How to Report Child Pornography

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It is illegal to own and/or create child pornography in the United States. Child pornography is generally defined as sexualized photos or videos of children under 18 or of children under the age of 18 performing sexual acts.

What to Do If You Encounter Child Porn 

If you encounter child pornography either online or through the U.S. mail, here is how you can report the crime to the proper authorities. If you encounter child pornography on the Internet, you can report the site address to your Internet Service Provider and your local or state FBI or Customs office listed in your telephone directory.

You can also report child pornography online by forwarding the site address to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at NCMEC will forward your report to the appropriate investigative agency for follow-up.

To collect the address (or URL) of a child-pornography website, click on the address in your browser's address bar to highlight (select) the address. Then hold down the Control key and click on the C key to copy the address. You can then paste the address into a text file or email message by holding down the Control key and hitting the V key.

Porn in the Mail

There is no free speech, First Amendment protection for child pornography. Pornographic pictures of children are not constitutionally protected speech. Such pictures are evidence of the sexual exploitation of children. If the pictures are sent through the U.S. Mail, it is a violation of federal law.

If you have information about the use of the U.S. Postal Service to send child pornography, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service listed in the white pages of your local telephone directory. More information may be obtained at the U.S. Postal Inspection Agency web page.

Why You Should Report Child Pornography

If you happen upon an image of child porn online you may think there's no point in reporting it because the image could have come from anywhere in the world so how could police possibly track down anyone involved in its creation. But, you'd be wrong. Investigators for the FBI are skilled at the type of forensic investigation required to track down the people producing these horrible images.

For example, there have been cases where investigators used wallpaper and bedsheets to identify the hotel being used by a ring of child pornographers. By reporting child pornography when you see it you're raising the chances that a child could be saved or of helping supply evidence needed to put someone who hurts children behind bars.