EU a ‘toxic warehouse’ of child sexual abuse, as lawmakers urged to ‘get a grip’ on spiralling problem

Published:  Wed 13 Sep 2023

The most extreme child sexual abuse imagery hosted in the EU is “spiralling out of control” as lawmakers are urged to clamp down on criminals using the continent as a “toxic warehouse for dangerous criminal material”.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is warning that “ruthless” criminal gangs are exploiting EU member states as “safe havens” to host abhorrent criminal imagery of children suffering sexual abuse, rape, and torture.

New data published today (September 14) by the IWF shows EU hosting of child sexual abuse material has increased by 26% so far this year compared to the same period last year*.

The data also shows that the most extreme kinds of child sexual abuse, which can include rape, bestiality, and sadism, (known in the UK as Category A material) being hosted in the EU has risen 54% compared to 2022.



Read our press releases for Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden below.


 

  • Between January 1 and August 25 this year, the IWF identified 101,988 webpages containing child sexual abuse material which were hosted on servers in EU countries. Each webpage may contain thousands of images or videos of children being abused.
  • This compares to 80,977 pages in the same period in 2022 – a 26% increase.
  • Of all the webpages the IWF discovered so far this year, 21,651 contained Category A material – depicting the most extreme forms of child sexual abuse. Category A material can include rape, bestiality, and sadism and sexual torture.
  • This is a 54% increase on the same period in 2022 – when 14,094 webpages contained Category A material.

The IWF is now calling on EU lawmakers to “get a grip” on the worsening situation, and support forthcoming legislation to tackle the spread of online child sexual abuse material.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “If these were warehouses full of drugs, or weapons, there would be instant action to rid countries of these ruthless criminal gangs.

“It should be no different with child sexual abuse material. Criminals are looking to where they can store their evil and exploitative imagery, and they see the EU as a safe haven. The situation risks spiralling out of control.

“These gangsters are turning the continent into a toxic warehouse for this dangerous criminal content. The EU must now pass vital legislation to prevent the spread of child sexual abuse material. Failing to do so will only ensure the situation continues to worsen, and will send a clear message to criminals and abusers that the EU is a safe place for them to operate. This must not be allowed to happen.”

The EU regularly tops the IWF’s list of the worst places for the hosting of this material. The Netherlands in particular has become known for hosting criminal imagery.

So far in 2023, the IWF has confirmed 75,251 webpages hosted in the Netherlands that harbour child sexual abuse imagery. This is a 107% increase on the 36,323 webpages identified in the same period in 2022.

The IWF has warned that even countries which have not historically had issues with criminal hosting of imagery are finding themselves facing worsening situations.

Germany has seen a 150% increase in hosting of child sexual abuse material (9,862 URLs detected from January 1, 2023, to August 25 compared to 3,944 in the same period in 2022).

Estonia has seen a 4,000% increase in the amount of child sexual abuse being hosted in the country – with 164 webpages being traced to the country compared with only four during the same period in 2022*.

Ms Hargreaves added: “Countries need to know that all it takes is a couple of bad image hosts to wash up on their shores. That’s all they need to take root – and soon they will be the destination of choice.

“There is no room for complacency. We must stamp this out now and send a strong message.”

 

Finland

EU a ‘toxic warehouse’ of child sexual abuse, as Finnish lawmakers urged to back new legislation

The Internet Watch Foundation says criminal gangs are finding ‘safe havens’ to harbour abuse imagery in EU countries.


The most extreme child sexual abuse imagery hosted in the EU is “spiralling out of control” as Finnish lawmakers are urged to take a stand against criminals using the continent as a “toxic warehouse for dangerous criminal material”.  

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is warning that “ruthless” criminal gangs are exploiting EU member states as “safe havens” to host abhorrent criminal imagery of children suffering sexual abuse, rape, and torture.

New data published today (September 14) by the IWF shows EU hosting of child sexual abuse material has increased by 26% so far this year compared to the same period last year*.

