Monday, November 07, 2005

Child porn victims skyrocket following police crackdown

Mainichi
Nov 3, 2005

The number of victims of child prostitution and child pornography has skyrocketed almost threefold in the first six months of 2005, largely because of a crackdown on perpetrators, according to a National Police Agency report.

NPA officials said that in the period since child prostitution and child pornography were outlawed in November 1999 until the end of June this year, there were 623 child victims, about one-third of them elementary school pupils.

The 112 victims discovered in the first six months of this year is more than three times the number of children victimized in the corresponding period last year, but the increase is being attributed to last year's toughening of the law to target newer technology.

But the outlook for child pornography and child prostitution victims is bleak.

"We think there are actually many more victims out there," a spokesman for the NPA said.

NPA statistics showed that of the 623 victims of child pornography or child prostitution police have unearthed since the ban went into effect, 181 have been elementary school pupils, 199 from junior high and 189 from high school. The remainder had either left school or were employed.

Police said a feature of the victims was the large number who had been caught on camera. Police also said that children appeared to have been the instigators in a large number of cases, but added that they did so because their lack of maturity did not allow them to understand the seriousness of their actions. Many children remain deeply scarred by their involvement in child pornography or child prostitution.

In the first six months of 2005, police made 170 arrests under the law banning child prostitution and child pornography, 2.3 times the number of apprehensions in the first half of last year. Over half of the arrests related to the tightening of the law that came into effect in July last year and targeted those who spread child porn online or digitally.

Of the 170 arrests, 68 directly related to the Internet, through use of online sales or file-sharing software to distribute child porn.

Japan and other G-8 member countries have pledged to combat child pornography. (Mainichi)

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