Child pornography

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The term child pornography (sometimes abbreviated as KiPo or CP for Child Pornography ) describes the representation of sexual acts by, on or in front of children, which is sanctioned with high penalties in almost all legal systems . The term is legally defined differently internationally. One of the reasons for this is the different legal definitions of child and pornography . Child pornography is to be distinguished from youth pornography .

The term child pornography can in principle be applied to all media, but mostly refers to photo or film material. Works that were created without the involvement of children and thus also without abuse represent a borderline area. In some legal systems (e.g. Germany , Sweden , Switzerland ) works of painting , drawing , illustration and literature as well as medical or sex education works (e.g. the sex book by Günter Amendt , 1979) can fall under the prohibition of child pornography.

A discrepancy emerges between legal evaluation, social science analysis and public discussion . While the legal assessment is based on the rule of law (protected legal interests ) and the social science analysis examines the production and effects of child pornography, the public discussion is mostly aimed at moral considerations. This often leads to misunderstandings between the public and criminal law experts in the event of controversies about the tightening of sex criminal law.


Child pornography is spread through writings, photographs, film recordings and animations . Whether a literary or possibly artistic representation of child pornography can claim the artistic freedom of Article 5 of the Basic Law for itself is a matter of dispute. Since child pornography in Germany has a catchy quality according to the definition of pornography and thus gives the image or the event a drastic character, works that are limited to hints are not included by definition.

In principle, from a legally formal point of view, art and pornography are not mutually exclusive in Germany. This means that art objects can also be considered pornography.

In other countries (e.g. Sweden), however, artists have already been convicted of drawings and illustrations classified as child pornography, while others (e.g. the photographers Jock Sturges and David Hamilton in the USA) have gone to lengthy trials for the publication rights for their controversial girls' nudes enforced. In the case of the novel Josefine Mutzenbacher , a child pornographic product from 1906, the Federal Constitutional Court made it mandatory to weigh up the freedom of art . In Germany, for example, there are currently no legal objections to the Whore Talks (1913) by Heinrich Zille , although this work also contains textual and graphic depictions of sexual acts with under 14-year-olds. In contrast, the uncut version of the feature film Play We Love , which was screened in German cinemas in 1977 without any legal objection, has been confiscated in Germany as child pornography since 2006. In other countries, including Austria, the film can still be distributed.

Commercial child pornography

In some countries, for example Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, only the production and not the distribution of child pornography were banned in the 1960s and 1970s. The pornographic material distributed there included nudes of minors, but also sexual intercourse between children. One of the largest providers of commercial child pornography was the Danish Color Climax Corporation .

The revenue generated from commercial child pornography today is unknown. A 2009 UN study estimated the global sales of child pornography to be between USD 3 and 20 billion. However, there is no evidence of the methodology or the origin of this number in the study.

Despite extensive investigative efforts, no indications of a significant commercial production of child pornography from the 1980s could be found. The abandonment of anonymity through payment and the offer of free images make commercial distribution of child pornography difficult. Media reports on child pornography rings mainly relate to private, non-commercial exchanges of child pornography.

There is also no known evidence for the existence of a “commercial mass market [s] for child pornography on the Internet” described by Federal Family Minister Ursula von der Leyen in the course of the discussion about the blocking of websites in Germany . The lawyer and criminal lawyer Udo Vetter doubts that there is such a mass market or even a “child porn industry”. He estimates that 98 percent of child pornographic material is pictures and films that have been exchanged for years or even decades. In the case of newly circulated material, a lot indicates that it is abuse in the private sphere.

Abuse mostly takes place within families. The cruelest child pornography images also come mostly from perpetrators from the family circle. They publish them out of profile addiction and therefore free of charge. According to the 2007 police crime statistics in Germany, sexual abuse of children was committed by lone perpetrators in 94% of all cases.

While child pornography was sold “under the counter” to a small extent until the 1980s, the advent of the Internet made it much more widespread, including through non-commercial barter. It often takes place through file sharing , IRC, and Usenet . To avoid prosecution, z. B. in file sharing sites, images with child pornography are required as a kind of "access authorization". Since investigating officers are not allowed to comply with this (they are not allowed to commit any criminal act), they cannot investigate directly in the file sharing sites.

After an initial sharp increase in the number of investigations into the possession of child pornography since the introduction of the possession ban in Germany in 1993, they have remained at a level of around 4,000 per year. Of these, around 2.7 percent of the cases relate to commercial or gang behavior. Most of the suspects acted alone. There is no evidence of a commercial mass market in Germany. The criminal scene isolates itself from the public.

Dissemination via the Internet (online child pornography)

According to the Munich State Criminal Police Office and the Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter , child pornography is distributed in Germany via file sharing networks, email distribution lists or traditionally by post. Websites hardly play a role.

According to the Lower Saxony State Criminal Police Office, hard child pornography is usually distributed by post. The Internet is used for communication, but not as a transport medium. The material only ends up on the Internet through later exchange . In this case, however, it is mostly not on websites , but on Usenet or in file sharing sites .

