Myths & Facts

There are many myths about child sexual exploitation as well as some startling facts.


Some of these myths are ones that offenders use to justify their behaviour.

Myth 1: "In other cultures (e.g. Thailand, Cambodia), there aren’t the same taboos about sex with teens. It’s accepted there. I wouldn’t have sex with a minor here but it’s okay if I do it overseas—it’s different there."

Fact:  Sex with children and youth is not an acceptable part of anyone’s culture. Sexual slavery is often the result of families and children living in situations of poverty and/or armed conflict. Many teen girls and boys are tricked or forced into lives of prostitution. It is not a choice. It’s abuse.

Myth 2: "Some teens and kids are sexually provocative towards adults. This means they are comfortable with sexual contact."

Fact:  Children and youth who have been sexually abused may display sexualized behaviour. Although this might appear as though they are inviting and wanting sexual contact from adults, this is a symptom of their victimization as they have learned that the way to get “love/attention” from adults is to engage sexually.

This behaviour is a sign that the child/teen needs help and should be protected and not further exploited and victimized.

Myth 3: "Engaging in sex with a minor teen isn’t that big a deal. It’s not always easy to tell age and many teens lie about their age. "

Fact: An adult having sex with a teen is child abuse. It is up to the adult to determine the age of his/her sexual partner. If you’re uncertain, assume he/she is a minor.

Myth 4: "My actions won’t have a real impact on protecting children."

Fact:   Your actions can have a concrete impact on protecting children.  For example, to date reports from the public have resulted in at least 80 arrests by law enforcement and 43 children removed from abusive environments.  If you come across instances of child pornography (child abuse images and material), online luring, child exploitation through prostitution, traveling to sexually exploit children or child trafficking, please report to

Myth 5: "Child pornography isn’t that big of a problem. "

Fact: has received over 53,000 reports from the public since its establishment of which over 90% related to child pornography. also conducted a child sexual abuse images report, which analyzed 4,110 unique images reported from the public from September 2002 to March 2009. This research uncovered that 82.1% of these images depicted children under 12 years old and 35% of all images depicted serious sexual assaults. 

If you come across these types of images, don’t ignore it – report to and you could have a real impact on protecting children.

Myth 6: "Looking at child pornography has no impact on children and may prevent those viewing it from offending."

Fact:   Child pornography is more appropriately called “child abuse images” because they represent actual crime scenes of children being abused. Viewing child pornography is illegal.

Also, viewing these images contributes to the demand for their production putting more children at risk.

 Often children whose sexual abuse was posted online are haunted by the thought that there is no way to ever delete the images and they feel repeatedly violated when they think of them being viewed again and again.

There is no evidence to suggest that viewing child pornography prevents child sexual abuse, in fact, for some offenders it may contribute to an escalating desire to offend against a child in person.

Need help?

If you’re an offender or are having thoughts of sex with children, there is help.