Finland has seen a 35% increase during this period**, with the IWF warning it only takes a couple of bad image hosts for this content to “take root”.

The data also shows that the most extreme kinds of child sexual abuse, which can include rape, bestiality, and sadism, (known in the UK as Category A material) being hosted in the EU has risen 54% compared to 2022.

  • Between January 1 and August 25 this year, the IWF identified 101,988 webpages containing child sexual abuse material which were hosted on servers in EU countries. Each webpage may contain thousands of images or videos of children being abused.
  • This compares to 80,977 pages in the same period in 2022 – a 26% increase.
  • Of all the webpages the IWF discovered so far this year, 21,651 contained Category A material – depicting the most extreme forms of child sexual abuse. Category A material can include rape, bestiality, and sadism and sexual torture.
  • This is a 54% increase on the same period in 2022 – when 14,094 webpages contained Category A material.

The IWF is now calling on EU lawmakers to “get a grip” on the worsening situation, and support forthcoming legislation to tackle the spread of online child sexual abuse material.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “If these were warehouses full of drugs, or weapons, there would be instant action to rid countries of these ruthless criminal gangs.

“It should be no different with child sexual abuse material. Criminals are looking to where they can store their evil and exploitative imagery, and they see the EU as a safe haven. The situation risks spiralling out of control.

“These gangsters are turning the continent into a toxic warehouse for this dangerous criminal content. The EU must now pass vital legislation to prevent the spread of child sexual abuse material. Failing to do so will only ensure the situation continues to worsen, and will send a clear message to criminals and abusers that the EU is a safe place for them to operate. This must not be allowed to happen.”

The EU regularly tops the IWF’s list of the worst places for the hosting of this material. The Netherlands in particular has become known for hosting criminal imagery.

So far in 2023, the IWF has confirmed 75,251 webpages hosted in the Netherlands that harbour child sexual abuse imagery. This is a 107% increase on the 36,323 webpages identified in the same period in 2022.

The IWF has warned that even countries which have not historically had issues with criminal hosting of imagery are finding themselves facing worsening situations.

Germany has seen a 150% increase in hosting of child sexual abuse material (9,862 URLs detected from January 1, 2023, to August 25 compared to 3,944 in the same period in 2022).

Estonia has seen a 4,000% increase in the amount of child sexual abuse being hosted in the country – with 164 webpages being traced to the country compared with only four during the same period in 2022*.

Ms Hargreaves added: “Countries need to know that all it takes is a couple of bad image hosts to wash up on their shores. That’s all they need to take root – and soon they will be the destination of choice.

“There is no room for complacency. We must stamp this out now and send a strong message.”

 

EU Hosting CSAM table

EU Hosting Table Category

Germany

EU a ‘toxic warehouse’ of child sexual abuse, as criminals target German servers

The Internet Watch Foundation says criminal gangs are finding ‘safe havens’ to harbour abuse imagery in EU countries.


The most extreme child sexual abuse imagery hosted in the EU is “spiralling out of control” as criminals target German servers to host rising levels of “dangerous criminal material”.  

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is warning that “ruthless” criminal gangs are exploiting EU member states as “safe havens” to host abhorrent criminal imagery of children suffering sexual abuse, rape, and torture.

New data published today (September 14) by the IWF shows EU hosting of child sexual abuse material has increased by 26% so far this year compared to the same period last year*.

Germany has seen a 150% increase in hosting of child sexual abuse material (9,862 URLs detected from January 1, 2023, to August 25 compared to 3,944 in the same period in 2022).

The data also shows that the most extreme kinds of child sexual abuse, which can include rape, bestiality, and sadism, (known in the UK as Category A material) being hosted in the EU has risen 54% compared to 2022.

