New reporting portal to address ‘critical’ need to keep children safe in Ghana

Published:  Thu 1 Oct 2020

A new online portal is addressing the “critical” need to protect children in Ghana as reports of child sexual abuse material in the country increase “rapidly”.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has today (October 1) launched a new reporting portal giving people in Ghana a way to report child sexual abuse material should they stumble across it online.

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.

The Portal is available in two languages – French and English, and will later be available in Arabic and Spanish. It can be accessed at https://report.iwf.org.uk/gh.

The IWF worked with the National Cyber Security Centre in the Ghanaian government, and UNICEF Ghana, to get the vital portal up and running.

Anne-Claire Dufay, Country Representative for UNICEF Ghana, said: “As more children gain access to the internet, the risk of experiencing violence, abuse and exploitation online has become an unfortunate reality.

“The number of reports related to child sexual abuse material being accessed, distributed or produced from Ghana has been increasing rapidly over the past years, from 750 in 2016 to 7,000 in 2019. 

“In this context, the Government of Ghana is collaborating with the Internet Watch Foundation to establish a reporting mechanism for Child Sexual Abuse Imagery Online.

“UNICEF welcomes this important development, which is very timely. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our children spend significant time online to access education, play and connect with their friends and family.”

Ms Dufay said the portal is more important now than ever.

She added: “In an increasingly digitalized era, the need to ensure a safe and protective environment for children has never been so critical.”

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, welcomed the creation of the portal, saying it will help make a real difference to online safety “the world over”.

Ms Hargreaves said: “This new online portal is absolutely vital. It allows people in Ghana to report things straight to our brilliant, trained analysts who will be able to assess them and make sure the internet is kept safe.

“This helps us make sure the internet is a positive place for everyone the world over, and that criminals have nowhere to hide or to share this criminal material. Ultimately, it will help make children safer. That is why this work is so important.”

This is the 43rd IWF Portal, and the 20th to be set up in Africa. It is the 25th Global Fund sponsored Portal to launch

IWF Portals are 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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