Internet watchdog removes 30,000 child porn sites over 10 years

MORE than 30,000 websites containing indecent images of children have been removed from the internet over the last 10 years, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) said yesterday.

The IWF found that 79% of the child victims in the images were female and that the severity of the images over the last 12 months had significantly increased.

Aside from the suspected child abuse images, 10% of reports related to apparent criminally obscene websites and 5% to suspected incitement to racial hatred.

Over the last decade, 51% of the illegal images were thought to have come from the US, 20% from Russia, 7% from Spain, 5% from Japan and 1.6% from Britain.

The British-based IWF works with 24 countries around the world who have set up equivalent organisations, targeting online message boards, photo sharing services and websites.

IWF chief executive Peter Robbins said partnerships between countries and public awareness would help the authorities deal with the problem.

He said: “We need to get people reporting these incidents.

“Any complaint against something here in the UK we can deal with through the IWF, otherwise we advise the relevant country through their hotline, if they have one, or the police that there is a problem.”

Set up in 1996, the IWF has received over 120,000 reports of illegal web content — an average of 1,000 a month. The vast majority of reports — 85% — concern suspected child abuse websites.

Now the organisation is focused on working in partnership with similar bodies around the world.

Since the creation of the IWF, the number of sites originating in Britain with illegal material has fallen from 18% to 0.2%. However, in the last 12 months, the severity of the images has significantly increased.

Now the IWF is encouraging other nations to set up hotlines for the public to report illegal web content.

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