Nick Kristof’s Sunday column from last weekend has a chilling account of child pornography consumption in the United States. According to a Justice Department study, in 2009 more than 21 million unique IP addresses were used to share child pornography images. Nine million of them came from within the United States.

A part of the column that really struck me what Kristof’s explanation of what child pornography actually is:

There’s sometimes a perception that child pornography is about teenage girls pulling off their tops. That’s not remotely what we’re talking about.

“If we were starting over, we wouldn’t call it child pornography,” says Ernie Allen, president of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “This is different. This is not pornography. These are crime scene photos. These are photos of the abuse of a child.

Fair warning: this post is difficult to read. But the column is an important eye-opener to a significant problem that is all around us.

Photo credit: puamelia [CC-BY-SA-2.0] via Flickr