Child Exploitation Networks – SSHRC

The project “Monitoring the development of online child exploitation networks” is a SSHRC Insight program, operational from 2012 – present.

Project Summary

The proposed research aims to better understand the evolution and networks of child exploitation websites. We have four objectives:

  1. develop a unique conceptual framework for analyzing the evolution of child exploitation websites by drawing from the criminal career and social network paradigms;
  2. develop an analytical framework to study the evolution of child exploitation websites and their networks over time by 1) monitoring website failures, 2) measuring escalation in severity of content,  and 3) investigating the determinants of website popularity using social network analysis;
  3. develop an automated web-crawling tool, that is integrated into a database of known child exploitation images, which searches the Internet for websites containing child exploitation content;
  4. compare the characteristics of child exploitation networks to two non-child exploitation networks (i.e., legal adult sexuality and sports genres) to see how they differ in failure, changes in content, and popularity.



Westlake, B., Bouchard, M. (forthcoming). Criminal Careers in Cyberspace: Examining Website Failure within Child Exploitation Networks. Justice Quarterly.

Bouchard, M. (2014). Outils et méthodes pour la construction et l’analyse des réseaux illicites sur Internet. Revue Internationale de Criminologie et de Police Technique et Scientifique, 67 : 317-337.

Bouchard, M., Westlake, B. (forthcoming). La détection de communautés au sein de réseaux criminels en ligne et ses implications pour les recherches en co-délinquance. In Rémi Boivin and Carlo Morselli (Eds.), Les réseaux criminels. Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal.

Joffres, K., Bouchard, M. (2015). Vulnerabilities in online child pornography networks. In Aili Malm and Gisela Bichler (Eds), Using Network Analysis to Prevent Crime. Crime Prevention Studies, Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press.

Bouchard, M. (2013). Merging computing and crime science: The development of a web-crawling tool to investigate cybercrime. Translational Criminology, 5: 15-17.

Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council