Tech companies and charities unite to keep children in Mali safe online

Published:  Thu 7 May 2020

A first of its kind reporting portal in Mali has seen major tech companies and leading charities come together to make sure children are protected from online sexual abuse.

Today (7 May) the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) launches a new reporting portal in Mali, a step which will help make sure children in the country are protected from online child sexual abuse material, as more spend longer online due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The portal can be accessed at https://report.iwf.org.uk/ml  

The portal was set up in collaboration with Peace One Day, with help from Orange Mali, Facebook, and the Government of Mali.

The IWF is the UK-based charity responsible for finding and removing online child sexual abuse material.

The new portal will allow people in Mali to anonymously report child sexual abuse material. The reports will then be assessed by trained IWF analysts in the UK.

The portal will be the 17th portal set up in Africa to fight the spread of online child sexual abuse material.

Susie Hargreaves, CEO of the IWF said the portal is being launched at just the right time.

Ms Hargreaves said: “Across the world, children are spending longer on the internet and on their devices because of the coronavirus lockdown.

“Because of this, they are at increased risk of being exposed to child sexual abuse material, or to the criminals that would seek to make them victims.

“This portal is vital now more than ever, and it will help make children safer.”

Sylvia Musalagani, Facebook Safety Policy Manager for Africa, said: "Keeping young people safe online is a top priority for Facebook and we work closely with safety partners and experts in the area of combatting child sexual exploitation and aiding victims.

“We are proud to partner with the Internet Watch Foundation and Peace One Day Mali to launch the reporting portal for child sexual abuse material online in Mali.

“This portal is a great contribution to the fight against child exploitation in the country and continent. "

Abdoul Malick Diallo, Social Responsibility Manager at Orange Mali, said: “A child is the best part of society.

“Every child must be protected and this Portal will help to protect them from being abused online. Let's all fight against child abuse together.”

Boubacar Issa Traoré, Executive Director of Peace One Day Mali, said: “This is the first time we are seeing this kind of project in Mali”.

He added: “The development of the internet and social media is very interesting, but still in Mali, many people are still sharing illegal sexual videos and images of young girls.”

The new portal is funded by the Global Fund to End Violence Against Children. It can be found at https://report.iwf.org.uk/ml  

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