PRESS RELEASE: 1 March 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BANGKOK — In a joint letter published today, 40 non-governmental organisations urge EU decision-makers to ensure the proposed Regulation to prevent and combat child sexual abuse covers all threats to children online. The coalition of civil society organisations that work to protect children call on policymakers to live up to their responsibility to effectively protect children from sexual abuse and to take a critical look at the European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO)’s draft Opinion seeking to exclude the detection new Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) and grooming from the scope of the legislation.
The threats for children online grow daily with millions of images and videos of sexual abuse against children circulating online daily. The European Commission has issued a proposal in May 2022 to put an end to the phenomenon and protect children online. The proposal seeks to establish risk mitigation measures for online platforms and a procedure for detection order, under the control of a new EU Centre and national authorities. The proposal is currently under discussion in the European Parliament, with the LIBE Committee being primarily in charge.
“The scale of sexual violence against children online requires us to act at scale. If the IMCO draft opinion were reality, the consequences for children’s safety online would be catastrophic. This goes against everything we have been fighting for for decades and we simply cannot allow for this happen”,
said a spokesperson for the Steering Group of the European Child Sexual Abuse Legislation Advocacy Group (ECLAG).
“The course that the European Commission has set with its proposal is the right one. For the legislation to really be effective in protecting children from sexual abuse, EU decision-makers need to ensure the new EU Regulation covers detection of known CSAM, unknown CSAM and grooming. Policymakers should also introduce stronger prevention mechanisms and establish effective age verification, assessment requirements and the possibility for pro-active detection measures by online platforms.”
The European Child Sexual Abuse Legislation Advocacy Group (ECLAG) is an informal coalition of NGOs and IGOs figthing to protect children from sexual violence and abuse. The Group has been established to join forces in the advocacy around the Child Sexual Abuse Regulation proposed by the European Commission in May 2022. The ECLAG is made of more than 60 organisations present in Europe and globally. The steering group consists of the Brave Movement, ECPAT, Missing Children Europe, IWF, Terre des Hommes and Thorn.