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Some of the remaining countries prohibited child pornography under more general obscenity laws, but some countries had no legal prohibitions.
There is also variation in prohibitions of child pornography; for example, some countries (such as the United States) prohibit only visual depictions of real children, whereas other countries (such as Canada) prohibit depictions of fictional children (e.g., anime) or nonvisual depictions (e.g., audio recordings or stories).
Briggs, Simon, and Simonsen (2011) have suggested that there is a distinction between fantasy-driven and contact-driven solicitation offenders.
The former group engages in online activities (such as sexual chat, exchange of pornographic images, or exhibitionism via Webcam) that are gratifying in and of themselves, often resulting in orgasm while online.
Faced with more cases than they can handle in a timely fashion, law enforcement and other professionals who deal with these offenders need to prioritize their resources. Given an overarching goal to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse, it makes sense to prioritize and triage child pornography cases involving production or high-level distribution over possession alone or "passive" distribution (e.g., uploading images to file-sharing programs but not actively trading with others); solicitation cases involving attempts to meet in real life over online fantasy activities (e.g., sexually explicit chat); and cases involving Internet offenders who have already sexually assaulted children or are currently doing so over those with no known contact offending history.
High-priority cases, in which children are suspected to already be victims or are at imminent risk, should receive the most attention.
The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (2010) reviewed laws in 196 countries and found that almost half (89 countries) did not have specific child pornography laws.
It is a reasonable assumption that individuals will seek out pornography content that reflects their sexual interests (Seto, Maric, & Barbaree, 2001).
Thus, pedophilic individuals will tend to seek out content depicting young children, while nonpedophilic individuals who are involved with child pornography will tend to seek out content depicting underage adolescents.
This has been demonstrated in a recent study showing that the majority of Canadian child pornography offenders assessed at a sexual behavior clinic showed more sexual arousal (assessed through penile plethysmography responses in the laboratory) to children than to adults, and in fact show a stronger relative response than do offenders with contact victims (Seto, Cantor, & Blanchard, 2006).
As well, one-third to one-half of child pornography offenders interviewed by police or by clinicians admitted they were sexually interested in children or in child pornography content (e.g., Seto, Reeves, & Jung, 2010).
The latter group, in contrast, engages in online activities to arrange real-world meetings; their online activity is more directed toward meeting offline and shorter in duration than the online interactions of fantasy-driven offenders.