At a glance:
- G7 Governments make groundbreaking commitments to accelerate action and increase investments to tackle online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (CSEA)
- The Call comes in the midst of surge of online child abuse due COVID19 pandemic, increasing the sense urgency to act
- End Violence Partnership is highlighted as key partner to help maximise collective impact to make the internet safe for children
Today in London, the G7 Interior and Security Ministers issued a statement featuring a comprehensive set of commitments from G7 governments calling for more action by government and industry to combat online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA). The G7 recognizes how this growing threat to children everywhere has been further exacerbated during Covid-19 with the emergence of new technologies and children spending more time online.
At any one time, 750,000 individuals are estimated to be looking to connect with children online for sexual purposes. Data from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) shows the number of reports of suspected child sexual exploitation keeps growing at a startling rate – in 2020 alone there were 22 million reports of suspected child sexual abuse made to NCMEC.
As this problem grows exponentially, it is so encouraging to see this issue being recognized by such an influential group of governments who are committing to action. This statement highlights the importance of more investments to effectively tackle online CSEA at scale and recognizes the End Violence Global Partnership as one of the key global actors that can effectively contribute to this fight.
Key points from the G7 statement include:
- A call for governments and industry for greater action and investment to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse.
- The need for better collaboration through partnerships such as the End Violence Partnership.
- Recognition that we can strike a balance in privacy and safety.
The G7 announcement provides an important boost for Together to #ENDviolence campaign and policy agenda that sets an ambitious way forward for what is needed to end violence against children by 2030 - especially in relation to the policy proposal to make the internet safe for children and the lack of human and financial resources to tackle this growing problem.
The commitment to "further strengthen domestic regimes, law enforcement cooperation and information sharing across the G7 targeting the online and offline spaces in which CSEA offenders operate and bringing them to justice" speaks to calls for action from the #ENDviolence global campaign that all actors must commit to preventing, detecting and stopping all activities that may harm children online, including grooming and distribution of child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
The G7 statement includes the launch of the Tech Challenge Fund that complements investments by End Violence in technology tools to tackle online CSEA. The need to adopt child online safety policies, based on children’s rights to access the digital world in ways that are safe and secure is reflected throughout the G7 statement, including with an endorsement of the G7 Digital and Technology Ministers’ Internet Safety Principles, and engagement with and promotion of membership of the WePROTECT Global Alliance, a key partner of End Violence.
"As momentum builds around ending all violence against children, we welcome this focus and commitment from the G7 governments,” said Dr. Howard Taylor, Executive Director of the End Violence Partnership. “Cross-sectoral collaboration, increased action, and more investment are urgently needed from governments and industry to tackle the significant and fast-growing threat of online CSEA to children everywhere.”
Through Safe Online work, End Violence has enhanced capacities and supported communities to tackle online CSEA. Safe Online catalyses change and collaborative action across sectors and internationally by investing financial resources and influencing policy on child online safety. Since its inception in July 2016, End Violence has awarded US $47 million in the form of 55 grants across over 70 countries to prevent and end online CSEA. Crucially, Safe Online fosters knowledge generation and collaboration to maximise the use of collective resources and ensure investments have a broad impact.
Over the coming period, together with key partners and G7 governments, we will work to increase investment from national governments, donors and the private sector in proven solutions to tackle online CSEA. We are proud to be a part of the G7 statement calling for more industry and government action and focusing on cooperation.