According to the analysis of the youth welfare activist and media scientist Korinna Kuhnen, who is part of the German Bundestag as an expert, the child porn scene is not presented on the web, but evades persecution through isolation. The relevant material has long since ceased to be open to outsiders. In her dissertation on child pornography and the internet , she writes in her dissertation that the perpetrators should only be able to find what they are looking for if there is a “clear intention” .

According to the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter, the material is almost always exchanged free of charge.

The police crime statistics in Germany recorded an increase of 55% in the possession, procurement and distribution of child pornography in 2007 compared to 2006 (from 7,318 to 11,357 cases). The acquisition of child pornography via the Internet even increased by 111% between 2006 and 2007 (from 2936 to 6206 cases). The above figures represent the number of investigations initiated. The increase is due to increased investigative efforts, such as Operation Himmel , with many of these investigations having to be closed again. In 2008, the number of investigations into the possession and supply of child pornography decreased by 24% (from 8,832 cases in 2007 to 6,707 cases in 2008). The sum of the two proliferation offenses remained almost constant at the level of previous years (2876 cases after 2872 in 2007 and 2897 in 2006).

Measures against child pornography in communication networks

Draft of a stop sign (April 2009) that should be displayed when accessing blocked pages that are indexed as child pornography. According to the law, the stop message should inform the user about the blocking of the site, the reasons for this and how to contact the Federal Criminal Police Office. The Federal Criminal Police Office should design the stop message.

On April 17, 2009 , the Federal Government signed a contract with five major Internet providers to block child pornography sites on the Internet . Internet offers should be blocked by them according to a daily updated list of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). The Federal Criminal Police Office refused to publish the contract text in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act; this is justified with the resulting threat to public security and the protection of the copyrights of the Internet providers concerned.
The initiative, based on an initiative by Ursula von der Leyen , met with massive criticism from lawyers, IT professional associations, civil rights activists, data protectionists, scientists and victims of abuse. An e-petition against the introduction of a blocking infrastructure has been signed by more than 130,000 citizens. According to critics, it is problematic that documentation of sexual abuse is only hidden, but is still easily accessible for pedophiles. It is more efficient to have child pornographic material found deleted, which does not cause any problems internationally. In addition, the lack of judicial control of the secret blacklists constitutes a violation of the constitutional separation of powers , which enables websites of all kinds to be censored. On June 18, 2009, the Bundestag passed the Access Difficulty Act , which, unlike the previous draft, no longer provided for the criminal evaluation of the stored access data. Some politicians such as B. Uwe Schünemann have already expressly requested that the barriers to youth pornography be extended. The Access Difficulty Act was never applied and was repealed by the Bundestag on December 1, 2011.

Uwe Schünemann also founded the White IT alliance in November 2009 , in which the IT industry, science, doctors, psychotherapists and victim protection associations undertake to jointly look for solutions.

Criminal law and prosecution

International law
Green : possession of any pornography (including child pornography) is legal.
Orange : Possession of child pornography is illegal.
Red : possession of any pornography is illegal.
Gray : No data available.

Article 34 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child deals with protection against sexual abuse. With the exception of two countries ( USA and Somalia ), all countries worldwide (193 as of December 5, 2008) had ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child; currently (as of November 24, 2013) there is "only one non-ratifier left worldwide: the USA."

EU law

The framework decision 2004/68 / JI of the Council of the European Union enacted legally binding minimum provisions for the member states for dealing with child pornography in 2003.

Child pornography is therefore considered to be pornographic material with pictorial representations of real or realistically represented, non-real children who are actively or passively involved in a clearly sexual act, including provocative display of the genitals or the pubic area of ​​children. A child is defined as any person under the age of eighteen with reference to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child .

It was left to the individual member state whether depictions of people with a child-like appearance also fall under the criminal offense of child pornography.

The framework decision was replaced in 2011 by Directive 2011/93 / EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 13, 2011 on combating sexual abuse and exploitation of children and child pornography.


According to § 184b StGB, the distribution of "child pornography" is punishable. Since the last amendment, the legislature has defined pornographic representations as such, which have as their object:

  • sexual acts by, on or in front of children (persons under 14 years of age),
  • the reproduction of a completely or partially unclothed child in an unnaturally gender-emphasizing posture, or
  • the sexually provocative rendering of a child's bare genitals or bare buttocks.

In the case of depictions of actual events or realistic depictions, possession is already a criminal offense.

“Fonts” is understood to mean the extended term “font” according to Section 11 (3) StGB. In addition to non-image literature, this also includes images, films and sound recordings. Representations stored on data carriers are treated the same as other representational representations, such as paper images. Real-time displays, for example phone calls, live chats or sexual acts in front of viewers, are not covered by the term, but their recordings are. However, according to a decision of the Federal Court of Justice in 2013, which is based on the predominant literary opinion, the special criminality of § 184b Abs. 2, 4 StGB with regard to such writings, which reproduce an actual or realistic occurrence, only applies to graphic, not purely textual Representations.

Traditionally, the jurisprudence assumed that depictions of sexual acts or erotic representations were not simply pornographic. According to this, pornography, also in the form of child pornography, is only to be accepted “if an obtrusively coarse, distorting and incisive representation that is reduced to sexual stimulation and contradicting reality is chosen” and “if sexual processes are excluded from all other human references be brought to the fore in a grossly obtrusive manner and their overall tendency is aimed exclusively or predominantly at lustful interest in sexual things ”.

