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Child Pornography: Model Legislation & Global Review (2012, 7th Edition)


The 7th edition contains an updated review of the existing legislation focusing on child abuse offences in 196 countries and also includes several new sections: on online grooming, on the new EU Directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, a review of data retention and preservation policies, and a discussion of implementation.


Since this report was first released by the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) in April 2006, ICMEC has continued to update its research into the child pornography legislation currently in place in the nations of the world to gain a better understanding of existing legislation and to gauge where the issue stands on national political agendas. In particular, we are looking to see if national legislation: (1) exists with specific regard to child pornography; (2) provides a definition of child pornography; (3) criminalizes computer‐facilitated offenses; (4) criminalizes the knowing possession of child pornography, regardless of the intent to distribute; and (5) requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to report suspected child pornography to law enforcement or to some other mandated agency.

In the summer of 2009, ICMEC conducted a thorough update of our research on existing child pornography legislation, expanding our review beyond the 187 Interpol member countries to include 196 countries. Our work included independent research as well as direct contact with Embassies in Washington, D.C. to ensure the accuracy of the report.

A new review of the 196 countries began in the Spring of 2011. The process remained much the same; reviewing the existing legislation of each country in search of laws specifically focused on child pornography offenses and verifying the information through the Embassies in Washington, D.C., U.N. Permanent Missions in New York, and in‐country law enforcement contacts.

Forward movement continues to be visible in this edition, though much remains to be done. Our updated research shows that of the 196 countries reviewed:

  • 69 Countries have legislation sufficient to combat child pornography offenses (11 countries met all of the criteria set forth above and 58 countries meet all but the last criteria, pertaining to ISP reporting);
  • 53 Countries still have no legislation at all that specifically addresses child pornography.

Of the remaining 74 countries that do have legislation specifically addressing child pornography:

  • 60 do not define child pornography in national legislation;
  • 21 do not provide for computer‐facilitated offenses; and
  • 47 do not criminalize the knowing possession of child pornography, regardless of the intent to distribute.