INHOPE #reportit – Speak for those who cannot
Often when we see images online, we forget about the person behind the image. And that is fine when it is your friends' Instagram story of them on holiday, yet again. But when it is someone being sexually exploited or abused, forgetting about the person behind the image is dangerous. 2.2 billion people globally are under the age of 18, making them society's biggest group, and the most vulnerable to online harm.
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.
A single anonymous report can have an incredibly huge impact. INHOPE's member hotlines have countless success stories, in which a public report has led to successful investigations into cases of child sexual abuse and in some cases, to the arrests of the offenders. Below are just a few examples.
When you report something to a hotline in your country you may wonder what impact this has. In the majority of cases, the INHOPE member hotlines work both indirectly and directly with law enforcement officials and internet service providers. This means that when you report content you believe to contain child sexual abuse material (CSAM) to your local hotline, this information will be passed to the police who do have the power to investigate the crime that is being committed. In some instances, the hotline can even report the content to the internet service provider and have the content removed directly from the internet.
- BIK Team
On Thursday, 21 November 2019, the Safer Internet Forum (SIF) took place in Brussels, Belgium. With a theme of "From online violence to digital respect", it also celebrated 20 years of safer/better internet funding by the European Commission. Below, read the summary of the INHOPE@20 deep dive session on the impact of a global network in combatting online child sexual abuse material (CSAM), led by Denton Howard, Executive Director of INHOPE and Fred Langford, President of INHOPE.
- UK Safer Internet Centre
IWF (the Internet Watch Foundation), a partner in the UK Safer Internet Centre, are the UK's hotline for reporting and removing sexual images of children online. The IWF's Deputy CEO Fred Langford has become the next President of INHOPE (International Association of Internet Hotlines), the umbrella organisation uniting a global network of hotlines tackling child sexual abuse imagery online and child sexual exploitation.