Europol warned against the increasing cases of online child abuse during the Coronavirus pandemic, expressing fears that the number could further rise when schools reopen and teachers’ monitoring resumes.
“What is most worrying is the increased online activity by those seeking child sexual abuse material,” said Catherine De Bolle, the head of the European police agency.
Addressing the Parliament’s civil liberties committee on Tuesday, de Bolle called the surge in the number of online child abuse as the ‘most worrying’ aspect of crime the pandemic has brought.
The rise in pedophile activities was brought to light by national law enforcement authorities of EU27 member states which recorded higher access to illegal websites, as well as an increase to the calls in hot lines for reporting abuse and to the exchange of illegal content on the dark web.
De Bolle supported that as children have resorted to online schooling due to the lockdown measures, many online educational applications are less secure, exposing children to the web and potential offenders.
“We expect to have more and a better view on the situation when children will be able to go to school again and they will have the possibility to talk to teachers,” the Europol director told MEPs.