  • Between January 1 and August 25 this year, the IWF identified 101,988 webpages containing child sexual abuse material which were hosted on servers in EU countries. Each webpage may contain thousands of images or videos of children being abused.
  • This compares to 80,977 pages in the same period in 2022 – a 26% increase.
  • Of all the webpages the IWF discovered so far this year, 21,651 contained Category A material – depicting the most extreme forms of child sexual abuse. Category A material can include rape, bestiality, and sadism and sexual torture.
  • This is a 54% increase on the same period in 2022 – when 14,094 webpages contained Category A material.

The IWF is now calling on EU lawmakers to “get a grip” on the worsening situation, and support forthcoming legislation to tackle the spread of online child sexual abuse material.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “If these were warehouses full of drugs, or weapons, there would be instant action to rid countries of these ruthless criminal gangs.

“It should be no different with child sexual abuse material. Criminals are looking to where they can store their evil and exploitative imagery, and they see the EU as a safe haven. The situation risks spiralling out of control.

“These gangsters are turning the continent into a toxic warehouse for this dangerous criminal content. The EU must now pass vital legislation to prevent the spread of child sexual abuse material. Failing to do so will only ensure the situation continues to worsen, and will send a clear message to criminals and abusers that the EU is a safe place for them to operate. This must not be allowed to happen.”

The EU regularly tops the IWF’s list of the worst places for the hosting of this material. The Netherlands in particular has become known for hosting criminal imagery.

So far in 2023, the IWF has confirmed 75,251 webpages hosted in the Netherlands that harbour child sexual abuse imagery. This is a 107% increase on the 36,323 webpages identified in the same period in 2022.

The IWF has warned that even countries which have not historically had issues with criminal hosting of imagery are finding themselves facing worsening situations.

Estonia has seen a 4,000% increase in the amount of child sexual abuse being hosted in the country – with 164 webpages being traced to the country compared with only four during the same period in 2022*.

Ms Hargreaves added: “Countries need to know that all it takes is a couple of bad image hosts to wash up on their shores. That’s all they need to take root – and soon they will be the destination of choice.

“There is no room for complacency. We must stamp this out now and send a strong message.”

 

EU Hosting CSAM table

EU Hosting Table Category

Netherlands

Netherlands situation worsens as lawmakers urged to ‘get a grip’ on spiralling child sexual abuse problem

The Internet Watch Foundation says criminal gangs are finding ‘safe havens’ to harbour abuse imagery in EU countries.


Criminals are storing even more child sexual abuse imagery on Dutch servers as lawmakers face calls to clamp down on criminals hosting criminal content.   

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is warning that “ruthless” criminal gangs are exploiting EU member states as “safe havens” to host abhorrent criminal imagery of children suffering sexual abuse, rape, and torture.

New data published today (September 14) by the IWF shows EU hosting of child sexual abuse material has increased by 26% so far this year compared to the same period last year*.

The Netherlands in particular has become known for hosting criminal imagery, and has seen a big increase this year.

So far in 2023, the IWF has confirmed 75,251 webpages hosted in the Netherlands that harbour child sexual abuse imagery. This is a 107% increase on the 36,323 webpages identified in the same period in 2022.

The data also shows that the most extreme kinds of child sexual abuse, which can include rape, bestiality, and sadism, (known in the UK as Category A material) being hosted in the EU has risen 54% compared to 2022.

  • Between January 1 and August 25 this year, the IWF identified 101,988 webpages containing child sexual abuse material which were hosted on servers in EU countries. Each webpage may contain thousands of images or videos of children being abused.
  • This compares to 80,977 pages in the same period in 2022 – a 26% increase.
  • Hosting in the Netherlands has got 107% worse than levels recorded in 2022.
  • Of all the webpages the IWF discovered so far this year, 21,651 contained Category A material – depicting the most extreme forms of child sexual abuse. Category A material can include rape, bestiality, and sadism and sexual torture.
  • This is a 54% increase on the same period in 2022 – when 14,094 webpages contained Category A material.

