The plague of child porn has in recent years been facilitated by the spread Internet, writes the Yomiuri in an article sourcing our favorite Polaris Project pundit, Shihoko Fujiwara.
“One of the reasons for the increase is due to the crackdown [by authorities], but another is that a growing number of children have become involved in the business through the widespread use of the Internet,” she said.
According to Fujiwara, a 14-year-old second-year female middle school student was forced to sell sexual services by her classmates and the scene was filmed by male customers.
A female student, 15, who attends a public high school, sold a nude image of herself through an Internet message board to raise money to go to university, as she is unable to depend on her parents financially. She contacted Polaris after a man who purchased the image threatened to meet her in person and another demanded she send more images.
(Full article here)
The piece goes on to explain how Web sites are providing the base for a new kind of enjo kosai-esque self-exploitation, allowing teenagers to receive money for posting nude photos of themselves according to customer demands. As with many online trends in Japan, the child pornography is often shot and distributed via mobile phone, making it difficult for parents to discover what’s happening.
The typical image of child pornography is that of the vile act of photographing juveniles in sexual situations either against their will or unbeknown to them, but in this case kids are often voluntarily participating in the system. While there’s much spoken about laws in the article, when children are willing to victimize themselves for money, there needs to be effort put into prevention on both sides.