Lucrative trade a million-dollar business as people go online in search of sexual encounters

Over 140,000 child pornographic web pages exist on the Internet and, the Thessaloniki event organizers said, no fewer than eight new child pornography sites appear every day. In Greece, according to research conducted by EKATO in 2004 at Internet cafes, private computer schools and on students (outside school), out of a sample of 1,501 young people aged up to 17 who were regular users of the Internet: – One in five was on the receiving end of sexual approaches or harassment in the last few years. – For one in 33, it led to requests for meetings, telephone calls, the exchange of letters, money and gifts. – Only 17 percent told their parents. – Under 10 percent of sexual harassment and 3 percent of unsolicited exposure to websites with sexual content were reported to the authorities. Statistics (foreign studies, books and publications in the USA, Great Britain and other countries) point to the rapid development of the Internet’s darkest and most perverted side, given that child pornography increased by 415 percent from February to July 2003. Nine in 10 children have seen pornographic material on the Internet; 70 percent of children aged 15-17 have stumbled across pornographic material on the Internet (55 percent declared themselves unshaken, 45 percent were quite or very shaken); one in four children who used chat rooms were approached by pedophiles; 29 percent of children aged 7-17 would give their address quite easily; 19 percent would give their e-mail address and two out of five kidnappings of children aged 15-17 took place following meetings over the Internet. Pornographers have used over 26 famous children’s cartoon heroes, such as Pokemon and Action Man, to connect to pornographic websites (30 percent of which showed hardcore porn), while 25 percent of pornographic websites illegally used famous brand names in search engines as magnets and connections (e.g. Disney, Nintendo, Barbie). Turnover from the Internet porn trade came to over $6.2 billion in 2002, statistics say. Sixty percent of visits to the Internet are of a pornographic nature and the word «sex» is the one most frequently used in search engines. It has been calculated that 30 million Americans visit websites with Internet sex from one to 10 hours a week, while another 4.7 million log onto porn sites for over 11 hours a week.

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