The IWF is now calling on lawmakers to “get a grip” on the worsening situation, and support forthcoming legislation to tackle the spread of online child sexual abuse material.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “If these were warehouses full of drugs, or weapons, there would be instant action to rid countries of these ruthless criminal gangs.

“It should be no different with child sexual abuse material. Criminals are looking to where they can store their evil and exploitative imagery, and they see the EU as a safe haven. The situation risks spiralling out of control.

“These gangsters are turning the continent into a toxic warehouse for this dangerous criminal content. The EU must now pass vital legislation to prevent the spread of child sexual abuse material. Failing to do so will only ensure the situation continues to worsen, and will send a clear message to criminals and abusers that the EU is a safe place for them to operate. This must not be allowed to happen.”

The IWF has warned that even countries which have not historically had issues with criminal hosting of imagery are finding themselves facing worsening situations.

Germany has seen a 150% increase in hosting of child sexual abuse material (9,862 URLs detected from January 1, 2023, to August 25 compared to 3,944 in the same period in 2022).

Estonia has seen a 4,000% increase in the amount of child sexual abuse being hosted in the country – with 164 webpages being traced to the country compared with only four during the same period in 2022*.

Ms Hargreaves added: “Countries need to know that all it takes is a couple of bad image hosts to wash up on their shores. That’s all they need to take root – and soon they will be the destination of choice.

“There is no room for complacency. We must stamp this out now and send a strong message.”

 

EU Hosting CSAM table

EU Hosting Table Category

Portugal

EU a ‘toxic warehouse’ of child sexual abuse, as Portuguese lawmakers warned of criminal gangs

The Internet Watch Foundation says criminals are finding ‘safe havens’ to harbour abuse imagery in EU countries.


The most extreme child sexual abuse imagery hosted in the EU is “spiralling out of control” as Portuguese lawmakers are warned there’s “no room for complacency”.   

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is warning that “ruthless” criminal gangs are exploiting EU member states as “safe havens” to host abhorrent criminal imagery of children suffering sexual abuse, rape, and torture.

New data published today (September 14) by the IWF shows EU hosting of child sexual abuse material has increased by 26% so far this year compared to the same period last year*.

The IWF has warned that even countries which have not historically had issues with criminal hosting of imagery are finding themselves facing worsening situations – saying it only takes a few bad image hosts to turn a country into a haven for abusers.

The data also shows that the most extreme kinds of child sexual abuse, which can include rape, bestiality, and sadism, (known in the UK as Category A material) being hosted in the EU has risen 54% compared to 2022.

  • Between January 1 and August 25 this year, the IWF identified 101,988 webpages containing child sexual abuse material which were hosted on servers in EU countries. Each webpage may contain thousands of images or videos of children being abused.
  • This compares to 80,977 pages in the same period in 2022 – a 26% increase.
  • Of all the webpages the IWF discovered so far this year, 21,651 contained Category A material – depicting the most extreme forms of child sexual abuse. Category A material can include rape, bestiality, and sadism and sexual torture.
  • This is a 54% increase on the same period in 2022 – when 14,094 webpages contained Category A material.

The IWF is now calling on EU lawmakers to “get a grip” on the worsening situation, and support forthcoming legislation to tackle the spread of online child sexual abuse material.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “If these were warehouses full of drugs, or weapons, there would be instant action to rid countries of these ruthless criminal gangs.

“It should be no different with child sexual abuse material. Criminals are looking to where they can store their evil and exploitative imagery, and they see the EU as a safe haven. The situation risks spiralling out of control.

“These gangsters are turning the continent into a toxic warehouse for this dangerous criminal content. The EU must now pass vital legislation to prevent the spread of child sexual abuse material. Failing to do so will only ensure the situation continues to worsen, and will send a clear message to criminals and abusers that the EU is a safe place for them to operate. This must not be allowed to happen.”

The EU regularly tops the IWF’s list of the worst places for the hosting of this material. The Netherlands in particular has become known for hosting criminal imagery.

