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The United Kingdom's Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (part 2, chapter 2) makes possession of images portraying fictional child abuse punishable by law. Wikipedia has a summary, but here's a snip from the primary-source legalese:

(5) “Child”, subject to subsection (6), means a person under the age of 18.

(6) Where an image shows a person the image is to be treated as an image of a child if—

 (a) the impression conveyed by the image is that the person shown is a child, or

 (b) the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics shown are not those of a child.

Of particular significance is the conviction of anime fan Robul Hoque whose cartoons the court found to be infringing. As summarised by The Mirror's Gareth Lightfoot:

Despite being cartoons, they were classified as prohibited images as they depicted young girls, some in school uniforms, some exposing themselves or taking part in sexual activity.

The April 2007 consultation on the law (HTML summary) (full pdf) prepared by the UK Home Office asserts that the law helps to protect children against abuse, in § Concern about the material, ¶ 2–3:

The police, children’s charities and others represented on the Criminal Law Sub Group of the Home Secretary’s Task Force on Child Protection on the Internet are concerned that the fantasy images themselves fuel abuse of real children by reinforcing potential abusers’ inappropriate feelings towards children.

In addition, these images can be used to help groom victims. Whilst the use of these images for grooming purposes may result in a prosecution under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, making their possession an offence would enable these images to be taken out of circulation and make them unavailable for use as a grooming tool.

In ¶ 1 of the same section, the consultation also expresses a need for caution:

It is the case that cartoons, drawings and material created entirely by manipulation of computer software do not harm real children in the same way as taking indecent photographs of children, which are currently covered by legislation. The creation of a simple possession offence in respect of fantasy material is a serious step.

Australia has similarly decided to outlaw films where a naked actor "appears to look under the age of 18", regardless of actual age.

I suspect that such laws stem from a wrong working hypothesis of "fantasy leads to action". Regarding other human sexual behaviour, the contrary is supported by evidence that—

Does similar evidence exist for whether such a ban protects children from abuse?

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    You are suggesting that other people are making this claim "Possession of generated images of child abuse leads to child abuse". However, none of your many links makes that claim. Can we find someone saying that? – Oddthinking May 30 '16 at 3:56
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    I haven't yet found anyone directly stating that either. However, almost all such sources speak about the law as "closing a loophole", implying they view fictional and real images of child abuse as equivalent, and there are significant claims that that leads to child abuse. – Anko May 30 '16 at 4:06
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    @Oddthinking Found one! I edited to include quotes from the April 2007 consultation, compiled by the Home Office in preparation for enacting the law. The part "fantasy images themselves fuel abuse of real children" is clearly that. – Anko May 30 '16 at 14:47
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    @Brythan If you've got some hard evidence to back that up then I think you've got the answer to the question right there. – GordonM Sep 21 '16 at 15:19
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    @Wildcard Some types of fiction don't change people though. Sexual preferences are especially resilient. For example, "converting" gay people by showing them straight porn is ineffective. I think it is therefore reasonable to at least consider the possibility that fictional child porn would create no additional paedophiles, and may in fact give existing ones a legal "release valve", so fewer seek out the real thing. The connection can be studied ethically through passive investigation, e.g. by comparing child sexual abuse rates before and after a change in the legality of fictional CP. – Anko Jan 19 '18 at 20:11

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