Seventy-one countries have joined together at the United Nations, urging the immediate removal of online child sexual abuse materials. This united effort reflects the global consensus that urgent action is needed to protect children from exploitation in both physical and digital spaces.
The call to action statement emerged from expert discussions hosted by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with support from the UK government. Participants included representatives from various sectors, such as child protection organizations, public and private sectors, and legal and financial institutions. Financial institutions recognized their role in encouraging businesses to identify and delete child sexual abuse material, preventing its re-upload.
The statement emphasizes the risks posed by the creation, possession, and dissemination of child sexual exploitation and abuse material. It acknowledges the trauma endured by victims and the need to increase public awareness of these harmful materials.
Corinne Kitsell, UK Ambassador to the UN in Vienna, highlights the crucial role of technology companies in addressing online child sexual exploitation and abuse. She raises concerns about the implementation of end-to-end encryption without sufficient child safety measures, making it challenging for law enforcement to detect and remove such materials.
Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, commends the growing number of governments taking action to protect children.
Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P), welcomes the call to action, emphasizing the global commitment required to remove child sexual abuse material from the internet and protect children worldwide.
An anonymous survivor calls on tech companies to acknowledge their stories and take action for the right reasons, rather than for financial gain.
Alexandra Martins, Team Leader for Violence against Children at UNODC, reaffirms the organization’s commitment to supporting member states in addressing this issue and creating a safer world for children.
The call to action comes in response to the increasing rates of online child sexual exploitation and abuse, particularly among younger children.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) operates Project Arachnid, which works to reduce the availability of Child Sexual Abuse Materials. Since 2017, Project Arachnid has issued millions of removal requests to electronic service providers.
The call to action emphasizes the importance of ongoing dialogues, increased awareness, and decisive action from various sectors to combat this crime effectively.