The number of child sex abuse websites in Europe has soared and the violence shown has become more extreme, the European commission and Europol, the European police agency, warned yesterday.
Jacques Barrot, EU commissioner for freedom, justice and security said Europe was facing "an extremely dramatic situation" after the number of child abuse websites increased fourfold between 2004 and 2007. At the launch of an international coalition to disrupt finances of the online child sex trade, he warned that organised criminal gangs were making an "indecent profit" for "horrific crimes against the most vulnerable people - children".
British police who tackle online child abuse and will lead the work of the European Financial Coalition said that up to 300 commercial child abuse websites were available at any one time and earnt well in excess of €30m (£26.8m) a year. Officers at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) in London processed 1.6m images in the past year alone and identified and rescued 50 children.