Massive increase in child porn reports; hotline can't keep up

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Wildfeuer). Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Wildfeuer)

The Netherlands saw a massive increase in child pornography reports last year. A total of 100,478 photos, videos or websites were reported to the Child Pornography Hotline, an increase of nearly 60 percent compared to 2015. The hotline can't keep up and warns of an "unsustainable and irresponsible situation", hotline director Arda Gerkens said to RTL Nieuws. 

In 69 percent of the reported cases, hotline employees found illegal material. Almost all of it was on Dutch servers.

"As leader of the countries in which footage of online child abuse is hosted, the Netherlands has more than a moral obligation to halt this worrying trend." Gerkens said to the broadcaster. "They are not just photos and videos. Even if the perpetrators are caught and the children are safe, the abuse only ends when the material is gone and stays gone."

At this stage hotline employees have to work through 8 videos or photos an hour to check for illegal material just to keep up with reports. That is an enormous amount of pressure. "We can do so much more to clean up Dutch servers and combat and prevent online child abuse. But we simply lack manpower." The hotline calls on politicians to intervene. 

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