Number of UK paedophiles ‘live-streaming’ child abuse films soars, warns CEOP

Child protection experts record two-fold increase in indecent images and videos shared online

British paedophiles are paying to watch the live streaming of child sex abuse after conducting overseas “fact-finding” trips to identify the vulnerable, protection experts said on Monday.

The use of live-streaming services like Skype to screen abuse has been identified as the main emerging threat of child sex crimes as specialist officers revealed a two-fold increase to 70,000 in the number of indecent images and videos being shared between abusers in 2012.

Abusers are making contact with vulnerable families and criminals in poor countries during holidays abroad and preparing the ground for watching abuse via webcam when they return to Britain, according to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).

Experts said there was no evidence of a widespread organised trade in the images to make money, with the deals done mostly by individuals. They said the threat has emerged because of the increased global use of high-speed internet and wide differences in income between British abusers and the world’s poorest.

The organisation said that the trend – still only at a low level – has highlighted the international nature of the threat and the challenge to law enforcement from cross-border illegality. A surge of visitors and high levels of child poverty also raises concerns of abuse surrounding the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, it said.

In a startling assessment of the extent of child abuse, the centre has estimated that 190,000 children will be abused by strangers or family members other than their parents before they reach the age of 18. It estimated that about 50,000 people in the UK were involved in downloading and sharing indecent images of children in 2012.

Experts said they had also identified a change in the technique of “online grooming”, with stalkers casting their net wide to identify potential victims on social media sites. The centre said offenders were spending less time on grooming before a rapid escalation of “threats, intimidation and coercion” to persuade children to perform sexual acts online, or arrange physical meetings.

Police said they were concerned about the increase of indecent image sharing, after identifying a link to more serious abuse of children. Mark Bridger, the killer of five-year-old April Jones, had a library of child abuse images.

Bridger’s trial earlier this year heard that 65 of those images were of a “criminal standard”. He had also stored the photographs of other child murder victims on his computer, including Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, the two girls killed in Soham. Stuart Hazell, who pleaded guilty this year to the murder of schoolgirl Tia Sharp, was also found to have a library of indecent images.

Peter Davies, chief executive of CEOP, said: “Our assessment shows that, sadly, there are still too many children at risk and too many people who would cause them serious harm.”

The centre also raised concerns over the use of the “hidden internet”, encrypted forums that allow abusers to cover their tracks more easily when going online to find images of children.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'