HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - You may think of child pornography as something that could never hit close to home, or some uncommon perversion. Now a new study is shedding light on the prevalence of child pornography in the United States.
The findings are unsettling.
The study focused on just one file-sharing program, Gnutella, over the course of one year. They found that just under 250,000 computers in the US were sharing and receiving images of child pornography.
"What it tells me is there are people you would not suspect involved in this," said Chris Newlin, Executive Director of the National Children's Advocacy Center.
For more perspective, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has collected more than 60 million images of child pornography from the internet. They have identified less than one percent of the victims.
Newlin points to a lack of resources available to national and local law enforcement agencies to address, and track down people disseminating images depicting sexual abuse of children.
He stresses the need is great and urgent. For every person who would claim to just 'look' at the images, Newlin suggests a much graver reality.
"If someone has this stuff on their computer, there's a very high likelihood they have abused children. Not just a child. Children."
This is why Newlin urges people who know someone who is looking at images of child pornography to turn them in.