Europe is becoming a global hub for child pornography, according to statistics released by Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a British organization. Around 60 percent of child pornography is now hosted on European servers, according to the study.
In 2015, the majority of servers (57 percent) hosting child pornography content, were reportedly located in the U.S. The past year saw a significant shift toward Europe, with figures for the U.S. dropping to 37 percent, which meant an increase by 19 percent for Europe, the IWF study said.
The chief executive of IWF, Susie Hargraeves, told BBC that the situation has been reversed, "Europe is now the biggest host of child sexual abuse imagery, rather than North America."
Hargraeves reportedly said one of the possible reasons for these changes was a more decisive approach taken by U.S. authorities in identifying and removing offensive material. This, and more sophisticated technological methods for disguising relevant websites, such as providing a succession of links which makes identification more difficult, have contributed to making Europe into a more attractive location for hosting child pornography.
The percentage of child abuse content is very low in the UK, at only 0.1 percent, as organizations like the IWF work hard to shut down websites.
The three European countries hosting the most child pornography content are the Netherlands with 37 percent, France with 11 percent and Russia with 7 percent. The number of websites hosting child pornography overall has increased by 20 percent, the report added.