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The 2021 Global Threat Assessment report: A need for a new approach for Child sexual abuse online

WeProtect Global Alliance published the 2021 Global Threat Assessment report on child sexual exploitation and abuse online. It is the most comprehensive yet, demonstrating how the global response to online child sexual exploitation requires a new approach. Along with the threat assessment, it also published detailed findings from the Economist Impact Global Survey and the Survey of Tech Companies.

The report evidenced that there is a growth in the scope and complexity of child sexual exploitation and abuse online. For instance, the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children processes on average 60,000 reports of child sexual abuse online every day. The Internet Watch Foundation saw a 77% rise in child ‘self-generated’ sexual material from 2019 to 2020. The COVID-19 has had a huge impact on children and their online exposure. The report highlighted the necessity of a paradigm shift in global response that focuses on preventing abuse before occurring. It called for collaboration among parties including countries, corporations, and NGOs to work together to make changes.

The report concluded with a series of recommendations covering sectors of policy and legislation, criminal justice, victim support services, technology, society and research. A cross-cutting recommendation is that governments, the private sector, and civil society must commit enough funding to address this threat.

WeProtect Global Alliance brings together governments, the private sector, civil society and international organisations to develop policies and solutions to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online. The Alliance relaunched in 2020 as an independent organisation and is the combination of two initiatives: The European Commission and US Department of Justice’s Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online; and WePROTECT, established by the UK Government as a global multi-stakeholder response to combating online child sexual abuse.

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