Websites selling child porn based in Canada

Websites selling child porn based in Canada: WINNIPEG — Dozens of websites selling child pornography are being hosted by computer servers in this country, according to a study by a Canadian organization dedicated to fighting online child exploitation.

By Gabrielle Giroday , Winnipeg Free PressNovember 19, 2009

The report, released this week by Cybertip.ca, examined more than 15,000 websites worldwide containing child pornography. It found Canada ranked a distant second among nations in terms of the number of commercial websites it hosts involving pornographic content featuring children.

‘As strong as our laws are within Canada, no country is really free from this type of material existing on websites,’ said Signy Arnason, director of Cybertip.ca. ‘We have 60 countries . . . that were hosting child-sexual abuse content.’

The national tip line takes telephone and Internet tips on child abuse images and online luring. Arnason said two people prepared the report over the past eight months, based on information collected by the organization between 2002 and March 2009.

The report included a more detailed analysis of 800 commercial websites where pornographic pictures of children were sold. Servers in the United States hosted 65 per cent of those websites, followed by Canada, where servers hosted just eight per cent of the websites — although the photos may have been taken somewhere outside the country.

Other countries hosting the websites included Russia (5.6 per cent), Netherlands (2.9 per cent) and Germany (1.8 per cent), says the report. More than 50 per cent of these websites take credit cards from people wanting to purchase the photos, said the report.

Const. Rosiane Racine of the B.C. RCMP’s Internet Child Exploitation or ICE team suggested one reason Canada may have been the second-ranked country in the study.

‘Research shows that Canada is a very connected country. Everybody has access to the Internet here in this country, and maybe that’s why there’s so much (child pornography) on Canadian soil.’

The report also details how child pornography websites cover their tracks. In one 48-hour period, Cybertip.ca watched a website cycle through 212 unique IP addresses in 16 different countries — making the specific location of the information very difficult for law enforcement to track.

The report also analyzed 4,000 pictures on those websites. Researchers found the vast majority of these images — about 82 per cent — featured children younger than 12 and some images involved the abuse of toddlers and infants. More than 35 per cent of the images showed serious sexual assaults — some involving bondage, torture and bestiality.

Arnason said one of the report’s recommendations is to create international standards requiring people making websites to provide more personal information to register their domains.

‘The goal is to get that information to be valid so that when you’re trying to track down who is the originating owner of the site, you have a better chance of finding who that person is,’ she said. ‘There’s no international standard for that.’

The report also calls for more research on specific search terms and words used on child pornography websites to attract customers. The full report can be accessed at protectchildren.ca.

‘A lot of people seem to believe that . . . child pornography only happens somewhere else. I think that this report goes to show that it’s not just somewhere else, it happens right here in our back yards as well,’ said Racine.

‘Every picture of child sexual abuse out there is of a child being abused. When you think about these websites hosting millions of pictures of child sexual abuse, it means there’s a lot of kids out there that need help.’

© Copyright (c) Winnipeg Free Press

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