Vienna, Austria — This week at the United Nations, 71* governments came together with a call to action, stepping up the battle against the global epidemic of online child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
“Child sexual abuse material is growing at rates on the internet we have not seen before, and the problem cannot be solved by any one organization or country - and must not be tolerated,” said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P). “We need immediate action from all sectors, and it is heartening to hear that leaders from the financial world are committing to do more to address this issue.”
C3P was among a core group of presenters to UN Member States following two days of intensive expert group meetings, hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in partnership with the Government of the United Kingdom. The meetings included child protection and criminal justice experts, academics, representatives of civil society organizations, the private sector and financial institutions. The objectives of the meeting were to discuss gaps and limitations in current approaches to the problem and to formulate new ways to accomplish the twin goals of removal of CSAM images online, linked to a comprehensive strategy to prevent the re-upload of known CSAM.
“The message we want delivered comes from the victims and survivors we hear from every day: get CSAM off the internet,” said McDonald. “The technology tools already exist to make that happen – what is lacking is the will from technology companies and regulation from governments. Our children have waited long enough.”
A message from a CSAM survivor was shared at the event:
“We want to be very clear: the tech industry knows that child sexual abuse material is on their platforms. They know that these are known documented crime scenes of horrific acts of abuse against our most vulnerable. They know it would cost them nothing to implement available technologies, and they also know it MIGHT cost them to lose the predators who frequent their platforms. Enough is enough. We want to see action, accountability, and transparency from everyone who has any amount of power to stop tech companies from profiting off of children.”
- * Since publication, the number of member states that joined the call to action has grown to 75. ↩
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