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CyberTipline

The CyberTipline® receives leads and tips regarding suspected crimes of sexual exploitation committed against children. More than 2.8 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation have been made to the CyberTipline between 1998 and October 2014.

If you have information regarding possible child sexual exploitation, report it to the CyberTipline.



Purpose and function

The CyberTipline is operated in partnership with the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Secret Service, military criminal investigative organizations, U.S. Department of Justice, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force program, as well as other state and local law enforcement agencies. Reports to the CyberTipline are made by the public and Electronic Service Providers. ESPs are required by law to report apparent child pornography to law enforcement via the CyberTipline (18 U.S.C. § 2258A).

Reports are continuously triaged to help ensure children in imminent danger get first priority. Analysts review reports and:

  • Examine and evaluate the content.
  • Add related information that may be useful to law enforcement.
  • Use publicly available search tools to determine the geographic location of the apparent criminal act.
  • Provide all information to the appropriate law enforcement agency for potential investigation.

The CyberTipline reporting mechanism assists law enforcement and prosecutors in their detection, investigation and prosecution of child sexual exploitation crimes. The CyberTipline helps make law enforcement’s efforts more efficient and maximizes the limited resources available in the fight against child sexual exploitation. The value of the CyberTipline as a source of leads for law enforcement has been greatly enhanced by collaboration with ESPs.

In addition to referring CyberTipline reports to law enforcement for potential investigation, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® engages with the Internet industry on voluntary initiatives to reduce child sexual exploitation online.

Reporting categories

Possession, Manufacture and Distribution of Child Pornography

Federal law defines child pornography as the visual depiction of a minor younger than the age of 18 engaged in sexually explicit conduct (18 U.S.C. §2256). It is a crime to possess, manufacture and/or distribute child pornography (18 U.S.C. §2251 et seq.)

Online Enticement of Children for Sexual Acts

It is a crime to use the Internet to knowingly persuade, induce, entice or coerce a child younger than the age of 18 to meet for sexual acts or to attempt to arrange such a meeting (18 U.S.C. §2422(b)).

Child Sex Trafficking

It is a crime to knowingly recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide or obtain by any means a child younger than the age of 18 to engage in a commercial sex act. It is also illegal to benefit, either financially or by receiving anything of value, from participation in a prostitution venture in which children are victimized (18 U.S.C. §1591).

Sex Tourism Involving Children

It is a crime for a U.S. citizen to travel to another country intending to engage in sexual activity with a child younger than 18 that would be illegal if it occurred in the U.S. (18 U.S.C. §2423). Individuals who commit these crimes are subject to prosecution in the U.S. even if the crime was committed on foreign soil.

Extrafamilial Child Sexual Molestation

Extrafamilial child sexual molestation is the sexual abuse of a child by someone other than a family member.

Unsolicited Obscene Material Sent to a Child

It is a crime to send obscene material to a child younger than the age of 16 if the sender knows the recipient is younger than the age of 16 (18 U.S.C. §1470).

Misleading Domain Name

It is a crime to knowingly use a misleading domain name on the Internet with the intent to deceive a minor into viewing material that is harmful to minors (18 U.S.C. §2252B(b)).

Misleading Words or Digital Images on the Internet

It is a crime to knowingly embed words or digital images into the source code of a website with the intent to deceive a minor into viewing material that is harmful to minors (18 U.S.C. §2252C).

Information for ESPs

Who needs to register?

Any U.S.-based company providing an electronic communication service or a remote computing service to the public through a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce needs to register with the CyberTipline.

Why do I need to register?

Federal law (18 U.S.C. §2258A) requires ESPs to register with and report apparent child pornography to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline. Registered companies receive confirmation notices from the CyberTipline for reports they submit for compliance purposes with 18 U.S.C. §2258A.

How do I register?

Provide your company’s name and your name, phone number and email address to espteam@ncmec.org. A representative from NCMEC will contact you to complete the registration process.

What information is necessary to register?

NCMEC requests basic information regarding a company upon registration including name, location, phone number, emergency contact information and services provided to contact the company should an incident of apparent child pornography occur.

What information should I include in a report?

Please see 18 U.S.C. §2258A for details regarding report contents.



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