Commercial child sexual abuse material
We define commercial child sexual abuse imagery as images or videos that were seemingly produced or being used for the purposes of financial gain by the distributor.
- Of the 153,369 webpages we confirmed as containing child sexual abuse imagery in 2020, 12,899 (8%) were commercial in nature. This is a decrease on 2019, when we took action against 15,326 (12%) commercial webpages.
- Those 12,899 webpages were found across 3,401 domains, which represents six in every 10 domains that we identified as containing child sexual abuse material in 2020.
While the proportion of commercial webpages we encounter has decreased, we have observed some new developments in the way that access to child sexual abuse imagery is monetised.
Affiliate link schemes
When removing child sexual abuse images and videos from forum sites, we have noticed an increasing number of forum posts which include visual ‘previews’ of further abuse imagery, hosted elsewhere. Beneath these previews, a link is provided to the external cyberlocker or image host website where the full, uncensored version of these images and videos can be found.
These links form part of an affiliate scheme, earning money for the uploader of the forum post every time the link is clicked. Payment of a premium access membership fee is often required by the destination site to view this imagery. This can generate an additional commission for the offender.
What can we do about it?
We monitor and research any new trends we have observed. Sharing this intelligence with our sister hotlines and law enforcement agencies means that websites can be removed and distributors can be investigated.
Any payment information displayed on these commercial websites is captured and shared with our partners in the financial industry. This helps to prevent misuse of their services and disrupt further distribution of the criminal imagery.