“a child’s playground” is Anja Grundboecks latest photo project and probably one the toughest ones to look at. It shows the horrific reality of child abuse in all its gruesome forms. Real children don’t appear in the photos, but Anja rather used manikins as models. This makes the series even more anonymous, as it is in real life for many of these children.

Sexual abuse of minors is not uncommon. Several statistics prove that sexual assaults occur far more often that most people are aware of. The alarming facts say the same: around 10% of child abuse is sexual abuse. On average, one in ten children is sexually abused worldwide. Rape of an adult is often considered a more frequent crime, but the child rape rate considerably higher. Almost 70% of reported sexual assaults occur with children under the age of 17. The majority of sexual assaults are not reported; only about 38% of the victims disclosure the fact. Those who sexually assault children or juveniles are generally known to the victim. 90% of all sexual abuse cases occur within the victims circle of friends, acquaintances or family. Mostly it’s not just a one-off assault; if the abuser comes from the inner circle, then sexual assaults last three to eleven years on average. The “evil stranger” is a rarity. Sexual abuse of children can lead to lifelong consequences. Not only their possible potential is taken away, but also a chain of events and decisions is set in motion that will affect them throughout their entire life.

No matter what race, religion, nationality or social class, no matter if you live in Austria, the United States or South Africa, child abuse is on the daily agenda.

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There is almost no data of sexual child abuse cases by catholic clerics or other employees of the catholic church, but the estimated figures show that between 1 and 5 % of priests and deacons worldwide have been accused of sexual abuse of someone under the age of 18.

Studies show that 1.8 million children are being forced into prostitution or pornographic acts.

According to ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) 12 billion US Dollars revenue are made every year through child prostitution and pornography. The offenders keep up the demand of an industry that booms in countries like Cambodia, the Philippines, Bulgaria or Romania – countries were poverty and the hope for a better life drives children into this line of “work”.

Since child pornography is one of the fastest growing businesses online, with an estimated annual revenue of $3 billion, it’s clear that the number of data available on the internet increases rapidly

In many of the cases consumers are male and come from a good background and a higher social class where thorough internet knowledge is available. IT-experts, doctors and even police offers have easy access towards respective material. In 2003, approximately 3 million pornographic images of children were invoked on the internet. As of December 2012, NCMEC’s (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) child victim identification program has reviewed and analysed more than 80 million child pornography images since it was created in 2002.

The United Nations call forced marriages a “modern form of slavery”

According to UNICEF, there are 720 million women and 156 million men today that have been forced to get married before their 18th birthday – approximately 250 million women even before their 15th birthday. High rates especially occur in southern Asia and Africa. The actual marriageable age differs from country to country. For example, in the US states of Kansas and Massachusetts, children have to at least be 12 years old. Child marriage often leads to sexual exploitation and violence towards the victims. Because girls are not allowed to refuse sexual intercourse or insist on birth control, they are at the mercy of health risks due to premature pregnancies and diseases.

According to experts, pedophiles explicitly look for sport clubs to get closer to children

But only very few clubs are aware of the dangers and their carelessness is alarming: studies have shown that sport clubs come in last behind churches, schools, boarding schools and other care facilities concerning the safety and pursuit of abuse.

#7: The International Labour Organization estimates that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. It is the third most lucrative criminal business after weapon- and drug smuggling

Wars and armed conflicts increase sexual exploitation and over half of the rape victims in conflict zones are children; partly these numbers are even higher

For example, after WWII women and children were raped by allied soldiers in all occupation zones – often as a trade for groceries. Where there’s war, there’s sexual abuse on the daily agenda.

There are two kinds of child abductions: parental child abduction and abduction or kidnapping by strangers. Unfortunately, both are often being downplayed by society, institutions and even authorities

If a child is abducted by a stranger, it very often results in a criminal or sexual act. But also abductions for pedophile rings are frequently disguised and underestimated. Among other things this is because powerful people from the upper class are at the very top of these rings (as we can see in Norway, Great Britain and Hollywood at the moment).

Approximately 150 million girls and 73 million boys under the age of 18 have been victims of sexual abuse. It happens within the family, at school or their residential quarters, in jail or at work

90% of all sexual abuse cases occur within the victims circle of friends, acquaintances or family. The “evil stranger” is a rarity. What are you doing to protect your children?