In this opinion from the Rocky Mountain News Troy A. Eid, the United States attorney for the district of Colorado, expressed his views on child exploitation.
…Perhaps the greatest misconception about child pornography, both at home and abroad, is that it is somehow a “victimless” crime. According to a 2005 NCMEC study, more than 40 percent of U.S. defendants arrested for possessing child pornography are actually “dual offenders”: They possessed child pornography and sexually abused child victims in the very same criminal investigation.
The same study found that another 15 percent of these dual offenders attempted to sexually victimize children by using the Internet to solicit undercover officers who posed online as minors. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has estimated that at any given moment, 50,000 sexual predators are prowling the Internet trying to contact child victims.