Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office   I   Justice Center - Courts Tower   I   1200 Ontario Street, Cleveland, OH 44113   I   440.886.5284   I   216.443.7601 (fax)

The Internet is revolutionizing communication in America and across the globe. New vistas in commerce and education are opened every hour by this remarkable network that links government, business, libraries, schools, universities and individuals around the world.

The Internet offers great benefits to everyone, and in particular for children, who are growing up familiar with this technology and its incredible opportunities. By the end of 1998, more than 40% of all American homes had computers 25% with Internet access. Today, more than 45 million kids use the Internet to do homework, talk with friends, and learn about the world around them; by 2005, 77 million kids are expected to be online.

Unfortunately, there is a dark side to this revolution. Child pornography is created worldwide, including in America, and is readily available on the Internet to those who actively seek it. Anyone with $500 can purchase a computer, gain Internet access and immediately begin collecting and distributing child pornography. Once a pedophile possesses this contraband, he can quickly contact children in Internet chat rooms and send them child pornography to demonstrate that such conduct is normal.

The scope of this problem is significant: According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 20% of children age 10-17 have received unwanted sexual solicitations online, and prosecutions for online child exploitation occur across the globe.

Over time, these pedophiles gather personal information from their intended victims and, in the worst cases, may go to great lengths and expense to meet their victims face-to-face. These meetings often result in the kidnapping and sexual assault of the these children. Frequently, new child pornography is generated form these assaults, and this destructive and criminal cycle is repeated.