So far in 2023, the IWF has confirmed 75,251 webpages hosted in the Netherlands that harbour child sexual abuse imagery. This is a 107% increase on the 36,323 webpages identified in the same period in 2022.

Germany has seen a 150% increase in hosting of child sexual abuse material (9,862 URLs detected from January 1, 2023, to August 25 compared to 3,944 in the same period in 2022).

Estonia has seen a 4,000% increase in the amount of child sexual abuse being hosted in the country – with 164 webpages being traced to the country compared with only four during the same period in 2022*.

Ms Hargreaves added: “Countries need to know that all it takes is a couple of bad image hosts to wash up on their shores. That’s all they need to take root – and soon they will be the destination of choice.

“There is no room for complacency. We must stamp this out now and send a strong message.”

 

EU Hosting CSAM table

EU Hosting Table Category

Slovakia

Warnings over ‘toxic warehouse’ of child sexual abuse, as Slovakia remains third worst in EU

The Internet Watch Foundation says criminal gangs are finding ‘safe havens’ to harbour abuse imagery in EU countries.


The most extreme child sexual abuse imagery hosted in the EU is “spiralling out of control” as Slovakian lawmakers are urged to clamp down on criminals using the continent as a “toxic warehouse for dangerous criminal material”.  

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is warning that “ruthless” criminal gangs are exploiting EU member states as “safe havens” to host abhorrent criminal imagery of children suffering sexual abuse, rape, and torture.

New data published today (September 14) by the IWF shows EU hosting of child sexual abuse material has increased by 26% so far this year compared to the same period last year*.

Despite managing to reduce the amount of child sexual abuse material hosted in the country, Slovakia remains the third worst in the EU for hosting this material.

The data also shows that the most extreme kinds of child sexual abuse, which can include rape, bestiality, and sadism, (known in the UK as Category A material) being hosted in the EU has risen 54% compared to 2022.

  • Between January 1 and August 25 this year, the IWF identified 101,988 webpages containing child sexual abuse material which were hosted on servers in EU countries. Each webpage may contain thousands of images or videos of children being abused.
  • This compares to 80,977 pages in the same period in 2022 – a 26% increase.
  • Of all the webpages the IWF discovered so far this year, 21,651 contained Category A material – depicting the most extreme forms of child sexual abuse. Category A material can include rape, bestiality, and sadism and sexual torture.
  • This is a 54% increase on the same period in 2022 – when 14,094 webpages contained Category A material.

The IWF is now calling on EU lawmakers to “get a grip” on the worsening situation, and support forthcoming legislation to tackle the spread of online child sexual abuse material.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “If these were warehouses full of drugs, or weapons, there would be instant action to rid countries of these ruthless criminal gangs.

“It should be no different with child sexual abuse material. Criminals are looking to where they can store their evil and exploitative imagery, and they see the EU as a safe haven. The situation risks spiralling out of control.

“These gangsters are turning the continent into a toxic warehouse for this dangerous criminal content. The EU must now pass vital legislation to prevent the spread of child sexual abuse material. Failing to do so will only ensure the situation continues to worsen, and will send a clear message to criminals and abusers that the EU is a safe place for them to operate. This must not be allowed to happen.”

The EU regularly tops the IWF’s list of the worst places for the hosting of this material. The Netherlands in particular has become known for hosting criminal imagery.

So far in 2023, the IWF has confirmed 75,251 webpages hosted in the Netherlands that harbour child sexual abuse imagery. This is a 107% increase on the 36,323 webpages identified in the same period in 2022.

The IWF has warned that even countries which have not historically had issues with criminal hosting of imagery are finding themselves facing worsening situations.

Germany has seen a 150% increase in hosting of child sexual abuse material (9,862 URLs detected from January 1, 2023, to August 25 compared to 3,944 in the same period in 2022).

