Police are concerned over the young age of some of the growing number of people on the island being found in possession of child pornography, reports said on Monday.
In an interview with Phileleftheros, the head of the Cybercrime unit Andreas Anastasiou said one of their cases involved a 16-year-old in Limassol who was found in possession of 15 photo files and seven videos with child pornography, and that authorities know of other such cases involving offenders who are minors, which was causing great concern. It is widely acknowledged that offenders who are that young, were themselves likely too have been victims of abuse.
Data cited in the article revealed that in the last two years police found 77,100 files – photos and video in the possession of offenders. In 2015 they investigated 154 cases of child pornography involving 49,700 files while in 2016 they found another 27,400 files in 126 cases.
Some 38 cases were investigated in 2011. In 2012 police investigated 23 cases. In 2013, they investigated 54 cases. In 2014, they investigated 106 cases. In 2015 there were 154 cases and in 2016 they investigated 126. In the first three months of 2017, they have opened 40 investigations and expect to make arrests shortly, they report said.
The Cybercrime unit also receives dozens of requests from abroad related to child pornography. Last year that number reached 49.
According to the report, so far no Cypriot children have been identified as appearing in the seized child porn videos. There have been some instances of Cypriot minors showing up in isolated cases where they were coerced into sending nude photos over social media or in cases where these types of photos were published on the internet when they broke up with someone in the case of those in their teens but still under the age of consent.