In the explanatory memorandum for the law, when youth pornography was introduced in 2008 , the legislature assumed, in contradiction to this, that for criminal liability under Section 184b of the Criminal Code (child pornography) it is sufficient that the text deals with the sexual abuse of children without referring to the pornographic one Character of the representation would matter.

The Federal Court of Justice took up this reason in its first decision on the subject in February 2014. He decided that the term pornographic in the legal text is fulfilled by any sexual representation. As a justification, he stated that the judicial definition of pornography was based on the degradation of the portrayed as interchangeable and separate from their personal and social references. This degradation is always given in sexual representations and actions on, with and in front of children. Therefore, no further coarse features are required. In its initial reactions, the judgment met with criticism from jurisprudence. Marc Liesching wrote that the BGH did not know or had referred to its own case law from 1978 on the regulation at that time, which was identical in word to this. In addition, the BGH's argumentation is political and does not rely on the legal methodology of interpretation. As a result, the judgment is not a confirmation of the legislature, but rather a teleological repair of an assumed error of the legislature. He is now called upon to delete the word "pornographic" from the law if he actually means any sexual representation. Although planned for the 2015 Criminal Code reform, this project has not yet been implemented.

In German criminal law, the following penalties are stipulated for acts in connection with child and youth pornography:

action Child pornography Youth pornography
Subject: pornographic depictions of sexual acts by, on or before ...
or rendering in an unnaturally gender-emphasizing posture of ...
(in the case of children, including sexually provocative depictions of the
naked genitals or the naked buttocks)
People under 14 years of age People between 14 and 18 years of age
Dissemination (also preparatory acts, in particular production for dissemination)
Passing on if actual occurrence or realistic
production if actual occurrence
three months to five years imprisonment up to three years imprisonment or a fine
commercial or band distribution or passing on six months to ten years imprisonment three months to five years imprisonment
Acquisition or possession, if that is what actually happened Up to three years imprisonment or a fine,
even in the case of realistic events
up to two years imprisonment; Exception in the case of production for the personal use of the manufacturer,
if the young person has consented

In addition, the crime products or objects (i.e. the porn) and the proceeds from the crime (e.g. money earned from sales) are confiscated .

If children are actually involved in the production of child pornography, criminal liability for the sexual abuse of children according to Section 176 of the German Criminal Code is likely. If the intention to disseminate was already there, the penalty according to Section 176a (3) StGB is imprisonment from two to fifteen years. Since in these cases there is a unit of offense , the punishment would be based on the law that threatens the heavier punishments, in this case usually according to Section 176a (3).

The mere viewing of relevant material as such is already a criminal offense, whereby the limit of criminal liability is exceeded when using a computer if the material has reached the actual sphere of control of the viewer through the (automatic) intermediate storage of files in the browser cache . The volatile caching in the main memory of the computer is also qualified as possession and punishable according to the basic judgment of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court Hamburg . Against the case law of the Hamburg Higher Regional Court, it can be objected that there is a lack of control required for ownership when loading data into the working memory. Ownership would be given even if you made sure through browser settings that no data is loaded into the Internet cache. Furthermore, the question arises as to what effects it has when the relevant material is viewed on a third-party computer.

The legislature justifies the ban on child and youth pornography with the protection of minors . The protected legal interest is the undisturbed personal development of children and young people, which is derived from Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law. The criminal acts consist of abstract dangerous offenses ; that is, it is irrelevant whether or not there was an actual, specific risk or even damage in the individual case.

At least in some forms of the prohibition it is scientifically unclear whether the assumed hazard context exists. In the Mutzenbacher decision , however , the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the legislature may issue a legal ban even in a scientifically unclear situation and only on the basis of its own assessment that a hazard cannot be completely ruled out. In a controversial decision on the criminal liability of sibling incest , the Federal Constitutional Court also decided in 2008 that criminal norms are not subject to stricter requirements with regard to the purposes pursued with them and that such norms cannot be derived from criminal law doctrine .

In the Mutzenbacher decision mentioned above , it was also established that child pornography can also be art and thus be subject to the special protection of artistic freedom ( Article 5 (3) of the Basic Law).

Another criminal provision can be found in the Youth Protection Act . According to § 27 in connection with § 15 Abs. 2 Nr. 4 JuSchG, those who deal with media that "depict children or adolescents in an unnatural, gender-emphasized posture" are punished with imprisonment of up to one year or with a fine that they are accessible to children or young people. As a parent's privilege, the transfer of such and other media that is harmful to minors to children and adolescents by the respective custodian is explicitly excluded from criminal liability.

The dissemination, acquisition and possession of child and youth pornographic publications are considered a serious criminal offense according to Section 100a of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which can justify the secret monitoring and storage of a suspect's telecommunications.

History and legal development

From January 1, 1872 to 1975, child pornography was generally classified as "lewd writings, pictures or representations" and was not mentioned more explicitly in the law.

