Commercialization of Child Sexual Abuse Materials (CSAM) Online

The amount of Child Sexual Abuse Materials (CSAM) on the internet is growing exponentially. We can only stop the spread of this abuse if everyone is prepared to identify it and report it. It is not just about looking for new victims. Some survivors who were rescued 20 years ago still have images traded daily online.
People Impacted
$ 1.1T
Potential Funding
I have this challenge
the problem
Nature and Context

Child Sexual Abuse Materials (CSAM), previously referred to as child pornography, should be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

As the proliferation of broadband access, personal computers and mobile devices has increased, so too has the amount of exploitation content online. In 2014, there were 450,000 pieces of CSAM online. In 2015, that number grew to 25 million. Today, the numbers continue to grow.

Symptoms and Causes

United States Federal Law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (a person less than 18 years old). Outside of the legal system, NCMEC chooses to refer to these images as Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) to most accurately reflect what is depicted – the sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

Not only do these images and videos document victims’ exploitation and abuse, but when these files are shared across the internet, child victims suffer re-victimization each time the image of their sexual abuse is viewed.

It’s important to remember CSAM consists of much more than just images and video files. While CSAM is seen and transmitted on computers and through other technology, these images and videos depict actual crimes being committed against children. The human element, children at risk, must always be considered when talking about this offense that is based in a high-tech world.

This White paper published by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offers a detailed analysis:

the impact
Negative Effects
  • Adverse childhood experiences

  • PTSD and other mental health implications

  • Isolation, loneliness, suicidal thoughts

Economic Impact

Child maltreatment has been shown to have many negative effects on survivors, including poorer health, social and emotional difficulties, and decreased economic productivity.  This CDC study found these negative effects over a survivor’s lifetime generate many costs that impact the nation’s health care, education, criminal justice and welfare systems. (source: CDC)

In all, this is how the breakdown in costs are explained:

  • The estimated average lifetime cost per victim of nonfatal child maltreatment includes:

    1. $32,648 in childhood health care costs

    2. $10,530 in adult medical costs

    3. $144,360 in productivity losses

    4. $7,728 in child welfare costs

    5. $6,747 in criminal justice costs

    6. $7,999 in special education costs

  • The estimated average lifetime cost per death includes:

    1. $14,100 in medical costs

    2. $1,258,800 in productivity losses

Success Metrics
  • Reducing the quantity of Child Sexual Abuse Materials online

  • Reducing the time to identify victims and perpetrators

  • Eliminating incentives to post and distribute Child Sexual Abuse Materials

financial insights
Current Funding

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, offers grants related to researching this issue and finding solutions

Data Sources


  1. Safer solution -

  2. The Cost of Child Abuse: The Rising Economic Impact of Child Maltreatment -

  3. Captured on Film: Survivors of Child Sex Abuse Material are Stuck in a Unique Cycle of Trauma -

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