Web watchdog reports rise in graphic child sex images

    There has been a rise of nearly 10% in child sexual abuse websites featuring graphic images of penetration or torture, the internet watchdog has found.

    The Internet Watch Foundation’s annual report for 2008 showed that 58% of the websites found by investigators featured these images compared with 47% in 2007. The report, published today, also found that nearly a quarter of the children appeared to be six or younger.

    There was a 9% decrease in the same period in the number of websites showing indecent images of children.

    The watchdog revealed that nearly three-quarters of websites it traced belonged to companies that sold indecent images for profit.

    In 2008, the IWF issued 59 notices, in partnership with the police, to UK internet service providers or host companies to take down potentially illegal content hosted on UK networks. However, less than 1% of child sexual abuse content can be traced to hosts in the UK.

    “The problem with these companies is that they host in one country and then move to host in another for a few days,” said an IWF spokesperson. “This is why success relies on our international partnership with a network of hotlines, which are involved with the reporting of indecent images, and law enforcement in other countries.”

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