These images were artificially generated. But on the largest abuse site currently on the darknet, real pictures of children have been uploaded and are viewed by millions of users.

Sexual Violence against Children Why Aren't Thousands of Gigabytes of Abusive Images Removed from the Web?

An investigation into the largest site for images of sexual abuse of children shows where public officials are failing in the fight against online sexual predators. It provides a look into the most disturbing corners of the darknet.
The father: On his right forearm, Marcel Jeninga has a tattoo of a child's hand along with the date June 17, 2009. It's the day his three-year-old daughter called to him from the bathroom.

The father: On his right forearm, Marcel Jeninga has a tattoo of a child's hand along with the date June 17, 2009. It's the day his three-year-old daughter called to him from the bathroom.

Foto: Ricardo Wiesinger / DER SPIEGEL
DER SPIEGEL 49/2021
SPIEGEL International
The public prosecutor: "As prosecutors, our task is to concentrate on the perpetrators," says Julia Bussweiler.

The public prosecutor: "As prosecutors, our task is to concentrate on the perpetrators," says Julia Bussweiler.

Foto: Felix Schmitt / DER SPIEGEL
Arrest in Paraguay: Police were apparently able to arrest Christian K. as he was sitting at his computer and logged in to a darknet forum.

Arrest in Paraguay: Police were apparently able to arrest Christian K. as he was sitting at his computer and logged in to a darknet forum.

Foto: @nanduti / Twitter
"Every investigator working in this area would like to see these images be removed from the internet."

Public Prosecutor Julia Bussweiler

Sexual medicine expert: "When these people interact in a community of others like them, a distortion of perceptions may result," says Klaus Beier, director of the Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine at Berlin's Charité University Hospital.

Sexual medicine expert: "When these people interact in a community of others like them, a distortion of perceptions may result," says Klaus Beier, director of the Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine at Berlin's Charité University Hospital.

Foto: Falk Heller / IMAGO / argum
An endless fight: With his foundation, Marcel Jeninga is trying to push public officials to do more.

An endless fight: With his foundation, Marcel Jeninga is trying to push public officials to do more.

Foto: Ricardo Wiesinger / DER SPIEGEL
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