From 1872 to 1900 the maximum penalty for distribution was 1000 thalers, 300 marks or 6 months in prison, with the Lex Heinze the penalty was increased to one year. In 1973 the name was changed from lewd to pornographic. Since January 1975 child pornography has been mentioned in the legal text itself for the first time.

"Anyone who disseminates pornographic writings (Section 11 (3)) that deals with acts of violence, the sexual abuse of children or sexual acts by people with animals, ... produces ... is subject to imprisonment for up to one year or with Fined. "

- Section 184 of the StGB Paragraphs 3-5, version of February 1975

Possession and procuring of possession were made a criminal offense for the first time in 1993, and the threat of punishment for the other characteristics was increased to a minimum of three or six months and a maximum of five years.

“(3) Anyone who disseminates pornographic writings (Section 11, Paragraph 3), which ... has the sexual abuse of children ... as their object, ... produces ... will ... be imprisoned for three months up to five years ... punished.

(4) ... if they reflect an actual event, the penalty is imprisonment from six months to five years if the perpetrator acts on a commercial basis or as a member of a gang that has joined forces for the continued commission of such acts.

(5) Anyone who undertakes to obtain possession of pornographic writings for himself or a third party (Section 11, Paragraph 3) that deals with the sexual abuse of children will, if the writings reflect an actual event, be punished with imprisonment up to one year or a fine. Anyone who owns the fonts specified in sentence 1 will also be punished. "

- Section 184 of the StGB (3-5), version dated September 1, 1993

In 1997, the term "actual occurrence" (sexual abuse) was replaced by the term "actual or realistic occurrence" and thus expanded. In 1998, the maximum sentence for acts committed professionally or as part of gang membership was increased from five to ten years.

On April 1, 2004, the facts were transferred to Section 184b of the Criminal Code. The main regulations of the previous regulation were adopted. The penalty for owning child pornography that reproduces an actual or realistic event was increased in 2004 from one year to two years (and in 2015 to three years) for those who procured the possession of someone else the maximum penalty of one year increased to a minimum penalty of three months and a maximum penalty of five years or ten years for commercial or gang-based offenses.

In 2008 and 2015 the definition of child pornography was changed:

"Pornographic writings (Section 11 (3)) that deal with the sexual abuse of children (Sections 176 to 176b) (child pornographic writings),"

- Section 184b of the StGB version of April 1, 2004

"Pornographic writings (Section 11 (3)) that deal with sexual acts by, on or in front of children (Section 176 (1)) (child pornographic writings),"

- Section 184b of the StGB, version dated November 5, 2008

"Child pornography is a pornographic font (Section 11, Paragraph 3) if its subject matter is:

a) sexual acts by, on or in front of a person under fourteen years of age (child),

b) the reproduction of a completely or partially unclothed child in an unnaturally gender-emphasizing posture or

c) the sexually provocative reproduction of the bare genitals or the bare buttocks of a child, "

- Section 184b StGB current version since January 27, 2015

Also introduced on January 27, 2015:

"A prison sentence of up to two years or a fine is punished for anyone who 1. creates or offers a picture of the nudity of another person under the age of eighteen in order to provide it to a third person for a fee, or 2. for himself or a third person for a fee. "

- Section 201a paragraph 3 StGB current version since January 27, 2015

In 2008, in a separate provision, Section 184c , the distribution and possession of “ youth pornographic writings ” that relate to sexual acts by, on or in front of people between 14 and 18 years of age was made a criminal offense for the first time.

Since November 5, 2008, the distribution, possession, etc. of so-called posing photos has also been a criminal offense. Initially, this meant photos with images of children who “show off their uncovered genitals or buttocks in a provocative way”. Such exposure regularly fulfills the alternative of “sexual acts by children” in Section 184b (1) StGB (version of November 5, 2008). In the legal literature, the view was taken that all cases are still unpunished in which a child is depicted in a provocative posture, but does not act , but lies in a posture (or sits or stands) without his will . This is especially the case with postures of sleeping children or with postures that were forced by previous tying up a child, also with close-ups of the genitals or the buttocks, because such photos do not show unequivocally whether one of the aforementioned cases may not be present . Even in the current version, a characteristic of every child pornographic font is still a “pornographic font”.

A draft law on the "Access Difficulty" for child pornographic websites was published by the Bundestag on April 22, 2009 , but the Access Difficulty Act was never applied and on December 1, 2011 it was repealed early. The draft stipulated that in future all known pages with child pornographic content should be redirected by the Internet providers to a page with a stop sign. The model, which is used in other countries (including the Scandinavian countries), has prevented tens of thousands of accesses to child pornography offers every day, according to the reasons for the draft law. There were around 15,000-18,000 hits a day in Norway and around 50,000 blocked hits a day in Sweden. The draft law was sharply criticized by IT professional associations and even victims' associations. The locks are easy to bypass and therefore ineffective. In addition, they would only represent screens; the illegal material is still available online, while it is possible to have child pornographic material deleted both domestically and abroad. The providers of child pornography would get an early warning system with the help of the stop signs. In addition, the law is a violation of the separation of powers . There is also the possibility of blocking pages without child pornographic content, since the list is to be maintained by the BKA alone and therefore there is no possibility of control by the judiciary . An e-petition has been tabled against the bill. The petition already had over 50,000 signatories on the 4th day (May 8, 2009) and was therefore publicly discussed in front of the German Bundestag. Even after the required 50,000 citizens signed the petition, the number of participants rose sharply and, with 134,014 citizens signing, became the strongest petition of all time in the Federal Republic.

