THE Netherlands hosts 71 per cent of the world’s child abuse material including torture and rape, warns a disturbing report.
Budget hosting services and its “strong internet infrastructure” have made the country an ideal target for paedos’ horrific material, especially during Covid-19 lockdowns, says the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).
And the child protection body’s boss warned the situation could get worse, in line with an online spike in activities of sexual predators during the coronavirus pandemic.
CEO Susie Hargreaves said: “We have seen a real and frightening jump in the amount of child sexual abuse material that is being hosted right on our doorstep here in Europe.”
She urged governments against leaving the crime “on the back burner” as the world struggles to deal with Covid-19.
“There is a lot going on in the world right now with the coronavirus crisis plunging everyone into uncharted territory, but the world should not be allowing safe havens to exist anywhere for these depraved criminals,” Hargreaves added.
The Netherlands hosts 71 per cent of the world’s child sexual abuse content found by the IWF.
This equates to 93,962 URLs, and is a huge increase from 2018 when the Netherlands was found to be hosting 47 per cent of perverts’ vile material.
In 2019, almost nine in 10 (89 per cent) known URLs containing child sexual abuse material were hosted across Europe.
This was followed by North America, which hosted nine per cent of all known child sexual abuse URLs in 2019 – halving its 2018 figure.
- In 2019, almost a third of child sexual abuse content contained self-generated imagery
- In some cases, children were groomed, deceived, or extorted into producing and sharing a sexual image or video of themselves
- 76% (29,312) showed a girl aged 11 to 13 years
- 13% (5,026) showed a girl aged 7 to 10
Dutch spokesperson Arda Gerkens said: “The Netherlands is unfortunately the biggest webhosting country when it comes to this material.”
Gerkens, CEO of EKO, which offers a helpline for victims of online sexual abuse, added: “A strong and swift infrastructure combined with low costs appeals to services that host images. Those services are often abused by people sharing this material.”
In 2019, IWF’s webcrawler scanned nearly 72 million webpages, and two-thirds of a billion images in search of their duplicates.
“A notice shown to visitors of these sites has led to more than 21,000 people seeking help for their behaviour since 2015,” the group said.
Less than one per cent of content actioned was hosted within the UK, “thanks to the work of the IWF and the unique relationship we have established with industry, law enforcement and the Government,” it said.
Hargreaves pointed out, though, that, “no country is immune to this terrible criminality.
“Whilst the UK doesn’t have the hosting issue, our problem is that many consumers of child sexual abuse live here.
“We’ve got to fight this on both fronts – both the supply and the demand.
“Together with our law enforcement and online safety colleagues, we’re very concerned about the impact of Covid-19.
“And we fully expect to see more child sexual abuse material being shared and available for some time to come; this issue must not be left on the back burner.”
The IWF is calling for “zero tolerance” across Europe “as figures show it’s a world hub for hosting child sexual abuse material”.
There are calls to make Europe a no-go zone for online sexual predators as its new figures revealed that nine in 10 webpages show videos and images of children suffering sexual abuse, rape, and torture are hosted on servers in Europe.
MOST READ IN WORLD NEWS
SHAKE SHOCKSick influencer dad arrested for shaking & twisting 6-week-old daughter by leg
‘GET OFF HER!’Husband who punched shark to save wife says it’s like ‘hitting brick wall’
DOLLED UPEx ‘Human Ken Doll’ Jessica Alves is searching for a baby daddy for TV show
GREECE FRIGHTENINGCovid spike sparks fears Greece could be added to quarantine list
UNEARTHEDCoronavirus first appeared in Chinese miners back in 2012, scientists say
PURE EVILMonster boyfriend beat mum-of-eight to death with paving slab while kids watched
The IWF is the UK-based charity responsible for finding and removing images and videos of children suffering sexual abuse from the internet.
It takes such reports from more than 30 countries.