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Global tool disrupting international distribution of child sexual abuse imagery marks five years

For Immediate Release

Winnipeg, Manitoba – Over the last five years, six million images and videos of child sexual exploitation across more than 1,000 electronic service providers, spanning nearly 100 countries has been removed from the internet through Project Arachnid. Project Arachnid—operated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P)—is an innovative, global tool that detects known images of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the clear and dark web and issues removal notices to electronic service providers. The platform not only combats the proliferation of CSAM, but provides relief to survivors by helping break the cycle of victimization.

"We never knew that there was any hope for getting the images of our abuse taken down from the internet. We always thought it was another thing that we could not control. Now that we know that there are actually ways to do it, we want it all shut down. We don’t want any more children to have to deal with what we deal with if that can be fixed," explains a CSAM survivor, supported by C3P.

Since its launch in 2017, Project Arachnid has detected more than 42.7 million possible images of CSAM and sent 10.8+ million removal notices to content providers around the world. This is in part due to a growing, global collaboration involving 11 child protection organizations whose analysts are working to scale up the capacity and impact of Project Arachnid.

“We are collectively working to expedite the removal of CSAM that has traumatically impacted survivors for years, if not decades. We have left society’s most vulnerable to be continually exploited online for far too long. This has to end,” says Lianna McDonald, Executive Director for C3P.

This urgency is further underscored by the massive backlog of material C3P is facing. Because Project Arachnid is able to detect derivatives of known CSAM (possible CSAM) and that ability far outpaces the human resources to assess the content, 35 million images/videos have yet to be assessed.

“This is just what our platform has found. We’ve only just started to really pull back the curtain on what has been a silent epidemic and assess the threat,” explains McDonald, adding the data held by Project Arachnid offers C3P an unprecedented look into the global availability of CSAM online. This helps C3P to better identify systemic failures and where the gaps in child protection lie in order to hold industry and government accountable, promote transparency, and assist policymakers in developing effective regulatory frameworks that protect children and support survivors.

Project Arachnid’s goals and initiatives have been backed by governments, including the Government of Canada through Public Safety, and the UK Home Office. Public Safety Canada’s steadfast support under the National Strategy for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Internet has been essential to the success of Project Arachnid.

In marking Project Arachnid’s five year milestone, C3P has publicly released a three-minute video, Unwanted Followers. The video, which initially premiered at a G7 meeting in London, tells the real stories and experiences of survivors whose child sexual abuse was recorded and distributed online.

To watch the film and learn about how Project Arachnid is helping to break the cycle of victimization for survivors, visit

Quotes from international organizations working with C3P in Project Arachnid:

“This collaboration recognises that the horrific crimes involving CSAM do not respect national borders and the challenge to combat this is a global one. By teaming up with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection we are looking to improve things globally and for New Zealanders.”
— Chief Censor David Shanks, Te Mana Whakaatu Classification Office, New Zealand.
“Collaborating in Project Arachnid, our efforts as well as the efforts of other participants in removing child sexual abuse material are increased immensely. Project Arachnid is a global tool that removes geocentric barriers for removal. That we at ECPAT Sweden so far have been able to contribute to more than 1.3 million removals shows how efficient the proactive international work is and what difference it can make for victims of child sexual abuse.”
- Thomas Andersson, Senior Advisor at ECPAT Sweden
”The Canadian Centre for Child Protection have succeeded in building an extremely efficient system to protect children on every continent - Project Arachnid. We at Save the Children Finland are proud to be involved in this groundbreaking project. We want to congratulate the Canadian Centre for Child Protection on this important milestone and thank them for their tireless work to protect children.”
– Tanja Simola, Special Advisor, Hotline Manager, Child Protection and the Finnish Hotline Nettivihje, Save the Children Finland
”Project Arachnid is a tool that facilitates our work thanks to its technology, accompanies the analyst and builds a community in which members constantly support each other. With all this, together we build the hope that the removal of this illegal content is possible."
- Laura Aguiar - Manager and Senior Analyst of Te Protejo Colombia - Red PaPaz
“We congratulate the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to successful 5 years of Project Arachnid. Automatized tools like Arachnid are essentials in the future fight against CSAM online as they protect survivors, as well as analysts.”
- Stefan Glaser, Director
"Every child has the right to heal without the fear of the recordings of their abuse circulating online forever. Our work with CSAM victims and peer-support groups for parents of child victims of online sexual violence have truly confirmed to us the utmost importance of using the most efficient and effective tools to end the cycle of abuse.”
- Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen, Executive Director, Senior Specialist and psychotherapist, Suojellaan Lapsia ry /Protect Children
"Sexual abuse of a child is an act that seriously damages a child's well-being, health and development and leaves a mark on his or her life. Capturing such an act as videos and pictures and circulating them online means child sexual abuse over and over again. That is why we consider it very important to participate in the Arachnid project and to contribute to the removal of child sexual abuse material from the Internet.”
- Varje Ojala, Executive Director for Lastekaitse Liit.
"In order to protect children who are victims of sexual abuse on the Internet and enable them to recover as soon as possible in the future, it is necessary to remove materials of abuse from the Internet. Working on the Arachnid project, I realized two things, that technology allows us to fight equally in combating the spread of CSAM on the Internet, and that together with colleagues in other countries I work on the same goal - to fight for every child no matter where in the world.”
- Tomislav Ramljak, Executive Director for Centre for Missing and Exploited Children Croatia
Media relations contact:
1 (204) 560-0723


About the Canadian Centre for Child Protection: The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) is a national charity dedicated to the personal safety of all children. The organization’s goal is to reduce the sexual abuse and exploitation of children through programs, services, and resources for Canadian families, educators, child‑serving organizations, law enforcement, and other parties. C3P also operates, Canada’s national tipline to report child sexual abuse and exploitation on the internet, and Project Arachnid, a web platform designed to detect known images of CSAM on the clear and dark web and issue removal notices to industry.

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