Scope of the Crime
There is a global child rape and torture crisis, otherwise known as child pornography, traded electronically in images, videos and live-streaming on the internet and cellular phone networks.
America now produces an estimated half of the world’s child pornography. Of all the global internet servers hosting child sexual abuse websites, nearly half are located in the United States. An estimated 50,000 Americans, at any given time, are trading child sex abuse images/videos.
In 2012 child sex trafficking became America’s fastest growing crime, expanding by 150% per year. The Department of Justice reports a pedophile can earn up to $1,000 per night molesting a child via a web camera. One investigator says the child porn industry is “very tempting” with lots of “sales to be made.” A picture can sell for $25, a video for $300. Monthly child porn subscriptions average $100 per month.
The global child porn industry may be yielding $20 billion to $50 billion per year. One estimate is that every second there are 750,000 pedophiles on-line globally. Germany, for example, has estimated some 250,000 Germans spent $27 billion on child sex abuse images/videos in 2013. That is Germany alone in one year.
Human sex trafficking is organized crime’s fastest growing business and is estimated as, at least, the third-largest criminal enterprise worldwide. Globally, an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked for sexual abuse and exploitation every year. Says one expert, “the market is huge. And the operators of these forums will stop at nothing to keep their business running.” With this kind of easy profit, child porn is rapidly overtaking drugs as organized crime’s preferred money-maker.
Government officials, including, judges, military officers and police, often with substantial authority, have been identified as both consumers and producers in the illegal child porn industry.
Canadian investigators have recently changed tactics in how they investigate the trade in child sex abuse, now “going after companies that host the online files and profit from the data sharing.”
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)’s Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod said, “Our goal . . . is actually to look at the money behind the organization. Who made decisions so that profits could be made in a criminal manner? Where do they reside? And who are they?”
Isn’t this what investigators have been doing all along? Surprisingly, no.
Standard operating procedure (SOP) for child porn investigations, at least in America and Canada, have been investigators trolling known on-line child porn trading venues, posing as pedophiles, and catching the criminal in this random net-casting strategy.
Image throwing a net into a spring salmon run, mid-stream, and pulling out whatever you catch. I think the analogy would be more accurate if you imagined a fisherman with a single, barbless hook.
So dense is the on-line trade in child sex abuse, the volume so rapid, pedophiles know that the chances of being caught are very small. Pedophiles also know that investigators have not structured their investigations in a systematic manner that targets the source, the kingpins, the leaders of this highly lucrative organized crime.
|Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)’s |
Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod
In this manner, Canadian investigators found a file service owned by several web hosting companies and seized 1,250 terabytes of data. The estimated profits, in this investigation, were $18 million in just three months. The investigation revealed 2,200 IP addresses in the United States, 843 in Germany, 534 in Japan, 457 in Russia and 394 in Canada.
Let me repeat this fundamental fact: of all the global internet servers hosting child sexual abuse websites, nearly half are located in the United States. Why haven’t US investigators targeted these servers? Why has the US government allowed these servers to operate in America?
Like Canada, procedures also need to change in how child porn is investigated and prosecuted in America. The burden of change falls most heavily on corrupt prosecutors. Law enforcement investigators often express their frustrations to me that they will spend hours, weeks, months on a child porn investigation only to have it blocked by the prosecutors.
Why? Prosecutorial discretion — the two dirtiest words in the American legal system.
In 2014 The New York Times editorial board called prosecutorial misconduct “rampant” in America and that was a gross understatement. Prosecutors are not legally obliged to prosecute crimes. Prosecutors can pick and choose which crimes they wish to prosecute and which they do not. Stunning isn’t it? Can you image emergency room doctors choosing which patients are operate on versus who gets left to bleed out on the floor?
This is what prosecutors across America do every day. The poor get prosecuted and the rich play golf, drink, sail, and party with their favorite local and federal prosecutor who simply decline to prosecute his/her rich friend’s crimes if some hard-nose investigator ever dares to investigate.
In terms of child porn/child sex abuse investigations, this means that wealthy business men, lawyers, politicians, judges, lawyers, and prosecutors themselves are enjoying near total impunity. Prosecutorial discretion has given a green light to the richest, most powerful pedophiles in America to engage, at will, in the trade in child rape and torture.
If you have trouble believing this to be true, you haven't been paying attention. This blog has documented such goings on in four European countries, England, Northern Ireland, Holland and Belgium.
How to Investigate Child Porn 101
Based on extensive discussions with law enforcement and prosecutors, at the state and federal level, across America, here are some ideas about the changes needed to better fight, prevent and halt the crime.
Servers located in America that host, store and distribute child porn must be investigated, shut-down, and the owners must be prosecuted. That this is not yet happening in America is gob-smacking. Target the top, not the low-hanging fruit. Period. This should be a top priority.
Investigators need to conduct targeted investigation of known supply-side sources to which pedophiles flock. For example, the amount of child porn produced in day cares, preschools and baby-sitters is significant enough for investigators to start requesting search warrants to randomly search any and all day care, preschools and baby-sitting services IP address and cell phone networks for child porn production and distribution. Judges need to issue search warrants for these investigations.
State licensing agencies should require legal consent to submit to random child porn investigations as a component of all licenses granted to day care, preschool and baby-sitting services.
The amount of military and police, both local and federal, arrested for trade in child sex abuse is staggering. All military and law enforcement personnel must be required to submit to random child porn search, just like random drug tests, on their IP networks, phones, hard-drives, etc.
Federal and state law enforcement should police each other outside of their areas of influence. For example, an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) investigator in Texas should be able to get a search warrant for a police department in Maine. This would eliminate the roadblocking “code of silence” within corrupt police forces when good cops are prevented from investigating and exposing crimes they are often aware their own colleagues are committing against children.
All state and federal employees should be required to sign a Code of Conduct where they acknowledge that trading in child sex abuse is a crime and they pledge to refrain from doing so, to report anyone they are aware may be engaged in child porn on government computers and agree to random searches of their phones, laptops, hard-drives, thumb-drives, etc, for child porn.
All state and federal employees must be randomly searched for child porn on a regular basis. Full stop. State and federal government agency servers and IP addresses must be routinely searched. State and federal government agencies must implement software that blocks porn and child porn from being downloaded on government computers.
When investigators encounter prosecutorial discretion, they must be able to network with other prosecutors and investigators outside their physical jurisdiction to do an end-run around a corrupt local or federal prosecutors who may be involved in the trade of child porn themselves. Likewise, when a prosecutor encounters an investigator unwilling to investigate, that prosecutor must reach out to law enforcement outside the physical jurisdiction and receive investigative assistance and do an end-run around a local or federal investigators who may be involved in the trade of child porn.
The trade in child rape and torture, aka child pornography, knows no physical, geographic boundaries. It is not a traditional crime that occurs in one single physical location for which law enforcement and prosecutors have “legal” jurisdiction. It is crime that explodes all over the world via electronic networks the instant the rape of a child is posted on-line or sent over cell phone networks.
Child porn must no longer be investigated and prosecuted as a traditional crime based on traditional legal jurisdictions.