A deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, John G. Malcolm, told the Committee: "Because the Internet has popularized the trade in child pornography, there has been a surge in demand and a corresponding surge in production of child pornography."
Malcolm said a survey by the National Society of the Prevention of Cruelty of Children found that around 20,000 images of child pornography were posted each week. Half the children featured in these images are between the ages of 9-12 years-of-age - the rest are younger, he said.
"Each image is a tragedy and a gruesome memorial of trauma, abuse, powerlessness and humiliation that will be with that child for the rest of his or her life."
Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Orrin Hatch said peer-to-peer (P2P) networks were the worst means of distributing online child pornography. "Recent studies have shown that millions and millions of pornographic files are available for downloading on these networks at any given time," said Hatch.
He added: "The result of all this porn is that there are 11-, 12- or 13-year-old children being treated for pornography addictions."
"I am currently considering legislative solutions to the many risks inherent in the use of peer-to-peer networks. Almost half of the people who use these networks are minors," he said. µ