Two new international reporting portals in Zimbabwe and Ukraine will help find and remove child sexual abuse on the internet
The portals, including the IWF's first in Europe, will allow people to report child sexual abuse material to the IWF should they stumble across it online
Two new international reporting portals in Zimbabwe and Ukraine will help find and remove child sexual abuse on the internet, with Ukraine becoming the first country in Europe to join the IWF’s global network.
Today (11 February) countries across the world celebrate Safer Internet Day 2020, which will have the theme “Together for a better internet”.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), the UK-based charity responsible for finding and removing child sexual abuse material from the internet, is celebrating by working with partners in both Ukraine and Zimbabwe to launch two new international reporting portals.
The portals will allow people in Ukraine and Zimbabwe respectively to report child sexual abuse material should they stumble across it online.
Once reported, the material will be assessed by IWF analysts in the UK and, if it is found to contain images or videos of child sexual abuse, it will be removed.
Susie Hargreaves OBE, CEO of the IWF, is visiting Ukraine for Safer Internet Day. She welcomed the launch of the new portals, saying they are yet another step towards making the internet a safer place.
She said: “Fighting against the spread of online child sexual abuse material is a global struggle. It is not something we can do on our own, and not something that can be done in isolation. The internet has no borders, and neither should our response to it.
“We are excited to be launching these portals in Ukraine and Zimbabwe on Safer Internet Day.
“The more we can do to make sure people have a safe place to anonymously report this material to us, the more likely it is this material will be found and taken down.
“These children are real children. They are real victims, and anything anyone can do, wherever they are, helps make the internet a safer place, and could help save a child from a life of misery and abuse.”
In Zimbabwe, the IWF partnered with Childline Zimbabwe.
Stella Motsi, National Director of Childline Zimbabwe, welcomed the new portal, saying it is an example of technology being used to keep children safe.
She said: “We are excited that Zimbabwe will have its portal given the increasing incidences of violence against children online.
“As Childline we feel honoured to host the portal as an addition to the already existing safe and confidential reporting platforms that include our 116 number. We believe in the power of technology use in child protection.”
Superintendent Francis Mutema, Acting Staff Officer at Zimbabwe’s Victim Friendly Unit, said: “It is our fervent hope that this portal will be an effective strategy and will help in blocking undesirable sites and removing child sexual abuse material from the internet.”
Mr Mutema said the collaboration with the IWF is “imperative” in ending the spread of online child sexual abuse material.
In Ukraine, The IWF worked with Ukrainian NGO Children’s rescue services and the Ministry for Digital Transformation of Ukraine to get the portal set up, as well as the Ombudsman for Children with the President of Ukraine Office.
Valeriia Ionan, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine for European Integration, said: “Without rules, technology turns into a dangerous weapon. Therefore, the task of each government is to create the conditions for safe and secure digital communications.
“It is important to minimize the number of crimes on the internet, and this cannot be done without combining the efforts of state bodies, public organisations and large IT companies.”
The campaign was created with the support of Kyivstar company and the portal is to be launched in partnership with the Global Fund to End Violence Against Children. Kyivstar is a Ukrainian telecom operator with 26,4 million subscribers.
The IWF already has two portals in UK Overseas Territories in Europe (Gibraltar, Akrotiri and Dhekelia) but the Ukraine Portal will be the first European country to join the global network.
The Zimbabwean portal can be accessed at is https://report.iwf.org.uk/zw
The Ukranian portal can be accessed at https://report.iwf.org.uk/ua