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Report Reveals Most Child Abuse Content on Social Media Comes From India

A recent report released by EUROPOL, the European police headquarters based in The Hague, has disclosed that India led the world in uploading the highest number of images and videos depicting child abuse on social media platforms in the past year. The findings also identified three major Islamic countries; Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Indonesia, ranking third to fifth in the disturbing list.

Top Nations Fuel the Epidemic of Child Abuse Content

According to the report, a staggering 5.67 million films and images of child sexual acts were uploaded from India in 2022. The Philippines followed with 2.76 million, Bangladesh with 2.15 million, Pakistan with 2.1 million, and Indonesia with 1.8 million.

The list includes the 20 largest contributor countries globally. Following the top five nations, the United States, the European Union, Vietnam, Iraq, Mexico, Algeria, Colombia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Egypt, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Turkey, and the UAE were also among the contributors.

Notably, within the European Union, France and Poland were reported as the top countries contributing to the content containing child abuse.

Social Media on Radar

Social media giants Facebook and Instagram reported a combined 21.17 million and 0.55 million obscene images or content to national authorities, respectively. Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, discovered and reported 26 million images in 2022. Popular apps among teenagers, Snapchat and TikTok, filed over 550,000 and nearly 290,000 reports, respectively, to the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The European Commission took action in December, ordering Meta to explain its efforts in combating the spread of illegal sexual images taken by minors through Instagram, in accordance with the EU’s new content-moderation rulebook, the Digital Services Act (DSA).

An Uphill Battle for Law Enforcement

The gravity of the crisis intensified when explicit images of the molestation of a newborn girl were uploaded. International detectives are working tirelessly to identify crucial details that could lead to the rescue of the victim and the apprehension of those responsible for the heinous act.

Law enforcement officials emphasized the challenges they face in finding and stopping child sex offenders, citing the increasing sophistication of offenders in covering their digital tracks. The use of encrypted communication online has further complicated investigators’ work, especially amid a pandemic that forced people indoors and online, resulting in an influx of abusive images and videos.

Global Call to Action

Politicians worldwide are expressing a strong desire to take action. In the EU and the UK, legislators are actively drafting laws to uncover more illegal content and enhance law enforcement’s capabilities to combat child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

Since 2016, EUROPOL has maintained a database that currently holds 85 million unique photos and videos of children, many of which were discovered on pedophile forums on the “dark web,” the hidden part of the internet requiring special software for access.

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