Paedophiles are sharing even more child sexual abuse material online during the coronavirus lockdown, with law enforcement warning the “worst in humanity” will exploit the pandemic.
Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre has also detected online conversations on the dark web, where predators have discussed how to target children no longer at school.
Users on dark web child sexual exploitation boards have repeatedly referenced minors on the anonymous chat site Omegle, Europol said.
“This pandemic brings out the best but unfortunately also the worst in humanity,” Europol’s boss Catherine De Bolle declared.
“I am very concerned about the rise of child sexual abuse online.”
Australian police have also urged parents to keep a closer eye on children who are spending more time online during lockdown.
“Don’t let your guard down,” NSW Police Minister David Elliott said.
“Just because they are in your home doesn’t mean they are not exposed to evil.”
Isolated and “bored” offenders are networking on the dark web and stating their increasing interest in image trading, the Europol report said.
Some countries were noting more adult offenders attempting to initiate contact with children via social media.
Offenders are likely to attempt to take advantage of emotionally vulnerable, isolated children through grooming and sexual coercion and extortion.
Sharing of illegal abuse material on peer-to-peer platforms had also been observed by Europol.