105,000 websites host child sexual abuse materials — report
Pia Lee Brago (The Philippine Star) - October 3, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – In just one year, the Internet Watch Foundation found more than 105,000 websites hosting child sexual abuse materials, according to a new United Nations-backed report showing the extent and scale of the problem of the “digital world.”

Social media have become popular channels among abusers through which they target children and exchange information with one another, according to the organiztion. 

The report on the state of children online raised concern that “worldwide, children are too often exposed to harm, abuse and violence due to the lack of monitoring on the internet.”

“Even children who do not fall victim to predatory behavior of adults often find themselves disadvantaged by the actions and omissions of services and products that do not take their needs into account or take sufficient steps to protect them,” the report said.

The study by the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development underlined the need for everyone to ensure that children remain safe as they explore the digital world.

It was produced by the commission’s working group on Child Online Safety, comprising senior representatives from the UN, non-government organizations, law-enforcement agencies, regulators and private companies.

The rising internet connectivity, according to the report, has the potential to transform children’s lives for the better, but also makes them vulnerable to sexual abuse, online harassment and bullying, recruitment by extremist groups and other risks.

Globally, there are more than 2.2 billion people under the age of 18. In some developing countries, children are close to 50 percent of the population.

A UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) research that was cited in the report said around 71 percent of the youth are already online, making children the biggest vulnerable group in societies.

It added that the availability of affordable smartphones and mobile broadband is making it easier for young people to get online.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that every year, 200 million children are sexually abused, showing the extent of child sexual abuse material online.

“And increasingly, much of this abuse either takes place online or is captured and digitally distributed. In this case, the internet is an enabler of abuse and exploitation,” the report said.

UNICEF said Filipino children have a massive presence online and online child abuse is the leading cybercrime in the Philippines.

It added that new technologies, such as live streaming, are “putting more Filipino children at risk of sexual abuse.”

The Philippines, according to a 2017 UNICEF report, is the number one global source of child pornography and a hub for the live-stream sexual abuse trade.






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