Bavarian Cybercrime Investgator: Major Increase of "Webcam Child Sex Tourism"


Martin Kirchschlager, a Network Investgator at the Criminal Investigation Department, explained why Bavarian courts are seeing more cases related to Child abuse content than in the past few years. He does not think that more offenders exist; he thinks that law enforcement is simply better at catching offenders.


Kirchschlager is the head of Network Investigations with the Bavarian State Office of Criminal Investigation. The interview was conducted by Ariane Lindenbach of Süddeutsche Zeitung.

SZ: Mr. Kirchschlager, there are more and more recent cases at the district court concerning the possession and distribution of child pornography. Your assessment as a network investigator - do more men consume such films and photos or is it just the impression that the police are looking more thoroughly?

Martin Kirchschlager: The number of these investigations has actually increased significantly. In 2017 , the number of cases in Bavaria increased by about 35 percent compared to 2016 . There were 809 cases in 2016, 1090 last year. This includes the possession and procurement of child pornography material. We attribute this increase to a sharp rise in traffic from the USA, but also to the constant optimization of police investigation work. In fact, we believe that more and more crimes are becoming known to us. We have no evidence that more men are consuming child pornography.

What’s up with the clues from the US?

In the US, companies and providers are required to filter the content of users for suspicious material and to report child pornography to the authorities. If persons from Germany are among them, this will be passed on to the appropriate authorities.

From the mere observer to the actor - how often does this exist in your estimation?

There are several studies with partly different results on this question. Statistically, just over a quarter of child porn consumers actually have sexually abused children at least once.

Have you also experienced that a woman consumes such pictures?

Neither from my many years of use in the Munich Commission for Sexual Offenses nor from my time as head of Netzwerkfahndung I know of even a single case in which a woman has consumed on their own motivation out child pornography material. To be clear, this is a men’s problem. This is also supported by police statistics.

Does a certain group of people have a preference for children?

There is no uniform perpetrator profile. It can be both single men and fathers of all ages with or without a job. The typical Kinderporno consumers do not exist.

A common explanation, which is heard more often by defendants, is that the files were downloaded by mistake and the one who wanted to have only legal porn. How realistic is that?

I share the view that these are excuses that perpetrators often want to justify to their personal environment and family members. It is extremely unlikely that anyone will accidentally or unconsciously possess child pornography. From the point of view of the perpetrators, it is of course easier and more convenient to hide behind such a lie than to confess oneself and others, to have a problem and to work it up. But that would be the duty of perpetrators, the abuse pictures, the more appropriate term for child pornography consume. Every procurement increases the demand for further misrepresentations. For example, consumers of child pornography actively contribute to the sexual abuse of defenseless children through their behavior.

Is rising demand impacting the market? Is that why more and more photos and films are produced?

The number of child pornographic images and videos in circulation is increasing continuously. Even relatively new phenomena such as the so-called “Webcam Child Sex Tourism” contribute to this. In this particularly disgusting form of procuring child pornography, the perpetrators, most of them from wealthy industrial nations, guide people from typically poor countries to the sexual abuse of children live in front of the webcam and pay for it.

Are these child pornos only offered in Darknet?

No, not exclusively. But for understandable reasons, we do not want to give any indication as to how and where child pornography can be found.

Do you have a tip for female partners to recognize that their partner is downloading illegal files ?

Unfortunately there are no universally valid suspicions. In fact, women should make the appropriate findings on the shared computer, inform the police immediately.

You recommend that these women do not previously address your partner on it?

Yes. If women find child pornography on their shared computer, they should inform the police directly. Confronting the partner could lead to an escalation.

Where can those affected find help themselves?

There are free and anonymous counseling and treatment services for pedophile people, such as the prevention network “Do not become a perpetrator”. Pedophiles learn to live there with their predisposition, without committing crimes to the detriment of children. It is a nationwide network with locations in Regensburg and Bamberg. Further information can be found on the homepage www.kein-taet