The 2015 legal reform was triggered by the Edathy affair . The German Child Protection Association and the abuse commissioner of the German federal government, Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig , as well as various politicians called for a tightening of the legal situation in February 2014. A general ban on the commercial distribution of nude photos of children is necessary. In September 2014 the federal government submitted a draft law. She proposed increasing the statute of limitations for child pornography, making the attempt to commit a criminal offense under Section 184b as well as the retrieval of child pornography on the Internet, and tightening Section 201a . The draft was passed in the Bundestag on November 14, 2014 with slight changes.


Pursuant to Section 207a of the Criminal Code, possession, production, distribution and knowingly access to pornographic representations of underage persons are punishable by law. "Minors" are people under 14 years of age. "Pornographic representations" are defined as realistic images of a sexual act or an event which, depending on the circumstances, gives the impression that it is a sexual act on or with an underage person. In the same paragraph there are also provisions on pornographic depictions of persons of age (14 to 17 years of age), see also youth pornography # legal situation in Austria .

The terms "representation" and "realistic" are explained in the explanations as follows:

  • Representation is meant here on the one hand as an umbrella term, which includes both images that reproduce a real action or a real event to real people or real people - basically unmanipulated - (Paragraph 4 Nos. 1-3), as well as virtual images ( Paragraph 4 no.4).
  • An image or representation is realistic when it reaches a level in terms of reproduction quality and recognizability that is commonly referred to as photographic in the sense of documentary, i.e. gives the viewer the impression of being an eyewitness.

In Austrian criminal law, the following penalties are stipulated for acts in connection with pornographic depictions of minors:

action depicted minors depicted mature
Possession (also attempt to obtain possession), knowledgeable access on the Internet Up to two years' imprisonment Imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to 720 daily rates
Production, distribution up to three years imprisonment
Manufacture, transport if commercially or for the purpose of dissemination six months to five years imprisonment
Production and distribution as a member of a criminal organization, in the case of a particularly serious disadvantage of the minor,
production using severe force and in the case of grossly negligent endangerment of the life of the person depicted
one year to ten years imprisonment

While German law generally speaks of writings , i.e. also includes text, pure text works (such as the book Josefine Mutzenbacher ) are not punishable under Austrian criminal law.


Until 1994, child pornography was dealt with in the Pornography Act , which merely prohibited the distribution of lewd objects and writings for profit . On the initiative of the Federal Minister at the time, Ruth Feldgrill-Zankel , the study Die Knospe child pornography in Austria was carried out , which subsequently led in 1994 to the creation of Section 207a "Pornographic depictions with minors" of the Criminal Code . Section 207a in the version at that time prohibited the production, distribution and possession of "pictorial representation [s] of a sexual act on an underage person or an underage person on himself, on another person or with an animal, considering them according to the circumstances gives the impression that such a sexual act took place in their production ”.

With the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2004, the EU framework decision on combating child pornography was implemented in Austria, the heading of Section 207a was changed to "Pornographic depictions of minors" and youth pornography was also banned - albeit with restrictions.

At the beginning of 2009, Section 207a was supplemented by Paragraph 3a, which, in addition to the production, distribution and possession, also makes knowingly accessing pornographic representations of minors on the Internet a punishable offense.

US law

In the United States , child pornography is defined by US Code Title 18 Section 2256. This includes all visual representations of "sexually explicit conduct" with people under the age of 18. "Sexually explicit conduct" is defined here as all types of sexual intercourse , sodomy , masturbation , sadistic or masochistic abuse and the pleasure-oriented display of the genitals or the pubic region . This explicitly includes retouched images that give the impression of depicting minors; On the other hand, it does not include images that show no real person or no person who can be identified with a real person. Written works are also not covered by the definition in the United States because they are not visual representations. The educational book Zeig mal! Which was also sold legally in bookshops in the USA in the 1970s . by Will McBride is now classified as child pornography in some states. The mere possession of the book has already led to indictments and in at least one case to a suspended prison sentence.

A special feature is the fact that even trying to obtain child pornographic material is a criminal offense. This allows the responsible law enforcement authorities to also use honeypots for their investigations.

Known preliminary investigations

Since the mid-1980s and increasingly in the course of the 1990s, child pornography has attracted media interest. Some investigations such as “Operation Landslide” or “Operation Marcy” found international media coverage.

