Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. This includes pictures, videos, and digital or computer generated images.

Although child pornography is a global issue, according to an anti-human trafficking organization, Thorn, the United States remains one of the largest producers and consumers of child abuse content in the world.

Thursday’s arrest of two Jennings residents for child pornography highlights an issue that’s widespread across the country.

According to a report by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the number of arrests for adult-produced child pornography in the U.S. practically doubled between 2000 and 2009.

Louisiana State Police Sergeant, James Anderson, says this is an issue the State Police Superintendent is focusing on, “Colonel Reeves made it a priority for us to go after individuals that affect the well-being of children. We’ve been looking into individuals that are sharing and possessing child pornography.” 

But despite their efforts, child pornography has become more accessible all across the country.

According to the NCMEC, technological advances such as smart phones, thumb drives and cloud computing have made it easier for offenders to collect, store and trade child porn. 

Thorn, says internet technology such as email, internet gaming sites, and social networking sites have also promoted communication between offenders. The organization adds that these online communities normalize offenders’ interest in children and desensitize them to the physical and psychological damages inflicted on the children being exploited.

Anderson says State Police will continue to fight this growing problem, but they can’t do it alone, “We’re always looking for help from the public, so if anyone has any information or tips please pass them on to us or to your local law enforcement agency.”

The NCMEC operates CyberTipline, which is the nation’s centralized reporting system for suspected child sexual exploitation. 

The organization says in  2017 alone, more than 10.2 million cases were reported to that tip line; a number that’s been growing each year.