What is considered as child pornography?

Last updated: 24 March 2022

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Images and videos depicting children naked or half-naked in a sexual situation to arouse sexual desire in others are considered as child sexual abuse material (CSAM), legally known as child pornography.

Child pornography includes the representation (image or video) of children, i.e. minors under the age of 18, in situations/positions that may arouse sexual desire in others. An image or a recording of child pornography represents sexuality in a highly obscene manner, i.e. it shows genitalia while depicting real or simulated sexual acts using minors in either active or passive roles.

Act C of 2012 on the Criminal Code

Child Pornography

Section 204

(1) Any person who:

a) obtains or have in his possession pornographic images of a person under the age of eighteen years is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment between one to five years,

b) offers, supplies or makes available pornographic images of a person under the age of eighteen years is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment between two to eight years,

c) produces, distributes, deals with or makes pornographic images of a person under the age of eighteen years available to the general public is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment between five to ten years.

(2) The punishment shall be imprisonment between two to eight years in the case of Paragraph a) of Subsection (1), between five to ten years in the case of Paragraph b) of Subsection (1), between five to fifteen years in the case of Paragraph c) of Subsection (1) if the criminal act described therein is committed:

a) against a person under the age of twelve years;

b) against a person who is in the care, custody or supervision of, or receives medical treatment from, the perpetrator, or if abuse is made of a recognized position of trust, authority or influence over the victim, or by taking advantage of the victim’s position of vulnerability;

c) by a public official, acting in such official capacity;

d) with a recording of inhuman treatment or violence; or e) by a habitual recidivist.

(3) The punishment shall be imprisonment between five to ten years in the case of Paragraph a) of Subsection (1), between five to fifteen years in the case of Paragraph b) of Subsection (1), between five to twenty years in the case of Paragraph c) of Subsection (1) if the criminal act described therein is committed with a recording of inhuman treatment of a person under the age of twelve years, or violence.

(4) Any person who:

a) provides material assistance for the criminal act defined in Paragraph c) of Subsection (1) is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment between one to five years;

b) is engaged in preparations for the commission of the crime defined in Paragraph c) of Subsection (1) is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment not exceeding three years.

(5) Any person who:

a) obtains or have in his possession pornographic images of a person over the age of fourteen years and under the age of eighteen years is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment not exceeding three years;

b) produces pornographic images of a person over the age of fourteen years and under the age of eighteen years is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment between one to five years;

if neither of the circumstances defined in Paragraphs b)-e) of Subsection (2) apply.

(6) Any person who persuades a person or persons under the age of eighteen years to participate in a pornographic recording is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment between one to five years.

(7) Any person who persuades a person or persons over the age of fourteen years and under the age of eighteen years to participate in a pornographic recording is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment not exceeding three years, if neither of the circumstances defined in Paragraphs b)-e) of Subsection (2) apply.

(8) For the purposes of this Section, ‘pornographic image’ means any image of another person or persons that displays sexuality in a gravely indecent manner of exposure specifically for arousing sexual demeanor, including the realistic representation of a person or persons who do not exist.