Operation Landslide

"Operation Landslide" was described in the media in 1999 as "the greatest blow to commercial child pornography of all time". According to media reports, Landslide Inc. was associated with 5,000 child pornography websites and 250,000 consumers and earned $ 1.4 million a month from child pornography. Thomas Reedy, the owner, was sentenced to 1,335 years and his wife to 15 years. Landslide was a service company that processed credit card payments for traditional pornography providers . Two of the website operators for whom Reedy was active offered child pornography on their pages. In 1997 and 1998 these websites generated sales in the millions of dollars. In the course of the operation, a database of 250,000 people was found. The FBI subsequently published offers on the seized Landslide website that were intended to give the impression of child pornography. In the course of this "sting operation" there were numerous investigations against those interested in this offer, including many in Austria , Germany and Great Britain with a total of around 7,000 cases.

Operation Marcy

“Marcy” was a large-scale international operation in September 2003 against private swap groups for child pornography, in the course of which around 26,000 suspects were identified, around 530 of them in Germany. The operation was staged in the media. Numerous camera teams were present during the house searches and arrests. In Germany alone, 745 computers, at least 35,500 CDs, 8,300 diskettes and 5,800 videos were seized. It is unclear how high the proportion of child pornography was.

Operation Mikado

The "Operation Mikado" caused a sensation in January 2007 because it was the first time that the banking industry itself checked all approximately 22 million German credit cards for certain payments. The data of 322 suspects were handed over to the judicial authorities.

Operation Flo

In February 2007, 2361 people from 77 countries were identified as part of "Operation Flo" who were suspected of having downloaded child pornographic film files from an Austrian file-sharing server. 406 of the suspects came from Germany and 23 from Austria.

Operation Heaven

In the course of "Operation Himmel", which was directed against Internet child pornography, preliminary proceedings were initiated against around 12,000 people from Germany and other suspects from 70 other countries in the second half of 2007. This is the largest number of suspects to be found in a German police operation. In December 2007, it emerged that of the 12,000 suspects, only a few had actually looked for child pornography. Many of the proceedings had to be discontinued immediately because many of the persons identified had reached the relevant websites without intent "only for seconds" (for example due to hyperlinks in unsolicited e-mails ) and were therefore not relevant to criminal law. For these reasons, the action was subsequently criticized. In one case, on July 8, 2008 , the Aachen regional court retrospectively revoked a search warrant of the Aachen local court as inadmissible. Since the affected citizen's computer was only connected to a child pornographic site for a few seconds and six child pornographic images were only transmitted as preview images , the district court denied the existence of an initial suspicion of intentional procurement of prohibited files. The confiscated PC had to be returned to its owner without evaluating the data carrier (Regional Court Aachen, file number 68 Qs 56/08). The approximately 500 preliminary investigations initiated against residents of the city of Cologne alone have been closed without exception.

Operation Susi

The "Operation Susi" was a large-scale manhunt in the Federal Republic of Germany , in which in January 2009 an MMS network for the distribution of child pornography via mobile phone was uncovered for the first time . The network is said to have been the largest illegal swap for child pornography to date. The name "Susi" comes from the name of the photo file that was found on the mobile phone of a 33-year-old man from Northern Hesse and that triggered the investigation.

The police searched the homes of 465 suspects within four months as part of the operation, which involved around 1,000 police officers. More than 600 telephones, several hundred computers , thousands of hard drives , USB sticks and memory cards and more than 16,000 CDs, DVDs and some videos were confiscated. The search extended to all federal states, with the following number of searches: Baden-Württemberg: 42, Bavaria: 76, Berlin: 1, Bremen: 1, Brandenburg: 24, Hamburg: 3, Hesse: 36, Lower Saxony : 56, North Rhine-Westphalia: 85, Rhineland-Palatinate: 27, Saarland: 3, Saxony-Anhalt: 33, Saxony: 19, Schleswig-Holstein: 23, Thuringia: 25 and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: 11.

Welcome to video

After the platform Welcome to Video in the Darknet was unearthed in March 2018 by an international cooperation, 337 users were arrested and charged by the US Department of Justice on October 16, 2019. 23 children were freed from ongoing abuse situations, payments from around 1 million Bitcoin addresses are an indication of a similarly high number of users. The operator of the website, a 23-year-old South Korean was sentenced to prison in his home country and has also been charged under US law.

Controversy on the criminal liability of non-real child pornography

While some people see "virtual" child pornography (such as drawings or computer-generated images with corresponding content) as a victimless crime and its prohibition as an attack on artistic freedom , the proponents of the prohibition see the legal equation of such representations with "real" child pornographic photo and film material justifies that virtual representations can also induce real child abuse or play it down. It remains unclear why this dangerous effect of depictions should only exist in the case of child pornography (and there even in virtual material), but not in all other criminal offenses against children - the virtual and even the realistic depiction of acts of killing children, for example, is not prohibited.

The media impact reached on this issue no clear result, even when access to regular pornography rather than child abuse preventive factor is seen.

A Swiss study on the delinquency of users of child pornography after six years has shown that the consumption of child pornography alone does not represent a risk factor for subsequent physical sexual offenses. The majority of the surveyed consumers had no previous convictions for physical sex offenses, and for them the prognosis for subsequent physical sex offenses as well as for recidivism in relation to child pornography was favorable.

Some sex researchers see aggressive legislation against child and youth pornography as an attempt by sexually hostile, morally conservative groups to criminalize pornography in general. However, since this is not possible due to the political climate and legal rights of freedom in Western countries, laws against child and youth pornography are being enforced instead, which are formulated so comprehensively that not only child and youth pornography, but all pornographic content or even the display of it Make nudity a criminal offense.

