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    Geographical hosting: URLs

    Where are webpages being hosted?

    You can find out about the UK hosting situation here.

    When we’ve assessed that an image or video fails UK law, our aim is to get it removed from the internet as fast as possible.

    To do this, we perform a trace on the URL to identify the location of the physical server that the content is hosted on. This tells us which partners in which country we need to work with. When the content is removed from the physical server – its source – then we can be sure that the image has been removed from any sites – like websites, forums, or image hosts – that could be linking to it.

    “I would also like to share with you that pretty much all of the reports that you have contributed with so far has played vital roles in a number of investigations as well as a number of convictions relating to CSAM and CSE. It has played a key role in getting search warrants approved in many of the cases. A number of these search warrants and investigations has also led to the discovery of more aggravated crimes against children including hands on sexual offences. We are very thankful for your support in these cases.”  Swedish Police Authority


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    Number of reports (URLs) by country (from number 11 onwards)

    Number of unique second level domains by country.

    Note: 101 instances refer to Report Remove where images/videos have been directly reported to IWF and are therefore not online and cannot be traced to a location.

    In 2022 we continued to see a decrease in the proportion of child sexual abuse URLs being hosted in the Netherlands, down to 32% from 41% in 2021. The proportion of child sexual abuse URLs hosted in the US also dropped in 2022, down to 15% from 21% in 2021.

    URLs hosted in the Slovak Republic accounted for 12% of the child sexual abuse imagery we took action on in 2022; this is the result of targeted work focusing on one particular image host website. Hosting services in Hong Kong, Bulgaria, Malaysia and Thailand have also been abused in a similar way which is discussed in our Forum snapshot case study.

    Almost three in every five (59%) child sexual abuse reports were traced to hosting services in EU Member states.

    Some criminal child sexual abuse sites, especially those created specifically to share imagery for commercial gain, are dynamic and deliberately move their hosting from country to country to avoid removal. We continue to track these sites when they change location and seek to take them offline wherever they go. This trend has led to several new countries entering the top 10 hosts this year.

    What can we do about removing this content?

    We are committed to playing our part globally in the removal of content.

    We constantly innovate to achieve this. We’ve set up 50 Reporting Portals around the world as part of our work in partnership with the Global Fund to End Violence Against Children. This has enabled us to develop vital links with other NGOs, governments and police services globally to remove this content.

    In the EU we work closely with Europol and Interpol and the Lanzarote Committee of the Council of Europe. Europol have produced a number of threat assessments which have referenced many similar trends we have identified including a rise in self-generated content.

    As a key organisation within the INHOPE network (International Association of Internet Hotlines) we work closely with all other INHOPE hotlines around the world to ensure that we alert our partners when we find child sexual abuse content hosted in their country. IWF Reporting Portals are included under the INHOPE umbrella.

    Additionally, we “chase up” our partners if this criminal imagery is not removed quickly.

    View trends and data for the UK.