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Local citizens may access child pornography images that were produced and/or stored in another city or on another continent. “The Use of Explicit Sexual Stimuli by Rapists, Child Molesters and Nonoffender Males.” Journal of Sex Research 7–288.
Alternatively, they may produce or distribute images that are downloaded by people thousands of miles away.
The idea of protecting children from sexual exploitation is relatively modern.
As late as the 1880s in the United States, the age of consent for girls was just 10 years.In 1977, only two states had legislation specifically outlawing the use of children in obscene material.
However, pornography in the modern sense began with the invention of the camera in the early nineteenth century.
Almost immediately, sexualized images involving children were produced, traded, and collected.Even so, child pornography remained a restricted activity through most of the twentieth century. “Identity Theft.” Problem Oriented Guides for Police.
Images were usually locally produced, of poor quality, expensive, and difficult to obtain.
The relaxation of censorship standards in the 1960s led to an increase in the availability of child pornography, and, by 1977, some 250 child pornography magazines were circulating in the United States, many imported from Europe.Despite concern about the extent of child pornography, law enforcement agencies had considerable success in stemming the trafficking of these traditional hard-copy forms. “The Need for Regulating Anonymous Remailers.” International Review of Law, Computers & Technology 14(1):79–88.
Pornographic records include still photographs, videos, and audio recordings. “Computer Search and Seizure Issues in Internet Crimes Against Children Cases.” Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal 7–373.
The images themselves vary considerably in their graphic content.
In some cases individuals may collect images that do not involve overt pornography and are not technically illegal. C.: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
However, the advent of the Internet in the 1980s dramatically changed the scale and nature of the child pornography problem, and has required new approaches to investigation and control. “Revisiting the Use of Pornography by Sexual Offenders: Implications for Theory and Practice.” The Journal of Sexual Aggression –77.
Internet child pornography is unlike most crimes local police departments handle.