In the USA, for example, the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 tightened the legal definition of child pornography to such an extent that any pornographic representation by real people that could be interpreted as a sexual act by under 18s must be classified as child pornography and prosecuted , even with 30-year-old actresses with pigtails. This law was brought down to the Supreme Court as unconstitutional in 2002 by a lawsuit brought by the porn industry backed by US civil rights movements. In 2003, with the PROTECT Act, another bill with a similar content was put into force; the legal dispute is still ongoing.


  • Heidi Gerlinger: longing for love? An analysis of the child prostitution phenomenon. Verlag der Jugendwerkstatt, Östringen 1994, ISBN 3-925699-22-8 .
  • Michael Schetsche: Internet crime. Data and discourses, structures and consequences. In: Martina Althoff u. a. (Ed.): Between anomie and staging. Nomos VG, Baden-Baden 2004, ISBN 3-8329-0561-8 , pp. 307-329.
  • Gisela Wuttke: child prostitution, child pornography, tourism. Lamuv-Verlag, Göttingen 1998, ISBN 3-88977-531-4 .
  • Dirk Wüstenberg: Changes in criminal law regarding pornographic writings with children and young people in Germany. In: Archive for Copyright and Media Law (UFITA) 2009, pp. 497–517.
  • Andreas Popp : Prosecution of child and youth pornographic "writings". Time for a paradigm shift in criminal law for the protection of minors? In: Journal for International Criminal Law Dogmatics 2011, 193 ( PDF )

Web links

Commons : Child Pornography  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Child pornography  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
 Wikinews: Child Pornography  - In The News

