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CALL IT WHAT IT IS. Help Us Change Legislation from Child Pornography TO CSAM

“When children are involved, it’s not child pornography. It’s sexual abuse, and it’s a crime.”

– Simon Bailey, Director of Strategic Engagement of Child Rescue Coalition

Many months ago, we published a blog asking the public to stop using the term child pornography. At Child Rescue Coalition we believe the use of language is important when protecting children.  We recognize that ‘child pornography’ is unfortunately still a legal definition used in charging perpetrators in the U.S., but we’d like to change that, and we need YOUR help.

Please sign our petition HERE!

WHY WE BELIEVE IN CSAM Not Child Pornography #CSAMnotCP

 Children do not choose to engage in this horrific treatment, nor do they deserve to have it filmed, distributed, and watched repeatedly by sick perpetrators. This becomes the single worst moment of their lives and they are forever traumatized. We believe evidence of their sexual abuse is not “pornography”, it’s Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).

At worst, inappropriate terminology trivializes the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Some actually believe the use of the words ‘child pornography’ benefits child sex abusers because it:

  • Indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim, and therefore legality on the part of the abuser.
  • Conjures images of children posing in provocative positions, rather than suffering horrific sexual abuse.

Please sign the petition and demand change in legislation from child pornography to child sexual abuse material. Words matter.


We believe Child Sexual Abuse Material is a more accurate description and we’re not alone. Child Rescue Coalition has joined forces with:

  • Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
  • International Justice Mission (IJM)
  • EPCAT International
  • Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
  • International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC)
  • Global Survivor Network (GSN)
  • National Child Protection Task Force (NCPTF)
  • Phoenix 11
  • Canadian Centre for Child Protection
  • WePROTECT Global Alliance

Together, these powerful child protection organizations are asking the general public, media, and law enforcement to use appropriate language and legislators to change the legal definition to CSAM.

Please sign our petition HERE!

Founder of Child Rescue Coalition, Carly Yoost said, “Terms matter. Words matter. Calling this type of crime what it really IS matters. This is why most of the leading nonprofit organizations fighting against the sexual abuse of children refer to this type of material as Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). It can be difficult for some law enforcement to stop referring to it as Child Pornography until the laws have been changed to support the proper language. If we get on the same page, calling it what it is, then we can work together to end this horrific abuse.”

Simon Bailey, Director of Strategic Engagement of Child Rescue Coalition adds, “I’ve never known such an important group of child protection organizations to come together in this way. It shows how strong the feeling is to have this long overdue change made–something that should be an easy thing to do. It is the absolute minimum that survivors of this horrific crime deserve and the time is now.


Here’s what some of our partners in this fight have to say:

“The Phoenix 11 are encouraged by the Child Rescue Coalition’s endeavor to change the language around child sexual abuse imagery. As survivors, we feel to call the sexual abuse and exploitation that we and so many others have been subjected to “child pornography” implies consent and cheapens the grotesque nature of our abuse. We firmly believe that words matter and support the CRC’s petition wholeheartedly.”

– The Phoenix 11

“As an organization committed to reducing online child sexual exploitation, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children fights to build greater public awareness of these horrific crimes and to find solutions that provide more support for the victims. Using terminology that puts victims first is critical to that fight. We have long advocated for use of the phrase, ‘child sexual abuse material,’ because terminology like ‘child pornography’ is both inadequate and inaccurate in describing the rape and sexual abuse of children. We must call it what it is.”

John Clark, President and CEO, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

“Child sexual exploitation is a serious crime which devastates families and indelibly affects its victims throughout their life.  It’s important that we respect and dignify victims by utilizing appropriate language and terminology.  Terms like ‘Child Pornography’ and its derivatives such as ‘Child Porn’ or ‘Kiddie Porn’ trivialize the horrific crime and are offensive to the victims/survivors.”Jim Cole, Supervisory Special Agent, Homeland Security Investigations

“The sexual abuse and exploitation of children displayed in videos, images, and livestreams should be called what it is—Child Sexual Exploitation Material (CSEM) or, in some instances, Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).  The term ‘child pornography’ must be retired.” — John Tanagho, Director, INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION ®

To include children in the notion of pornography is to ignore that children cannot legally consent to the sexual acts they are being subjected to and, worse, to ignore that the children depicted are victims of serious sexual crimes. They need – and have a right to – protection, not exposure for the sexual pleasure of others. Yet the material depicting them being sexually abused is often disseminated interminably and globally, contributing to their continued exposure and trauma. This is NOT pornography.” –Dr. Susanna Greijer (Ph.D., LL.M.), Senior legal advisor to ECPAT International and co-author of the Terminology Guidelines for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse

“The Global Survivor Network stands with Child Rescue Coalition and other organizations asking our leaders, governments and societies to stop using the term ‘child pornography’ and instead use ‘child sexual abuse material’. Sexual exploitation of children that is shared or streamed online is abuse. It must be called what it is. The term ‘child pornography’ implies consent and mislabels the real experience of abuse to children who are in fact victims. The term “child sexual abuse material” draws attention to the victimization of the child, and it calls for rectification and justice.

Child pornography isn’t pornography; it is the recording of the rape of a child. We use terminology to diminish the reality of someone else’s misery, to protect us from feeling bad. It helps us overlook something terrible that happened to someone else. Worst of all, it ensures these victims suffer alone and makes it easier for society to turn a blind eye to the rape of a child. Consider your word choices carefully and call it what it is.” Kevin B Metcalf, CEO ,National Child Protection Task Force

“ICMEC was one of 18 international organizations that contributed to the Luxembourg Guidelines in 2015 in an effort to build a common vocabulary. Using the appropriate terminology when talking about the horrors of child sexual exploitation is critical in increasing awareness and ultimately increasing the effectiveness of our work in the protection of children.”
-Bob Cunningham, CEO International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children

“We have heard again and again from survivors, and firmly agree, that we must move beyond outdated language and call the recording of child sexual abuse what it really is – child sexual abuse material. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection stands with the Child Rescue Coalition and its allies in calling for this important terminology correction.” – Lianna McDonald, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Child Protection

The words we use to talk about child sexual abuse matter. This is underlined as a key element of our Model National Response framework. Language can influence our collective understanding and response to this crime. We all have a responsibility to ensure the terminology we use does not contribute to further stigma and make it harder for victims and survivors to disclose abuse and seeking help. Using the right language can help increase reporting, access to support and ultimately strengthen our response to abuse.”- Iain Drennan, Executive Director, WePROTECT Global Alliance

Please Sign & Share this Petition

Together we are asking the public to raise your voices, sign our petition, and spread the word and share it with everyone you know.  Let’s turn their whispers into roars and join the fight against child sexual abuse.