The Luxembourg Guidelines - http://www.luxembourgguidelines.org - are the first of their kind to promote conceptual clarity, ethical and correct terminology in the fight against online and offline child sexual exploitation.
The International Working Group, which worked hard on developing this set of guidelines, is composed of representatives from 18 international organisations, including UN agencies, child rights NGOS, law enforcement agencies and INHOPE as the umbrella organisation for reporting hotlines.
Child sexual abuse material (CSAM) - which members and hotline analysts across the INHOPE network and across the globe work tirelessly to remove from the internet - is often referred to as 'child pornography' or other terms which trivialise the issue and minimise the seriousness of the abuse being depicted.
INHOPE and its members have long been advocates of better and more respectful terminology. INHOPE previously developed a terminology note specifically on CSAM
, and INHOPE's early members are reported to have actually coined the term and acronym as an alternative to ‘child pornography' since the inception of the network.
INHOPE, as a member of the Interagency Working Group, strongly supports the Luxembourg Guidelines to help streamline terminology and fight online child sexual abuse and exploitation. INHOPE contributed on all terms related to online child sexual exploitation and also helped with the French and Spanish versions, which will be disseminated very soon.
Generally speaking, this type of high-level gathering is excellent for both visibility and networking purposes. It was good that INHOPE obtained recognition on its terminology contribution, promoting a more child-rights compliant approach and on seeking alignment with law enforcement. Clearer terminology* can only lead to better advocacy, which in turn will lead to stronger policy and programming.
The development of harmonised and internationally recognised terminology is essential in defining the level and efficacy of responses at policy and programming levels, and also in order to strengthen data collection and cooperation across stakeholders, agencies and organisations, sectors and countries. In summary:
- Terms to be used with caution, or avoided completely, include 'child pornography', 'child sex tourism' and 'child prostitution'.
- More appropriate terms are ‘child sexual abuse', ‘sexual exploitation of children in the context of travel and tourism' and ‘exploitation of children in/for prostitution'.
(* It should be noted however that in the case of legislation, ‘child pornography' still remains widely in use.)