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90 CHILD PORN WEBSITES STARTED EVERY WEEK.

Byline: ANDY GARDNER

POLICE are losing the battle to close down child porn websites - with up to NINETY new ones being launched every week.

The figures from the Internet Watch Foundation reveal the depth of the problem facing police battling to halt the sick trade.

The watchdog found most child porn websites originate in just five countries, with a surge in the number traced to Eastern Europe. The pay-per-view sites cost pounds 30 a month to access and show sexual abuse of babies as well as children. One that was recently closed down was the sickeningly titled Child Rape.

The US comes top in the table, with 1,937 sites traced last year. Russian child porn sites rocketed from 286 in 2001 to 588 last year - an increase of 106 per cent, which police blame on Mafia gangs seeking huge profits.

There are no pay-per-view sites based in Britain, though paedophiles exchange their own collections of child abuse images via secure emails.

Peter Robins, head of the IWF, said: "This sick industry is booming. We are discovering up to 90 new sites a week through tip-offs and intelligence."

Det Supt Peter Spindler, of the Met's Child Protection Group, said: "There is a huge demand for this material. Every new website posted means more children being abused."

Operation Ore has recently begun rounding up more than 7,000 British subscribers to a US website run by jailed child porn baron Thomas Reedy. But the huge workload involved means thousands are still free.

THE HOST NATIONS-USA - 1,937 sites traced last year compared to 1,867 in 2001, a rise of 3.7 per cent.

-RUSSIA - rocketed from 286 in 2001 to 588 last year. Police blame the 106 per cent increase on Mafia gangs seeking huge profits.

-SPAIN - 575 sites traced, which are blamed on child porn barons hijacking a free website based there to advertise illegal sites.

-SOUTH KOREA - 182 sites were discovered because criminals used a similar free website.

-CZECH REPUBLIC - still in the "top five" with 39 sites appearing last year, although the figure is well down on the 95 that were set up in 2001.OPERATION ORE-OPERATION Ore was launched last year after American investigators identified thousands of credit cards used to pay for child porn on the internet.

-THE FBI handed British police details of cards used by men living in the UK to access the sites. Around 6,500 British men, and a handful of women, face being questioned over the allegations.

-MORE than 2,000 people have already been arrested or cautioned, many of them professionals - including doctors, teachers and police officers.

-AMONG the high-profile names on the list was Who guitarist Pete Townshend, who was let off with a caution after admitting using a site for research but has been put on the Sex Offenders Register.

CAPTION(S):

JAILED: US child porn baron Reedy; CAUTIONED: Who guitarist Townshend
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 1, 2003
Words:485
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