Europe, world’s biggest internet child abuse hub: study

Europe, world’s biggest internet child abuse hub: study


A new study shows Europe is now the world’s biggest host of websites of child sexual abuse images.

A new study conducted in Britain shows that Europe has overtaken North America as the largest internet hub for child sexual abuse imagery.

The results of the study released on Monday by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) said that sexual abuse images and videos published last year in whole Europe accounted for 60 percent of global online content in the domain and showed a 19-percent increase compared to 2015.  

North America hosted around 37 percent of the websites, down from 57 percent in 2015, said the annual report.

The IWF, an alliance of tech companies and law enforcement based in Cambridge, added that the Netherlands had 20,972 or 37 percent of child sexual abuses websites in 2016, the world’s highest number followed by the United States with 12,492 (22 percent), Canada with 8,803 (15 percent), France with 6,099 (11 percent) and Russia with 4,176 (7 percent).

The organization said it received 8.2 million reports on the issue in 2016, nearly two times the figure recorded in the previous year. This came despite the advance in the technology used to track online crimes, it said.

The study found a 258-percent rise in the purchase and abuse of new internet domains for child sexual abuse last year, compared to 2015, adding that the use of techniques for masking abuse images and videos on the internet also showed a significant increase in 2016.

The IWF’s chief executive, Susie Hargreaves, said the situation was deteriorating and urged internet companies to address the issue.

“Internet companies and large businesses who are doing nothing, or too little, to address online child sexual abuse imagery need to step up and work with us … The global picture isn’t good,” Hargreaves said in a statement. 


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