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Publication Federal Prosecution of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Cases, 2004-2013

William Adams, Abigail Flynn, Urban Institute

October 12, 2017    NCJ 250746

Examines commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) cases prosecuted in the federal criminal justice system between 2004 and 2013. CSEC offenses include child pornography production, child pornography possession, and child sex trafficking. The report describes persons investigated by federal law enforcement and referred to U.S. attorneys, and cases prosecuted, adjudicated, and sentenced in U.S. district court for CSEC offenses, including the disposition of CSEC matters concluded by U.S. attorneys, reasons matters were declined for prosecution, pretrial release rates, demographic characteristics of suspects charged with CSEC offenses, and key case outcomes, such as rates of conviction and length of prison sentences imposed. Findings are based on data from BJS's Federal Justice Statistics Program, with source data provided by the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Highlights:

  • From 2004 to 2013, a total of 37,105 suspects were investigated and referred to U.S. attorneys for commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) offenses.
  • The FBI was the lead investigative agency in 45% of CSEC matters investigated and referred to U.S. attorneys from 2004 to 2013.
  • Nearly all defendants convicted of CSEC offenses from 2004 to 2013 were sentenced to federal prison (98%).
  • The mean prison sentence imposed on CSEC defendants in 2013 was 11.6 years.
  • Six in 10 suspects in CSEC matters investigated and referred to U.S. attorneys from 2004 to 2013 were prosecuted in U.S. district court.

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Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP)

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