Hotel industry giant unites with IWF to tackle child sexual abuse imagery online

Published:  Wed 22 Feb 2023

Hotel industry giant unites with IWF to tackle child sexual abuse imagery online

In an industry first, global hotel chain Marriott International has joined the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in the fight to stop child sexual abuse material on the internet.

The hospitality company will partner with the IWF as a new Member and use the charity’s URL List to block access on hotel guest networks to images and videos of children’s sexual abuse.

The IWF’s URL List is a comprehensive list of webpage addresses pinpointed to the exact location of confirmed criminal imagery. The list is updated regularly, with IWF analysts adding new URLs and removing those that no longer contain the criminal content.

Marriott is working with telecommunications company Cisco to implement the back-end technology throughout its properties to stop attempts to reach webpages on the IWF URL List.

This initiative marks the next step in a commitment by Marriott to address human rights issues in the hotel industry. In December 2022 Marriott reached the milestone of training one million employees to recognise and respond to signs of human trafficking.

Following a successful pilot conducted last year, Marriott will begin to deploy the technology in US and Canadian hotels this month (February). A global rollout to other regions is expected through 2024.

Anthony Capuano, Chief Executive Officer for Marriott International said: "Marriott is proud to be the first hospitality company to join IWF and collaborate with Cisco to raise awareness and restrict access to exploitative materials on our hotel networks. As a leader in the hospitality industry and a company that cares deeply about people, Marriott has committed to fighting human trafficking and other pressing human rights issues. This initiative builds on our anti-trafficking efforts and survivor empowerment work, honours our core values and upholds Marriott’s commitment to human rights."

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: "In 2022 the IWF identified and removed more than 255,000 web pages containing child sexual abuse imagery. This equates to millions of individual images and videos of children who are being exploited. It is through valuable partnerships with organisations like Marriott International that we can make the internet safer for both children and adults and we welcome them as a new Member. By using our URL list to protect their networks and people from risks online, Marriott will help to reduce the suffering of victims who are essentially revictimised when images of their abuse are viewed and shared online."

The IWF is a not-for-profit child protection organisation that finds, assesses and removes images and videos of child sexual abuse on the internet.

IWF Members have access to services such as the dynamic URL List which is updated twice a day and only contains webpages individually assessed and confirmed as criminal content by IWF analysts. This means that the List is precise and networks aren’t over-blocked. Only if an entire website is dedicated to confirmed child sexual abuse will the IWF recommend blocking at domain level.

Find out more about becoming a Member and the services the IWF can provide here.

Wizz partners with IWF to fight child sexual abuse on the internet

Wizz partners with IWF to fight child sexual abuse on the internet

Wizz, a social discovery app that allows users from 13 to 24 to meet and chat with people their own age has come on board as a new Member of the Internet Watch Foundation.

23 May 2024 News
Aylo and IWF partnership ‘paves the way’ for adult sites to join war on child sexual abuse online

Aylo and IWF partnership ‘paves the way’ for adult sites to join war on child sexual abuse online

The ‘world first’ standards will help to ‘set and raise’ standards to prevent the upload and distribution of online child sexual abuse imagery.

17 May 2024 News
Biggest telecoms and digital services company in NZ plays its part in securing a safer internet for all

Biggest telecoms and digital services company in NZ plays its part in securing a safer internet for all

Spark joins the Internet Watch Foundation as a Member, helping to keep the internet free from child sexual abuse content.

16 May 2024 News