How to Report Illegal Sexual Content

By Ann Goss

Pornographic images of anyone under 18 are illegal in the United States and should be reported immediately. Although authorities do everything possible to stop this illegal sexual content, authorities ask others to report these crimes. This includes child pornography and suggestive messages found on websites, chat rooms or in emails, as well as photographs found in printed materials and magazines. In 1998, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children launched the CyberTipline making it easy for people to report illegal sexual content to a number of bureaus at once. CyberTipline reports possible crimes to the FBI, Department of Immigration, U.S. Postal Inspections Unit and the Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Telephone

Reporting Illegal Sexual Content Online

Step 1

Collect as much detail as possible. The more information authorities receive, the better the chances of them convicting the suspect. Windows users press print screen (PrtSc Sys Req) button to capture images of emails or Internet chats with illegal sexual content. Open an image editor such as Paint and select "edit" and then "paste" so that the image appears on your screen. Click save to store the file on your computer. Mac OS X users press "command," "shift" and "3" to save a PNG file or command, control, shift and 3 to copy to the clipboard. Linux/Unix users direct the mouse to the area where they want to capture an image and press "alt" and "print screen."

Step 2

Visit CyberTipline (see Resources). Find the red box in the center of the screen and click the arrow next to the words “The CyberTipline.” An online form appears on a new screen.

Step 3

Complete the information required in the “Reporting Person” section. Fill in the date and time you noticed the illegal sexual content. Choose the best option for “Type of Incident” from the menu. Fill in your name and contact information only if you want to, it is not required. Enter the state where the incident occurred.

Step 4

Fill in the information under “Internet Information.” Answer all questions as accurately as possible. Complete the full website address, chat room name and the channel and server if it is known. Provide authorities with your user name and password. They use this information to access the chat room and catch the suspect in the act. Copy and paste illicit email information into the box at the bottom.

Step 5

Complete the information regarding the child victim. This information is not required if you're uncertain who is in the picture or video.

Step 6

Fill in the suspect information. Again, this information is not required. Complete this section only if you know the suspect's name and contact information.

Step 7

Report the name, phone number and agency name of any law enforcement you contacted. If you have not reported the crime, skip this section.

Step 8

Add details to the "Additional Information" box. Provide as much information as possible to help authorities. If you've captured screen shots, let the authorities know in this box.

Reporting Illegal Sexual Content Over the Phone

Step 1

Follow Step 1 in the above section regarding screen shots.

Step 2

Dial 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678). Wait for a specialist to answer.

Step 3

Provide detailed information regarding the illegal sexual content you found. Include dates, times, chat room information and other pertinent information.

Step 4

Answer any questions the specialist asks; answer honestly and with as much detail as possible. Even minor details are helpful to investigators.

Step 5

Ask for a secure email where you can send copies of any screen shots you saved.