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Karlsruhe District Court, Az. 31 Gs 1824/06
  2. ^ Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Najat M'jid Maalla . (PDF) A / HRC / 12/23, July 13, 2009, No. 44.
  3. Government resolves key points for web blocking law
  4. The Child Porn Blockade
  6. Disguise Tactics
  7. Against abuse e. V. - The families
  8. Von der Leyen's dubious argumentation
  9. ( Memento of the original from May 11, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Police crime statistics 2002
  11. a b Four reasons against internet blocking . n-tv
  12. Von der Leyen's dubious argumentation . In: Die Zeit , No. 20/2009
  13. Obfuscation tactics: The arguments for blocking child pornography come to nothing , Spiegel online . April 17, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  15. Child pornography on the web - Interpol should help with blockade ( Memento from July 26, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  16. Police crime statistics 2007 . ( Memento of the original from January 12, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF) Federal Ministry of the Interior, Public Relations Department, p. 7. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  17. ^ Draft of the law to combat child pornography in communication networks . ( Memento of the original of May 21, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology - Planned changes to the Telecommunications and Telemedia Act . (PDF; 36 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  18. Time series of police crime statistics from 1987 to 2007 ( Memento of the original from March 3, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  19. Disguise Tactics .
  20. The police crime statistics 2008 are here . MOGiS
  21. ^ Federal Criminal Police Office: Application for inspection of files according to the Freedom of Information Act. May 7, 2009 (PDF; 157 kB)
  22. Declaration by parents in IT professions on Internet blocking ( Memento from June 18, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  23. Working group against Internet blocking and censorship
  24. MOGiS (Abuse Victims Against Internet Locks)
  25. Despite everything e. V.
  26. ↑ The Federal Council has "serious concerns" about blocking child pornography., June 12, 2009
  27. a b Bundestag overturns internet blocks . In: Frankfurter Rundschau , December 1, 2011.
  28. ^ State and economy united against child pornography . Heise online
  29. With "White IT" for more consistent child protection . Dr. med. Gisbert Voigt, Lower Saxony Medical Association, November 24, 2010
  30. Convention on the Rights of the Child at the UN Treaty Collection (English).
  31. Ronen Steinke: Hope for Child Soldiers - Somalia and South Sudan ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . November 24, 2013, accessed April 9, 2014 .
  32. Directive 2011/93 / EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 13, 2011 on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, as well as replacing the Council Framework Decision 2004/68 / JHA.
  33. Federal Court of Justice: Decision of the 1st Criminal Senate of March 19, 2013 - 1 StR 8/13 -
  34. OLG Karlsruhe, judgment of September 26, 2005, Az. 2SS 256/05.
  35. German Bundestag:  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Page 38, June 18, 2006.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  36. BGH: judgment of the 1st criminal senate of February 11, 2014 - 1 StR 485/13 - , paragraph 50.
  37. Marc Liesching: Not all pornography is the same - BGH judgment of February 11, 2014 - 1 StR 485/13 . In Beck blog, June 20, 2014.
  38. landmark ruling Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Hamburg, judgment of 15 February 2010 2 - 9.27 (REV), 2 - 27/09 - 86/09 1 Ss .
  39. Mutzenbacher decision , paragraph 34 ff. ( Wording ).
  40. Federal Constitutional Court: 2 BvR 392/07, sentence 39 ff. ( Wording ).
  41. Mutzenbacher decision , paragraph 28 ff. ( Wording ).
  42. a b c d Comparison of the different versions of §184: (all versions), (from April 1, 1987), (only the latest version)
  43. § 184 StGB Verg
  44. Federal Law Gazette 1973 I p. 1725, page 1734/1735, Art. 12, Paragraph 2, Paragraph 3, No. 2, Fourth Law on the Reform of Criminal Law (4th StrRG) of 23 November 1973
  45. Federal Law Gazette 1973 I p. 1725, page 1729/1730, Artt. 1 No. 16, 12 para. 1, Fourth Law on the Reform of Criminal Law (4th StrRG) of November 23, 1973
  46. BGBl. 1974 I p. 469 page 485, Artt. 20 No. 1, 326 para. 1, Introductory Act to the Criminal Code (EGStGB) of March 2, 1974
  47. Federal Law Gazette 1993 I p. 1346 27th Criminal Law Amendment Act
  48. BGBl. 1997 I p. 1879 Information and Communication Services Act of July 22, 1997
  49. Federal Law Gazette 1998 I p. 164 6th law on the reform of criminal law of January 12, 1998
  50. Law amending the provisions on criminal offenses against sexual self-determination and amending other provisions (SexualÄndG) of March 27, 2003
  51. a b c d Comparison of the different versions of §184b: ,
  52. a b BGBl. 2008 I p. 2149
  53. a b BGBl. 2015 I p. 10
  54. Lexetius
  55. Röder: After the last amendment to § 184b StGB: Is the distribution of so-called "Posing" photos still unpunished? In: New Journal for Criminal Law (NStZ). 2010, pp. 113-119;
    Fischer: Criminal Code. 59th edition. 2012, Section 184b No. 4th
  56. In detail, Röder: NStZ. 2010, pp. 117-119.
  57. André Anwar: Child pornography: Above all, symbolic value, Swedes satisfied with Internet blockades / banks should block payment channels. In: Märkische Allgemeine . March 27, 2009, accessed September 20, 2012 .
  58. Despite everything e. V.
  59. Victims of abuse against Internet blocking (MOGiS) .
  60. Working group against Internet blocking and censorship .
  61. Stefan Krempl: Federal Cabinet passes draft law on child porn bans. In: Heise Online . April 22, 2009, accessed April 9, 2014 .
  62. Detlef Borchers: Child porn bans in an international comparison. In: Heise Online. February 22, 2009, accessed April 9, 2014 .
  63. Petition: Internet - No indexing or blocking of Internet pages . ( Memento from May 25, 2012 in the web archive )
  64. Child Protection Association calls for tougher laws. ( Memento from February 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) , February 18, 2014.
  65. ^ Draft of a law amending the Criminal Code - Implementation of European provisions on sexual criminal law. ( Memento of the original from October 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , German Federal Government (PDF). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  66. Decision recommendation and report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection (6th Committee). German Bundestag, November 12, 2014; accessed on November 16, 2014 (PDF).
  67. ↑ Explanatory notes on the 2004 Criminal Law Amendment Act (PDF; 260 kB).
  68. Federal Act of March 31, 1950 on Combating Indecent Publications and the Protection of Young People from Moral Danger ( Memento of April 8, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  69. ^ Maria Rauch-Kallat, 37th session of the National Council of the Republic of Austria, XX. Legislative period, September 19, 1996 .
  70. Federal Law Gazette No. 622/1994 Federal Law: Amendment of the Criminal Code , August 19, 1994 ( Memento of January 8, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  71. Federal Law Gazette I No. 40/2009
  72. ( Memento of February 4, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Accessed February 4, 2008.
  73. . Accessed February 4, 2008.
  74. FBI lures surfers into the trap .
  75., accessed February 19, 2007.
  76. Operation Heaven - "Insane administrative effort for almost nothing" . ( Memento of the original from January 2, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. net-tribune @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  77. Operation "Heaven": Investigators criticize child porn operation as a flop . Mirror online
  78., accessed February 14, 2009.
  79. ( Memento of the original from January 28, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved February 2, 2008. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  80. Major action against child pornography ( memento of the original from January 29, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Süddeutsche from January 21, 2009 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  81. ^ "Susis" pictures via MMS ( Memento from December 10, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Netzeitung from January 23, 2009
  82. Police blow up MMS child pornography for the first time ( Memento from August 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Tagesschau from January 23, 2009
  83. Police press: Police Homburg ( Memento of the original from January 31, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  84. Huge child pornography platform in the Darknet stopped, October 16, 2019, accessed October 16, 2019.
  85. James D. Weinberg: Sexual Landscapes. P. 397 ff.
  86. Jerome Endrass, Frank Urbaniok , Lea C. Hammermeister, Christian Benz, Thomas Elbert, Arja Laubacher, Astrid Rossegger: The consumption of Internet child pornography and violent and sex offending. (PDF) In: BMC Psychiatry. July 14, 2009; Retrieved July 5, 2011
  87. Brenda Love: The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. Abacus, 2002, ISBN 0-349-11535-4 , p. 393.
  88. 11th Circuit decision in United States v. Williams (PDF)