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Cloaked by Technology: Predators Shared a Staggering 45M Images of Child Sexual Abuse

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Donna Rice Hughes, president of Enough is Enough, an organization dedicated to making the internet safer for children and families, appeared on the Monday edition of CBN's Newswatch program to discuss the proliferation of child sexual abuse images on the internet and what can be done to stop it. Newswatch can be seen weekdays on the CBN News Channel.  

A New York Times investigation has uncovered the staggering growth of child sexual abuse images that predators are sharing online.

Last year, tech companies reported a record 45 million online photos and videos of child abuse, more than double what they found in 2017.  Just a decade ago, the number was less than a million.

The report explains that smartphones, social media and cloud storage have encouraged predators to multiply the images.

It also reports that the abusers are posting more extreme forms of abuse on younger children including babies.

The Times report reveals that predators are using encrypted technologies and the dark web to share these horrific images, and that law enforcement is besieged with more cases than they can handle. 

Facebook says it will encrypt its Messenger messaging app, which was apparently used last year to share millions of abusive images.  According to the Times, the app was responsible for nearly 12 million of the 18.4 million child pornography reports last year.

In 2008, Congress passed the PROTECT Our Children Act that foresaw the spread of child pornography across the internet.  However, the Times found the government has not followed through with the major points of the legislation, including the necessary funding.

"Each and every image is a depiction of a crime in progress," Sgt. Jeff Swanson, a task force commander in Kansas told the newspaper. "The violence inflicted on these kids is unimaginable."

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of