October 2, 2019

What now? Pandemic of child abuse images exploding online


The New York Times just released a lengthy investigation into the criminal underworld of child sexual abuse images (child pornography) on the Internet: The Internet Is Overrun With Images of Child Sexual Abuse. What Went Wrong? (September 29, 2019). 

The report states:

  • In 1998, there were over 3,000 reports of child sexual abuse imagery.?
  • Just over a decade later, yearly reports soared past 100,000.
  • In 2014, that number surpassed 1 million for the first time.
  • Last year, there were 18.4 million, more than one-third of the total ever reported.

There is no excuse. We are failing our children. EIE first began warning Congress and the tech community in 1995, at the advent of the Internet, that child sex abuse images were being identified, sold and shared on the Internet.

These images are the actual recording of the sexual abuse and torture of children. Even then, pictures and videos of children as young as toddlers being violently sexually abused were appearing online. We consistently pleaded for more law enforcement officers, more prosecutors, and more resources to be focused solely on this issue, and for tech companies to proactively put preventative measures into place. 

Over the years, what was a huge problem became a crisis, and now, more than two decades later, has exploded exponentially to a pandemic overwhelming our current systems in place to a breaking point. This should never have happened.


Government must increase funding and provide oversight of efforts. As the article reports, despite landmark legislation passed in 2008 to reign in the scourge, only half of the $60 million allotted is being appropriated and that is no longer enough. Law enforcement is overwhelmed and underfunded and not able to get the job done. We must invest in our children's safety and defend their dignity.

Tech companies must do better. Social media providers and tech companies who profit from this technology need to ensure their platforms aren't being used to freely create and trade child abuse images, virtually molest children, share law enforcement avoidance methods, and advertise for sex trafficked victims. Further, they must not spare one single minute in adequately reporting child sex abuse images as required in the 2008 Protect Act. America is #2 in the world for hosting these illegal child sex abuse sites, second only to the Netherlands! Greater accountability and oversight is essential! 

We must hold our leadership accountable. At both the state and federal level, our elected leaders must ensure that they are actively funding and prosecuting cases of child sex abuse images and enforcing existing state and federal obscenity laws. Governor McMaster, from my home state of South Carolina, recently signed EIE's Children's Internet Safety Governor's Pledge, and S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson is 100 percent on board with the Pledge tenets.

Issues of child sex abuse images and the prevention of the sexual exploitation of children in the digital age are the foundation of EIE's bi-partisan Children's Internet Safety Presidential Pledge signed by President Trump. This is the first time a President has made such commitments to prevent the sexual exploitation of children online.

Friends, we are positioned to turn back the tide. However, a tide cannot be turned without a shift in movement. You can do two things to help at this very moment.

1-Share this with your state elected officials. Information can be found here by state.

2- Please, fund this fight immediately by making a one-time donation, or become a monthly giver. We're in this together, and can't continue this fight without you.

For the sake of the children being exploited who need a voice ... our voice,