Estonia has seen a 4,000% increase in the amount of child sexual abuse being hosted in the country – with 164 webpages being traced to the country compared with only four during the same period in 2022*.

Ms Hargreaves added: “Countries need to know that all it takes is a couple of bad image hosts to wash up on their shores. That’s all they need to take root – and soon they will be the destination of choice.

“There is no room for complacency. We must stamp this out now and send a strong message.”

 

EU Hosting CSAM table

EU Hosting Table Category

Sweden

EU a ‘toxic warehouse’ of child sexual abuse, Sweden urged to ‘get a grip’ on spiralling problem

The Internet Watch Foundation says criminal gangs are finding ‘safe havens’ to harbour abuse imagery in EU countries.


The most extreme child sexual abuse imagery hosted in the EU is “spiralling out of control” as Swedish lawmakers are urged to clamp down on criminals using country’s servers as a “toxic warehouse for dangerous criminal material”.  

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is warning that “ruthless” criminal gangs are exploiting EU member states as “safe havens” to host abhorrent criminal imagery of children suffering sexual abuse, rape, and torture.

New data published today (September 14) by the IWF shows EU hosting of child sexual abuse material has increased by 26% so far this year compared to the same period last year*.

Sweden is the sixth worst country in the EU for hosting this material, having seen a 19% worsening of the situation compared to the same period in 2022**.

The data also shows that the most extreme kinds of child sexual abuse, which can include rape, bestiality, and sadism, (known in the UK as Category A material) being hosted in the EU has risen 54% compared to 2022.

  • Between January 1 and August 25 this year, the IWF identified 101,988 webpages containing child sexual abuse material which were hosted on servers in EU countries. Each webpage may contain thousands of images or videos of children being abused.
  • This compares to 80,977 pages in the same period in 2022 – a 26% increase.
  • Of all the webpages the IWF discovered so far this year, 21,651 contained Category A material – depicting the most extreme forms of child sexual abuse. Category A material can include rape, bestiality, and sadism and sexual torture.
  • This is a 54% increase on the same period in 2022 – when 14,094 webpages contained Category A material.

The IWF is now calling on EU lawmakers to “get a grip” on the worsening situation, and support forthcoming legislation to tackle the spread of online child sexual abuse material.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “If these were warehouses full of drugs, or weapons, there would be instant action to rid countries of these ruthless criminal gangs.

“It should be no different with child sexual abuse material. Criminals are looking to where they can store their evil and exploitative imagery, and they see the EU as a safe haven. The situation risks spiralling out of control.

“These gangsters are turning the continent into a toxic warehouse for this dangerous criminal content. The EU must now pass vital legislation to prevent the spread of child sexual abuse material. Failing to do so will only ensure the situation continues to worsen, and will send a clear message to criminals and abusers that the EU is a safe place for them to operate. This must not be allowed to happen.”

The EU regularly tops the IWF’s list of the worst places for the hosting of this material. The Netherlands in particular has become known for hosting criminal imagery.

So far in 2023, the IWF has confirmed 75,251 webpages hosted in the Netherlands that harbour child sexual abuse imagery. This is a 107% increase on the 36,323 webpages identified in the same period in 2022.

The IWF has warned that even countries which have not historically had issues with criminal hosting of imagery are finding themselves facing worsening situations.

Germany has seen a 150% increase in hosting of child sexual abuse material (9,862 URLs detected from January 1, 2023, to August 25 compared to 3,944 in the same period in 2022).

Estonia has seen a 4,000% increase in the amount of child sexual abuse being hosted in the country – with 164 webpages being traced to the country compared with only four during the same period in 2022*.

Ms Hargreaves added: “Countries need to know that all it takes is a couple of bad image hosts to wash up on their shores. That’s all they need to take root – and soon they will be the destination of choice.

“There is no room for complacency. We must stamp this out now and send a strong message.”

 

EU Hosting CSAM table

EU Hosting Table Category

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