MTN  joins forces with IWF, Meta and others to combat online child abuse

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Spining

MTN Group has joined forces with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) Meta, ICMEC (the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children) and Child Helpline International, with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), to launch the Help Children be Children campaign and the Child Safety Online Africa Portal to increase public awareness of the impact of Child Sexual Abuse Material and help prevent its spread in target countries on the African continent.

From 2019 to 2020, the number of reports received by the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) of child sexual abuse images and videos uploaded from the African continent grew by a staggering 81% to almost 2,4 million.

This new campaign is aimed at raising awareness of the gradual increase of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) and how it can be reported by the public in target countries.

Additionally, the campaign will help train law enforcement and child helplines in target countries, positively engage policymakers and stakeholders through roundtables, to join the global fight against CSAM.

Nompilo Morafo, Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer said, “Protecting children online is a global challenge, which requires a global approach.

As we lead digital solutions for Africa’s progress, we have a critical role in ensuring that every African child is kept safe online.

In alignment with our African values, we need to join forces to create a safe online village for our children. One where they are free from fear, humiliation, and abuse. One where they can have a normal childhood.”

MTN funded the development of the Child Safety Online Africa Portal and awareness campaign in partnership with the IWF.

The portal is aimed at eradicating the spread of child sexual abuse online and provides internet users with a tool to report any record of child sexual abuse material available online across the continent.

Emma Hardy Communications Director at the IWF said “We have successfully launched 49 portals all around the world, including 23 in Africa, providing a tool to report illegal imagery to millions.

Through the portals, the IWF and its partners such as MTN are working with governments, law enforcement units and other organisations to enable every single person to report child sexual abuse material online.”

Images and videos of child sexual abuse show real children who have been victims of some of the worst forms of abuse.

By reporting child sexual abuse material online through the portal, photos and videos will be assessed by IWF’s experienced analysts and removed from the internet if confirmed to be child sexual abuse in nature.

David Miles, Head of Safety at Meta for Europe, Middle East and Africa said: “For more
than a decade, we’ve been an industry leader in child safety around the world.

We’ve helped build the tools used to investigate this terrible crime, rescue children and bring justice to victims.

While we invest heavily in industry-leading tools to prevent such abuse from happening in the first place, it’s also important we spread awareness through campaigns and partnerships like this one so no child should ever have to face this abuse, whether offline or online.”

Bob Cunningham, President & CEO of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, said, “The prevalence of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is a growing threat in Africa and around the world. Every time abusive images are viewed or shared, children are revictimised.

Therefore, it is essential that CSAM is reported, and local authorities have the tools and capacities to protect child victims.

This awareness campaign is a crucial step to reaching parents, caregivers, and communities to help prevent future
abuse before it happens.”

Patrick Krens, Executive Director at Child Helpline International said: “If we want to be more effective and efficient in our combat against online sexual exploitation and abuse of children and young people we must invest more time, money and human resources in the 3Ps of Prevention, Protection and Prosecution.

For all three areas, it is important to listen to what children have to say to us and each other.

Every child has a voice, and we believe that no child should be left unheard.”Carmen Corbin, Advisor for the United Nations office on Drugs and Crime, Global Programme on Cybercrime in Africa said “Building strong capacities in the national criminal justice sectors in Africa to investigate and prosecute online child exploitation
is one of our programme’s priorities.

But we are also aware that public awareness and prevention campaigns are the first line of defence that will make communities, families, and children able to avoid and report child sexual abuse material online. We want a safer Internet for all children, a place where they can learn, play and develop their talents without being threatened by predators”.

While 23 countries in Africa have already stepped up and developed their own portal or hotline, the Child Safety Online Africa Portal will be accessible in countries where there is not yet a reporting mechanism to ensure even more countries on the continent are able to report child sexual abuse material.

To help children be children today, for tomorrow, report child sexual abuse material through this portal: https://report.iwf.org.uk/mtn/

About the MTN Group

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator with a clear vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to our customers. We are inspired by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life.

The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the
share code ‘MTN’. Our strategy is Ambition 2025: Leading digital solutions for Africa’s
progress.


About the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is one of the world’s leading non-profit organisations working to make the internet a safer place by spearheading the fight against child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online.

Based in Cambridge, UK, our team of expert analysts respond to public reports and proactively seek images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children and have them removed from the internet – no matter where they’re hosted in the world.

We provide a secure location for the public to report suspected images and videos of child sexual abuse they may accidentally see online.

Reports can be anonymous, and we don’t track any personal details or transfer reporter information to law enforcement.

We work internationally with nations which don’t have the facility to set up reporting mechanisms, to implement a Reporting Portal for citizens to report images or videos of suspected CSAM they may see online. We currently have 49 portals, with more planned to launch.

About Meta
Meta builds technologies and services that enable people to connect with each other,
build communities, and grow businesses.

Meta’s products empower more than 3 billion people around the world to share ideas, offer support and make a difference.

At Meta, we are constantly iterating, solving problems, and working together to
connect people all over the world.

Our mission is to give people the power to share and to make the world more open and connected. But none of this is possible if people don’t feel safe on our apps.

That’s why we’re always working to build a safer and more supportive community. We take a comprehensive approach to making our platforms a better place for everyone and regularly partner with experts to inform our approach to safety.

About the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC)
The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) envisions a world where children can grow up safe from exploitation, abuse, or the risk of going missing.

Since 1998, ICMEC has worked with allies in more than 120 countries, empowering the global community with the tools, training, and technology to create a safer world for children.

Through research, we identify gaps in international child protection systems that leave children vulnerable.

Where gaps exist, we train frontline professionals to protect children from harm and foster conditions for systemic change. When states and countries are ready to commit to protecting children systematically, we serve as their premier go-to expert in the trenches of implementation.

ICMEC’s unique value is in our comprehensive approach and ability to influence and inspire the global community – regardless of country, industry, sector, or profession – toward the common goal of building a safer world for all
children.

About Child Helpline International

Child Helpline International is a global network of child helplines, with 167 members
in 140 countries and territories around the world (November 2021).

We coordinate information, viewpoints, knowledge, and data from our child helpline members, and from partners and other external sources. This exceptional resource is used to help and support child protection systems globally, regionally, and nationally, to help our members advocate for the rights of children and amplify their voices.

About United Nations office on Drugs and Crime
For two decades, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been helping make the world safer from drugs, organized crime, corruption, and terrorism.

They are committed to achieving health, security, and justice for all by tackling these threats and promoting peace and sustainable well-being as deterrents to them.

Because the scale of these problems is often too great for states to confront alone, UNODC offers practical assistance and encourages transnational approaches to action.

They do this in all regions of the world through our global programmes and network of field offices.

UNODC’s Global Programme on Cybercrime (GPC) provides technical assistance and training to Member States to prevent and counter cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime, including countering online child sexual exploitation (OCSE).

The Programme
has developed an integrated approach to assist the Member States. The approach concentrates on policymaking and technical assistance, including activities on capacity building, normative assistance, strengthening of
international and national cooperation within the countries and with private sector, and prevention.

GPC is designed to respond flexibly to identified needs in the Member States to prevent and combat cybercrime in a holistic manner.

This is achieved through the delivery of crime prevention and criminal justice technical support, based on UNODC
assessment protocols and technical assistance tools. Specifically, UNODC draws upon its specialized expertise in the criminal justice system response and provides focused technical assistance for capacity building, prevention and awareness raising, international cooperation, data collection, research, and analysis on the
phenomenon.

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