New Moroccan portal will play ‘crucial’ role in fighting ‘plague’ of child sexual abuse on the internet

Published:  Tue 9 Feb 2021

A new reporting portal will play a “crucial” role in making Morocco a safer place to go online at a time where more children are spending longer online.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has teamed up with CMRPI - the Moroccan Centre for Polytechnic Research and Innovation (Centre Marocain de Recherches Polytechniques et d'Innovation), with important support from the Council of Europe and from the Association Amane, to launch a brand-new portal for people in Morocco to report suspected images and videos of child sexual abuse on the internet.

The Portal is available in French and Arabic (https://report.iwf.org.uk/ma) and is available on the newly-launched Espace Maroc Cyberconfiance webpage (https://www.cyberconfiance.ma).

The IWF is the UK-based international charity responsible for finding and removing images and videos of child sexual abuse from the internet.

Once reported through the new portal, images and videos will be assessed by trained IWF analysts in the UK.

If they are found to contain child sexual abuse, they can be blocked and removed from the internet.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “This portal will give people a safe and anonymous way to do the right thing. It will make the internet safer in Morocco, and will help us stamp out online child sexual abuse material wherever it’s being shared.

“We know this is an important time, and the internet is really helping people to keep strong, but we must make sure people, especially children, are safe. This portal is absolutely key in making that happen.”

Professor Youssef Bentaleb, President of the Moroccan Center for Polytechnic Research and Innovation (CMRPI) said: “I am certain that the partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation is of important added-value to promote children’s safety online.

“Amongst other things, it will be a perfect occasion for Morocco to set up the first national reporting portal of images and videos of child sexual abuse on Moroccan children.

“Thus, I’d like to congratulate the IWF for its work and its crucial role in children’s safety against cyberviolence, through its quick action on the reports received and the removal of content of sexual nature that have terrible and nefarious consequences on children themselves and on society.

“I would like to recognise the dynamism of IWF team and, if I may, to name two people in particular, Thomas Dyson and Zoé Colpaert.”

Janice Richardson, international expert for the Council of Europe said: “With the setting up of the reporting portal, Morocco becomes a pioneer in the region. Moreover, it will reinforce the realisation amongst Moroccan families that children’s online wellbeing requires the engagement of the entire community.”

Ali Aghnaj, Secretary General - Association Meilleur Avenir pour Nos Enfants – AMANE  said: “In Morocco, sexual violence against children are still difficult to identify and report because of the taboo around the topic and because of its fast evolution and change, specifically around the evolution of digital technologies.

“The prevention measures due to the Covid-10 pandemic led to children spending more time alone in front of their screens, raising the risk of being exposed to violence and online sexual exploitation.

“Thankfully, lately we noticed more action amongst Moroccan citizens towards reporting cases of violence against children.

“The launch of the IWF Reporting Portal in Morocco constitutes a safe, easily accessible and efficient way to contribute to the eradication of this plague that threatens children behind their screens.”

This is the  45th IWF portal. It is the 22nd to be launched in Africa, and the 27th Global Fund sponsored Portal to launch.

IWF Portals are currently available in 17 languages (Arabic, English, French, Hindi, Indonesian, Kazakh, Lingala, Malaysian Bahasa, Mongolian, Nepali, Pashto, Portuguese, Spanish, Swahili, Ukrainian, Urdu, Wolof).

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