What is child sexual abuse material (CSAM)?
Child sexual abuse material can come from an adult abusing a child and posting a photo/video online, or it could result from an adult grooming a child and obtaining photos and videos of the child or self-generated material.
Whether it is one image or many more does not matter, what does is that there is a victim. According to work by the World Health Organisation (WHO), 200 million children are sexually abused every year. There are millions of images and videos of children being sexually abused every year around the world. INTERPOL's Child Sexual Exploitation database holds more than 1.5 million images and videos, collectively recording the abuse of more than 19,400 victims worldwide. These images do not just represent one instance of abuse – each time an image or video is shared, the child depicted in the image or video is re-victimised, which creates a cycle of abuse.
Do you know that the epidemic of CSAM online is only getting worse?
We repeatedly read articles that discuss the dangers of social media, and while these platforms endeavour to block and report predators, it is simply too easy to set up a fake account. The fact is that the risks are real, with 89 per cent of illegal content reported to the INHOPE global network containing pre-pubescent victims aged 3-13. This group of vulnerable children is increasingly at risk, with criminals creating more elaborate ways to misuse the social networks we all use on a daily basis to speak with family, friends and colleagues.
Don't hesitate to report content online to your country's hotline, speak up for the victim who cannot, and break the cycle of abuse. To know what you should report, visit your country's reporting platform.
From Monday, 9 March to Tuesday, 14 April 2020, INHOPE, the International Association of Internet Hotlines, is running a #reportit campaign across social media to promote the importance of reporting child sexual abuse material (CSAM) when encountered online. For more information, visit inhope.org, as well as their Facebook and Twitter pages.
Additionally, to learn more about the work of INHOPE hotlines, visit betterinternetforkids.eu.