LONDON: Europe has overtaken North America as the new global hub of juvenile pornography as it hosts 60 per cent of the world's child sexual abuse content, according to a latest report.
The annual report by the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a non-profit organisation responsible for finding and removing graphic sexual content from the internet, found that Europe has registered a 19 per cent increase in sexual abuse content since last year.
The Netherlands tops the list of European nations hosting the most online sexual imagery of children, said the report released yesterday. "The situation is reversed from previous years. Europe is now the biggest host of child sexual abuse imagery, rather than North America," Susie Hargreaves, chief executive of the IWF, told the BBC. Improved reporting and policing by internet service providers (ISP) in North America are believed to have driven the shift. Until recently, most child sexual abuse images were found in the US (57 per cent), but this has now shifted to Europe, which hosts 60 per cent of the global content, the report said.
Child abuse content has fallen in America partly because of the work undertaken by the US industry to tackle the problem. Just 37 per cent of abusive images now come from the US, Hargreaves said, adding that criminals in America are forced to search harder for host websites where they can upload child pornography. The report also stated a 258 per cent increase in new website domains being bought specifically to cast the abuse of children.
In 2016, the IWF reported that it had removed 5,335 webpages of children, fewer than previous years.