Europe had at least 23,000 reports of child sexual abuse online in 2010, and "more than 1 million today," the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs said Friday.
"Child sexual abuse online is growing exponentially," said Ylva Johansson, drawing attention to the issue at a ministerial videoconference on the prevention and investigation of child sexual abuse.
"We need decisive action and this grows more urgent day by day," she said, while noting preventing and investigating child sexual abuse is a global struggle.
The numbers are "almost 4 million images and videos of known child sexual abuse material. And half a million newly produced pictures and videos, abuse that is ongoing," she said.
Johansson also noted that "worldwide companies sent 22 million reports of online child sexual abuse last year, including 65 million images and videos."
She said children, parents and teachers must be warned about the issue and encouraged working “with experts, with psychologists, with law enforcement and social workers."
The EU official invited all participants at the videoconference to a global summit in March in Brussels.
After the meeting, ministers signed a "joint statement on the urgency of preventive action and awareness raising in this field and express their support for finding adequate tools for the detection and investigation of sexual child abuse."
Last month, France was shaken by revelations that 216,000 children have been sexually abused in churches since 1950.
When cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by employees in private schools and institutions affiliated with the Catholic Church are added, that figure soars to 330,000.