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Child Pornography: Model Legislation & Global Review (5th Edition)


The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) and its International Resource Centre (IRC), created in collaboration with Interpol, has developed the model legislation with regards to child pornography and conducted research into the child-pornography legislation currently in place in the 187 Interpol Member Countries to gain a better understanding of existing legislation to gauge where issue stands on national political agendas.


Research into national child‐pornography legislation began in November 2004. Primary sources of information included: LexisNexis; a survey of Member Countries previously conducted by Interpol regarding national child‐sexual‐exploitation legislation; government submissions to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography in conjunction with a U.N. report on child pornography on the Internet; and direct contact with in‐country nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), law‐enforcement agencies and officers, and attorneys.

Sadly, the end results continue to shock. Of the 187 Interpol Member Countries,

  • only 29 have legislation sufficient to combat child pornography offenses (5 Member Countries meet
  • all of the criteria set forth above and 24 Member Countries meet all but the last criteria, pertaining to ISP reporting); and
  • 93 have no legislation at all that specifically addresses child pornography.

Of the remaining Interpol Member Countries that do have legislation specifically addressing child

  • 54 do not define child pornography in national legislation;
  • 24 do not provide for computer‐facilitated offenses; and
  • 36 do not criminalize possession of child pornography, regardless of the intent to distribute.

Fundamental topics addressed in the model‐legislation portion of this report include:

  1. Defining “child” for the purposes of child pornography as anyone under the age of 18, regardless of the age of sexual consent;
  2. Defining “child pornography,” and ensuring that the definition includes computer‐ and Internet-specific terminology;
  3. Creating offenses specific to child pornography in the national penal code, including criminalizing the possession of child pornography, regardless of one’s intent to distribute, and including provisions specific to downloading or viewing images on the Internet;
  4. Ensuring criminal penalties for parents or legal guardians who acquiesce to their child’s participation in child pornography;
  5. Penalizing those who make known to others where to find child pornography;
  6. Including grooming provisions;
  7. Punishing attempt crimes;
  8. Establishing mandatory‐reporting requirements for healthcare and social‐service professionals, teachers, law‐enforcement officers, photo developers, information‐technology (IT) professionals, ISPs, credit‐card companies, and banks;
  9. Addressing the criminal liability of children involved in pornography; and
  10. Enhancing penalties for repeat offenders, organised‐crime participants, and other aggravated factors considered upon sentencing.