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Experts warn of increase in child sexual abuse images streamed live over the internet

Child protection experts say an increasing number of offenders are using live streaming technology to transmit images of abuse.  They warn offenders are targeting vulnerable families overseas to set up live access to children over webcams. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre said children were being "abused to order".

According to its report, offenders targeted vulnerable families overseas, paying them to facilitate child abuse.

CEOP said those carrying out abuse used a "hidden internet" to disguise their identity and avoid detection. Its Chief Executive Peter Davies said it's a complex battle:

"This is what it's like trying to protect children online if it's as complicated and dynamic as the technology itself, what we have to do is enable people to understand the risks for themselves because it's very clear we won't be able to protect them from those risks entirely working from our centre here."

In 2012, CEOP received 8,000 reports of indecent images of children being shared, featuring 70,000 still images and videos - a two-fold increase on previous years.

There are also growing concerns over the use of the hidden internet. UK daily users connecting to secret or encrypted networks increased by two thirds, one of the largest annual increases globally.

CEOP expects 20,000 daily UK users by the end of this year, although not all of these will use the hidden internet for criminal means. There has been a 70% increase in the number of female victims under 10 years old. Andy Dipper's the CEO of Christian children's charity Viva.

He told Premier of the desperate situations which are making families turn to this way of making money:

"Adults are missing out on meals so their children can eat, they don't have shelter, they are so desperate for just the bare essentials of life so it is sadly inevitable that when someone comes along and offers them a small amount of money for conducting these appalling acts then they are forced into doing what they are asked to do."

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