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Italy/USA: Child porn web sites up 70% in 2003

Publish Date: 16 Jan 2004

Source: Reuters

ROME (Reuters) - The number of reported paedophilia Web sites shot up by 70 percent in 2003 with the United States accounting for more than half, an Italian children's rights association said on Friday.

The Rome-based non-profit Rainbow Phone said 17,016 Web sites featuring explicit child pornography were reported last year to international and national police groups including the FBI and Interpol.

"With a rise of over 70 percent compared with 2002, on average Rainbow Phone has reported 46 Web sites per day," the group said in a statement.

The United States was home to more than 60 percent of the reported Internet sites, followed by South Korea, Russia, Brazil, Italy and Spain.

"These are figures...that confirm not only a massive increase in online paedophilia on the Internet, but also a worrying lack of legislative measures," the report said.

Last year the U.S. government launched "Operation Predator" to protect children from pornographers, Internet predators and human traffickers. Some 1,600 people have been arrested.

In September, German police said they cracked a global paedophile ring that involved 26,500 computer users from 166 countries.

But the Rainbow Phone group said many countries were not doing enough.

"Rainbow Phone denounces the total inadequacy of some national legislations concerning online paedophilia, an inadequacy that still allows mass and systematic promotion of links to Web sites with child pornography contents," it said.

© Copyright Reuters 2004