Just a few days ago, leaders from around the world attended the G7 meeting in Germany. Leaders resolved in their final summit statement: “We are committed to strengthening our fight against human trafficking, as well as to protecting and combating child sexual abuse worldwide, both online and offline. “.
Vibke Müller, associated with the ‘Brave Movement’, a group of people who suffer child sexual abuse, described it as a historic step. “When I was a small child, no one saved me from sexual violence. Today, for the first time, G7 leaders have collectively pledged to protect children, which is essential for all children,” he said. .
There has been an increase in cases of child sexual abuse in Germany. Last year, an average of 49 minors were sexually assaulted every day in Germany, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). Published data show that in 2021, 17,704 children under the age of 14 were victims of sexual violence. Of these, 2,281 were under the age of six. At the same time, in 2020 this figure was 16,990.
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Recently, in Vermelskirchen, located a short distance from the city of Cologne in the west of the country, a case related to child sexual abuse came to light. A 44-year-old man caring for a child is believed to have sexually abused 12 young children. These include children with disabilities. The child must have been only a month old.
Police have arrested the accused and confiscated his computer. There is a possibility that he has shared images and videos related to child abuse with more than 70 people taking money. The investigation is still ongoing in this case. In the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, police have discovered several large networks related to sexual abuse. Some criminals have also been caught.
A babysitter has been found guilty of child abuse
The German government has set up a new independent commission to oversee cases related to child sexual abuse. The head of this commission, Kestin Klaus, told DW: “The Vermelskirchen case illustrates the fact that, due to the proliferation of digital media, there are more cases of horrific violence than ever before. due to the use of the dark network, Incidents also happened before, the only difference between yesterday and today is that today we can show that there has been violence.
you need to act fast
The task of the Cologne Police Cybercrime Working Group is to find the victims and the perpetrators. It is directed by Marcus Houtmann. He is a lawyer. It has registered more than 9,300 cases against about 9,900 suspects in the last two years.
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Much information about online sexual violence comes from the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). What is important to Hattman is to quickly identify the perpetrators, but he said researchers receive information long after an IP address is discovered. That’s why the country’s Interior Minister Nancy Fazer has backed these steps under which Internet service companies will have to protect IP address information for a long time.
Commissioner Klaus stresses that victims “often for months and many years depend on the harasser.” Sometimes the bully is a member of his family, and sometimes a person very close to him. He says the number of unreported cases could be many times higher than the currently known figures. Calling it a “scandal,” he says it is not yet known how many more cases have not been reported.
Victims who counseled Klaus reported that sexual violence is “one of the safest crimes for perpetrators.” Two-thirds of cases are closed during the course of the investigation, especially when the victims’ statements are not duly taken into account with the statements of the perpetrators.
Hautmann said more than 30 terabytes of data had been confiscated in Vermelskirchen. NRW’s cybercrime unit uses artificial intelligence tools. With their help, 90% of the images of child abuse can be identified. With this, researchers can analyze more data in a very short time to find out if a child is currently being abused or not. However, all of these images and videos need to be examined by humans, so more staff and tools are needed.
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need for international cooperation
Statistics show that Europe has become a hotbed of images related to child abuse. Therefore, Klaus congratulated the decision of the European Commission, which plans to establish a center in the EU to increase the number of national law enforcement agencies. At the same time, the European Commission also plans to remove the abused images in order to alleviate the victims.
Markus Houtmann also wants cooperation to increase internationally in this area. “Working with specially trained partners present in the Baltic countries has been successful. Sometimes cooperation with other countries outside Europe’s borders is faster than with countries bordering Germany,” he says.
Commissioner Klaus says: “Awareness has increased over the years, but there are still many people who are not yet willing to believe that the problem of sexual abuse affects the children around them. We all know the victims, so we are criminals. You know. too. “
Child sexual abuse is becoming a big problem for the world
Life can be shortened by childhood trauma
Psychologist Mathias Frantz has worked with child abuse victims. He explains that even in the minds of babies, the memories of those events remain forever. This causes fear and pain in a certain part of your brain.
“If I lived bad things as a kid, those memories can still be fresh 40 years later,” Frantz explains. If my head looks at me with a scolding look, it may remind me of my father How you saw me before you hit me. up?
He adds: “In this situation, stress hormones are released. This can cause panic attacks and end life in the hospital due to a heart attack.” Often, these patients are sent home again, Frantz says.
He added: “We reviewed a long-term study on the condition of children who have been severely abused. This suggests that they are more likely to suffer from mental illness or drug addiction. It has also been revealed from the study that the life of these children can be reduced by 20. Frantz believes that treatment facilities should be available for adult victims.
When criminals are exposed, their partners and neighbors often comment that they were not appreciated. Psychologist Mathias Frantz explains that many criminals lack empathy and want to dominate the vulnerable. “By doing this some people realize that they are the most powerful,” he says.
The open world of the Internet serves to increase these cases. Seeing the crimes of others, criminals feel they are doing the right thing. Frantz says, “We need to do more research on this. How do criminals do that? Can it be treated?”
Crimes against children often involve the people around them.
prevention and protection
Houtman’s Cybercrime Task Force also conducts public information campaigns to warn potential offenders that misconduct can cause them to be caught. Researchers have also prepared some content to prevent sexual abuse. Through this it has been explained what the preparation is. Along with this, it is also reported how the abuser has first contact with a child, to pressure him to abuse him for a long time.
Klaus says: “It is important to educate children, teachers and parents. Along with this, rules should also be made for the use of digital platforms, such as the default security settings, limiting the support offered, for age Attached restrictions, moderation of websites, etc. because the children are alone here ”.
He wants to launch a campaign later this year to let people know where to help protect children from abuse. It’s like they know where to start the fire alarm when there’s a fire.