FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
9 November 2023
Brussels, Belgium—A coalition of over 80 survivors, child rights and women’s rights organisations have written to EU leaders to express deep concern at the European Parliament’s compromise on the Regulation to prevent and combat child sexual abuse. The organisations, representing a collective frontline against child sexual abuse, stated: “We cannot accept a step back from the current situation in the protection of children online.”
The European Parliament’s compromise was reached on October 26 after months of negotiations. This position is a significant shift from the Commission’s original proposal as it would greatly limit online service providers in their detection of child sexual abuse material online by imposing targeted detections, putting an end to current voluntary detections by platforms and excluding grooming from the scope of detections.
The coalition denounces the European Parliament’s approach, which would restrict the detection of child sexual abuse to the extent that it would make it ineffective in tackling these crimes on a large scale. They argue that the Parliament has not only failed to move forward in strengthening protections for children online but has actually proposed a step backwards from the current measures already in place today because:
Mié Kohiyama, survivor, member of the Brave Movement and founder of Be Brave France said: “I do not know if I will ever truly heal the trauma of being raped as a 5-year-old and I can’t imagine the horror of my abuse being online, available for predators and criminals to view and monetize. This is the fate of thousands of children and survivors. We call on the EU to protect children against sexual abuse now.”
Amy Crocker, Head of Child Protection and Technology at ECPAT International commented:“The proposed compromise on the regulation is a step backwards for children’s safety online. ECPAT and an EU-wide child rights coalition calls on Member States to stand firm and maintain the broad scope needed to protect children from sexual abuse online”
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Notes to editors:
The Regulation was first proposed in May 2022 by the European Commission and will impose obligations on platforms to perform risks assessments and adopt risk mitigation measures on child sexual abuse. It will also allow for national jurisdictions to issue detection and removal orders of child sexual abuse material. The legislation will create an EU Centre which will be in charge of assessing which technologies can be used by platforms and which will ensure the sharing of best practices across the EU.
About the ECLAG Coalition:
The ECLAG coalition is formed of over 65 child rights organisations working across the EU to raise awareness of the pressing need to protect children online in our ever-developing digital world. It supports the #ChildSafetyON campaign to call for laws and policies to ensure children are safe online. The steering group consists of the Brave Movement, ECPAT, Eurochild, Missing Children Europe, IWF, Terre des Hommes and Thorn.
Learn more: https://www.childsafetyineurope.com/
For more information, please contact Andrew Beaton at firstname.lastname@example.org.