Despite highly publicized arrests, law-enforcement officials say the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet is growing dramatically, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Over the past four years, the number of reports of child pornography sites to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has grown by almost 400 percent. Law-enforcers are particularly disturbed by the increased number of commercial sites that offer photos of exploited children in return for a credit-card number. Experts say child porn has become a global multibillion-dollar industry.
“We are encountering staggering proportions of violators or offenders we would have never imagined years ago,” says Ray Smith, who oversees child exploitation investigations by the United States Postal Inspection Service. Efforts to stem the upsurge are taking place on multiple fronts. At the G-8 summit in Scotland last month, officials said that Interpol, an international police organization, is putting together a global database of offenders and victims. And this week, 3,000 law-enforcement officials from around the US are meeting in Dallas to discuss ways to attack Internet crimes against children.