Internet-facilitated commercial sexual exploitation of children: findings from a nationally representative sample of law enforcement agencies in the United States.

Academic Article


  • This article explores the variety of ways in which the Internet is used to facilitate the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) and provides national incidence estimates for the number of arrests involving such technology-facilitated crimes in 2006. The National Juvenile Online Victimization Study is a nationally representative longitudinal study of more than 2,500 local, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies across the United States. The current article utilizes Wave 2 data, which surveyed arrests in 2006 for Internet-related sex crimes against minors. Detailed data were collected via telephone interviews with investigators about 1,051 individual arrest cases. Findings show that an estimated 569 arrests for Internet-facilitated commercial sexual exploitation of children (IF-CSEC) occurred in the United States in 2006. Offenders in IF-CSEC cases fell into two main categories: (1) those who used the Internet to purchase or sell access to identified children for sexual purposes including child pornography (CP) production (36% of cases), and (2) those who used the Internet to purchase or sell CP images they possessed but did not produce (64% of cases). Offenders attempting to profit from child sexual exploitation were more likely than those who were purchasing to have (a) prior arrests for sexual and nonsexual offenses, (b) a history of violence, (c) produced CP, (d) joined forces with other offenders, and (e) involved female offenders. Although the number of arrests for IF-CSEC crimes is relatively small, the victims of these crimes are a high-risk subgroup of youth, and the offenders who try to profit from these crimes are particularly concerning from a child welfare perspective.
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • March 2011
  • Keywords

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crime Victims
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminals
  • Erotica
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Law Enforcement
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment
  • Social Environment
  • United States
  • Young Adult
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 20852011
  • Start Page

  • 43
  • End Page

  • 71
  • Volume

  • 23
  • Issue

  • 1