Wednesday, July 18

Number of child sex abuse images found online is at a record high

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A report has identified that paedophiles are using sophisticated technology to evade law enforcement.

The Internet Watch Foundation, which finds and reports illegal photos and videos worldwide has raised concerns over the volume of content featuring babies and children under the age of ten.

Paedophiles went to new lengths and used more sophisticated technology to cover up the almost 80,000 web pages which were found to be hosting child sex abuse images in 2017.

2017 saw a 37% rise in the number of such websites compared to the previous year. The Internet Watch Foundation is concerned that such figures are merely the tip of the iceberg.

Every seven minutes in 2017, the Internet Watch Foundation found a website showing a child being sexually abused. This is a rise from every nine minutes the previous year.

Susie Hargreaves, chief executive of the Internet Watch Foundation said:

“We are now receiving more reports of child sexual abuse content than ever before. We’re seeing offenders getting smarter and finding new ways to abuse legitimate internet services. It’s concerning that offenders appear to be increasingly using concealed digital pathways to prevent law enforcement and hotlines around the world detecting these criminal websites.”

She added:

“The child victims of sexual abuse online are victimised again and again, every time their picture is shared. The experience they go through at such a young age is unimaginably horrific and they frequently take this pain into adulthood with them.”

The NSPCC has called on the government to take measures to protect children as self-generated content is increasing; often victims are groomed and coerced into uploading content.

Theresa May has said that the government is working to make the UK ‘the safest place in the world to go online.’ In fact, only 0.3% of the content found by the Internet Watch Foundation was hosted in the UK. 65% was hosted in Europe, with the Netherlands being the worst country, followed by the US, Canada, France and Russia.

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About Author

Hannah is a third-year law student at the University of York and has a particular interest in public law and international criminal law. She joined Legal Loop in August 2017.

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