Number of child pornography files has never been higher

Last year, the number of child pornography files increased by 44% compared to 2016, according to the correctional prosecutor’s figures, reported on Monday. In 2016, 806 files had been opened. The prosecution offices opened 1,162 files in 2017. The number of files concerning sexual abuse increased in general, with 15% additional cases last year compared to 2016.

It is difficult to give just one explanation for this increase, indicates Child Focus, which has noted, however, a rise in the amount of information coming from abroad. “The more international cooperation augments, the more information circulates”, specifies Dirk Depover, from Child Focus.

The association is part of a network aiming at improving this cooperation. “If reports come from abroad, there are sometimes reasons to open an inquiry in Belgium, namely to stop a Belgian perpetrator.”

Since 2016, Child Focus counselors have been authorised to examine reports received in connection with child pornography, something legislation prohibited before. Furthermore, since last year, the extension of the law on specific methods of research has made police infiltration possible on the web.

Agents who have followed a special training may make contact with a suspect under a false identity, even on the Darknet, i.e. the hidden part of the Internet. Furthermore, in June 2016, the definition of child pornography has been adapted to make more cases punishable.

The Brussels Times

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