Madagascar steps up to tackle ‘intolerable’ online child sexual abuse material
For the first time, people in Madagascar will have a safe and anonymous place to report criminal images and videos of children suffering sexual abuse.
For the first time, people in Madagascar will have a place to safely report “intolerable” online videos and images of child sexual abuse as country steps up to help protect children.
A new reporting portal, set up by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is being launched today (13 August).
The portal has been set up along with the Madagascan Ministry of Population, Social Protection and Women’s Empowerment, with help from UNICEF Madagascar. Madagascan NGO Youth First will also be at the forefront of helping promote the campaign on social media.
The portal, which can be accessed at https://report.iwf.org.uk/mg, gives people in Madagascar a safe and anonymous way to report images and videos of child sexual abuse if they accidentally stumble across them on the internet.
The IWF is the UK 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.
Lucien Irmah Naharimamy, Madagascan Minister of the Population, Social Protection and Women’s Empowerment, said: “In Madagascar, confronted by the risks of sexual abuse and exploitation related to the use of internet by our children, my department, as the first responsible of the promotion of children’s rights and protection, keeps developing actions and expanding partnerships in order to eradicate this phenomenon.
“Thus, the collaboration with the Internet Watch Foundation, through the setting up of the reporting portal in Madagascar, constitutes an important step towards the completion of our challenge.”
Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “This reporting portal gives people who would otherwise have had no way to report this criminal content a place they can safely, and anonymously, take action.
“It is another step in making the internet a safer place for everyone in the world.
“Madagascar has really stepped up and is taking its role in keeping children safe seriously. They are working hard to efficiently respond to online threats by developing a website providing resources to children, parents and carers on how to act online and respond to child abuse (You can access the website here: https://arozaza.mg/)”.
Nicolette Moodie, Section Head for the Child Protection Programme at UNICEF Madagascar, said: “Child sexual abuse and exploitation are intolerable, whether online or in the real world.
“This is the reason why UNICEF supported the setting up of this reporting portal so that children, and particularly children in Madagascar, those victims of these atrocities, can benefit from the best protection at an international level.
“The most important thing is that this support offers the possibility to erase once and for all these images of child sexual abuse from the internet and thus to protect children from re-victimisation.”
Ranto Andrianarison, Chief Executive Officer at Youth First, said the coronavirus pandemic has led to more people spending longer online.
Mr Adrianarison said: “After a survey conducted by the NGO Youth First, the number of hours spent online went up to more than five a day due to the COVID-19 lockdown. This situation can expose children and young people to more dangers online.
“The launching of this portal is a great step forward towards the setting up of a more secure environment for the use of the internet as a positive force for the development of children and young people.”
This is the IWF’s 41st reporting portal. It is the 18th to be set up in Africa, and the 23rd Global Fund sponsored portal to launch.
IWF Portals are now available in 16 languages (Arabic, English, French, Hindi, Indonesian, Kazakh, Lingala, Mongolian, Nepali, Pashto, Portuguese, Spanish, Swahili, Ukrainian, Urdu, Wolof)