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ECPAT and 13 child protection organisations launch a new campaign to stop the spread of child sexual abuse material online

Posted on Jul 9, 2022
Safety Online must be a priority: 14 organisations launch campaign to stop the spread of child sexual abuse material online.

 

PRESS RELEASE 8 JULY 2022 — We are proud to launch the Child Safety Online Now (#ChildSafetyOnlineNow) campaign in partnership with 14 organisations dedicated to protecting children’s safety and rights online. 

The campaign supports the European Commission’s proposal to tackle the rampant and growing spread of child sexual abuse online. In 2021, 85 million pieces of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) were reported online. This is a growth of 35% from 2020. The European Commission’s proposal aims to make it mandatory for technology platforms to detect, report, and remove CSAM. This will have a huge impact in protecting children, preserving children’s privacy, and reducing the devastating harm this content has on survivors of child sexual abuse. The proposal also aims to establish an EU Centre that will be responsible for coordinating actions between online service providers and law enforcement agencies to end child sexual abuse online while also providing support to child victims of sexual abuse in the EU. A crucial element of the proposal asks online service providers always to report cases of grooming, a vital measure to prevent harm before it happens. 

With the #ChildSafetyOnlineNow campaign, Missing Children Europe, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, ECPAT International, Brave Movement, Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Internet Watch Foundation, NSPCC, End Violence Against Children, Thorn, 5 Rights Foundation, Terre des Hommes, WeProtect Global Alliance, Child Helpine International aim to raise awareness of the pressing need to protect children online and support the European Commission proposal to both prevent and combat child sexual abuse online. Children are spending more and more time online through all manner of devices and platforms; the proposal looks to protect children wherever they are so they can live, learn, and thrive in their digital worlds without the threat of online child sexual abuse. The campaign includes a hero video, website, and social media content. The website and social media content is available in EN, FR, IT, ES, DE & NL. 

 

 

Visit the #ChildSafetyOnlineNow website.

 

THE SCALE AND SCOPE OF THE CHALLENGE

  • 1 in 5 users of digital services in the EU is a child. 
  • 62% of all reported CSAM in 2021 was hosted in Europe. 
  • In 2021, the Internet Watch Foundation found child sexual abuse material online every two minutes. 
  • Public polling shows widespread public support (68%) for the use of technical tools to identify child sexual abuse material and for the European Union to introduce legislative change to help improve child safety.

 

Guillaume Landry, Executive Director, ECPAT International, said:

“The protection and empowerment of children in digital spaces must become the rule, not the exception. And ECPAT knows from an EU-wide survey conducted in late 2021 the EU public agrees. Indeed, 68 % have expressed widespread support for the use of automated tools to identify child sexual abuse materials, and for the EU to introduce long-term legislation that will keep children safe online. This regulation is important because it serves as a reference to the rest of the world, establishing concrete mechanisms for the safe use of technologies to detect child sexual exploitation and abuse, and by making online service providers responsible and accountable for protecting children. Children have a right to live a life free from exploitation. It is time that we take all necessary measures to ensure that their privacy and protection is enforced in all online and offline environment. With children, we can turn the tide.”

 

CONTACTS: 

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • If you want to be involved in the campaign and show your support for measures that will fundamentally protect children from sexual abuse online, please reach out to Isaline Wittorski at isalinew@ecpat.org.

 

RESOURCES: 

  1. European Commission, May 2022
  2. Guardian, March 2022
  3. 5Rights, The Digital Services Act must deliver for children, 2022
  4.  IWF, Annual Report 2021, 2021
  5.  IWF, Annual Report 2021, 2021
  6.  ECPAT, Project Beacon: What do EU Citizens think of the balance between online privacy and child protection?, 2021

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