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ChildFund's Initiative to Tackle Skyrocketing Online Child Sexual Abuse

ChildFund's WEB Safe & Wise initiative is tackling the global rise in online child sexual abuse, focusing on strengthening laws, policies, and raising awareness. The initiative is a global defense against the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.

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Geeta Pillai
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ChildFund's Initiative to Tackle Skyrocketing Online Child Sexual Abuse

ChildFund's Initiative to Tackle Skyrocketing Online Child Sexual Abuse

The prevalence of online child sexual abuse material has skyrocketed by an astounding 15,000% in the past decade and a half, as stated by ChildFund CEO Josie Pagani. This distressing spike has been accompanied by a disturbing pattern, with the overwhelming majority of victims being children aged between 3 and 12 years. Poverty-stricken and conflict-ridden zones have been identified by ChildFund as high-risk areas, but it is crucial to note that children in New Zealand are not immune to this risk.

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A Global Concern

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported an 87% increase in online child sexual abuse reports since 2019, having scrutinized over 32 million such incidents worldwide in 2022 alone. New Zealand saw nearly 30,000 reports of potential child abuse online in the same year, indicating a dramatic rise in both victims and perpetrators.

Addressing the Issue at the WEB Safe & Wise Conference

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The WEB Safe & Wise conference, held in Manila, Philippines, addressed these concerns. The country is a recognized hub for the production of child sexual abuse materials, with approximately half a million Filipino children being trafficked online in 2022. ChildFund's WEB Safe & Wise initiative, in collaboration with a host of organizations, is geared towards combating the sexual exploitation and abuse of children on a global scale.

Strengthening Laws and Policies

The initiative also underscores the need to fortify laws and policies that protect children and raise awareness about the severity of this issue. This announcement coincided with Safer Internet Day, designed to promote the safety of children online worldwide. The ChildFund Alliance, a coalition of 11 child-focused development and humanitarian organizations, including ChildFund NZ, is committed to protecting nearly 36 million children in 70 countries.

The WEB Safe & Wise initiative is poised to address the risks prevalent in the digital environment while empowering children and young people to become effective digital citizens. It concentrates on protecting vulnerable children from online sexual exploitation and abuse, intending to work closely with children and young people to create a safer digital world. The initiative has also amassed global leaders and experts to discuss the most imminent dangers to children online and identify solutions. The initiative is also a frontline defense against some of the most urgent risks to children online, including the online sexual exploitation and abuse of children. It aims to tackle the global rise in online child sexual abuse and protect vulnerable children through various activities and resources, including advocacy for stronger laws and policies, engagement with technology partners, and empowerment of young people to create a safer online environment.

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