And The Internet:

Biggar, Bill and Joe Myers. Danger Zones: What Parents Should Know About the Internet. Kansas City, Mo.: Andrews & McMeel, 1996.

Cusack, Jim. “Fighting The Child Sex Trade: Murky World of Internet Porn. The ‘Orchid Club’ Shakes Up the Law”. World Press Review, November 1996 vol. 43 no. 11, pcover, 8-9.

McCuen, Gary E. Pornography and Sexual Violence. Hudson, Wis.: Gary E. McCuen Publications, 1985.

McMurchie, Laura Lyne. “Proposed Internet Bill (Internet Child Pornography Prevention Act Introduced in Saskatchewan) Product of Naive Mind: Critic.” Computing Canada, August 17, 2020, vol. 24 no. 30 p. 1, 8.

Meyer, Sharon and Canada, Dept. of Justice. A Preliminary Investigation Into Child Pornography in Canada. Ottawa: Canada, Dept. of Justice, 1992.

Moyer, Sharon and Canada, Dept. of Justice. A Preliminary Investigation Into Child Pornography in Canada. Otttawa, Canada: Dept. of Justice, 1992.

Rosenberg, Jean. Fuel on the Fire: An Inquiry Into Pornography and Sexual Aggression in a Free Society. Orwell, Vt.: Safer Society Press, 1989.

Sancton, Thomas. “Preying On The Young: All Over the World, Boys and Girls Are Abused In A Vicious Sex Trade Now Abetted By Computer Networks. Time (Can. ed.), September 2, 2020, vol. 148 no. 11, p. 20-3.

Seabrook, Jeremy. Travels in the Skin Trade: Tourism and the Sex Industry. Chicago, Illinois. Pluto Press, 1996.

Tate, Tim. Child Pornography: An Investigation. London: Methuen, 1990.

Wallace, Jonathan D. and Mark Mangan. Sex, Laws and Cyberspace. New York: M&T; Books, 1996.

“Internet Child Porn (Shocking Videos Seized From An Internet Child-Pornography Ring).” World Press Review, October 1998, vol. 45 no. 10 p. 20.

“Porn Spawns Misguided Bill (Internet Child Pornography Prevention Act)”. Computing Canada, August 24, 2020, vol. 24 no. 31, p. 12.

United Nations, General Assembly and Canada, Human Rights Directorate. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Ottawa: Human Rights Directorate. 1991.

Reprinted with Permission


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