child porn in singapore
A child takes part in an anti-child pornography rally in Manila November 19, 2008 for representation purposes only (Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters)

Singapore is becoming a breeding ground of online child-centred skin flicks in Asia with the number of hosted sites doubled in 2017 from 2016. Almost 2,000 child pornography sites have been documented across Asia in 2016 and Singapore accounts for 12 per cent of the number.

Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a UK-based charity, has released a report revealing Singapore as a hotbed of pornographic web pages containing images and videos of children sexually abused. The majority of them involve children aged 10 and below. These websites reportedly show content depicting children as subjects to sadism or penetrative sexual activity with older males and animals.

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According to the internet watchdog, the city-state has already been hosting 412 of these sites since January, up from 211 in 2016. This jump is almost 50 per cent higher within the first 10 months of the year. IFW recorded 201 Singapore-hosted child porn sites in 2015 and 198 in 2014.

Experts worry about this rising trend, suggesting that close monitoring should be laid out to combat this societal dilemma. In an interview with TNP, clinical psychologist Matthew Woo said attraction to child porn could result in paedophilia.

"Those who view sexual abuse imagery of children may start off being curious due to the availability online," said Woo. "If they continue, it will escalate and they could develop paedophilia."

However, authorities have warned that going after the perpetrators would not be easy in this case. Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore president Sunil Sudheesan said, "anyone can buy a domain space and hide behind anonymity."

IWF has stressed that there are more than 57,000 URLs active in 2016 peddling child porn and 92 per cent of these were hosted in the US, Canada, France, Russia and the Netherlands.