Child sexual abuse is a hideous crime. For the vast majority of us, the idea of violating, hurting and abusing a child is intolerable. Nonetheless, these crimes are not as rare as we would like to think. Every day, countless children around the world are sexually abused and exploited, and images and videos of the abuse are circulated. Already in 2005, an estimated one million child sexual abuse images were online. 50.000 new child abuse images are added each year. More than 70% of reported images feature children below 10 years of age. And these images never disappear. Children that have been identified and rescued years ago still have to face the fact that their abuse remains freely available for anyone to view online, and are re-victimized over and over.
We cannot afford to remain passive, and we cannot afford to act alone. This is no phenomenon that any country can tackle on its own. Modern technology allows criminals to move images, videos and contacts quickly between jurisdictions, exploiting legal loopholes and the anonymity the Internet provides. International cooperation is essential if we want to stand a chance of rescuing victims, putting a stop to continuing re-victimization and of finding and prosecuting offenders.
The We Protect Global Alliance to End Child Sexual Exploitation Online, resulting from the merger between We Protect and the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online, tries to respond to these challenges.
We Protect was created in 2014 in the UK as a global multi-stakeholder response to combating online child abuse and exploitation. Its participants were signatories to a global statement of action, to which 63 countries, 30 NGOs and 20 leading technology companies had already committed to.
The Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online was launched on 5 December 2012 by the European Commission and the US and it aimed to raise standards worldwide and unite efforts around the world to more effectively combat online sexual crimes against children. It gathered 54 countries, which committed to pursue concrete actions to enhance victim protection, identify and prosecute offenders, raise awareness, and reduce the availability of child pornography online and the re-victimization of children.
A first report summarising the commitments that participating countries have undertaken in order to reach the four political targets was produced in December 2013.
At the invitation of EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström and US Attorney General Eric Holder, global decision-makers met in Washington for the second Ministerial Conference of the Global Alliance on 29 and 30 September 2014.
Ministers and representatives from participating countries, experts from law enforcement authorities, the private sector, victim advocacy groups and frontline organisations assessed what progress has been made in the first two years of the Global Alliance and how to expand the fight against global proliferation of child sexual abuse online in the future. A Ministers' Declaration summarized the outcome of the conference.
After the conference, participating countries again provided updates on their progress towards achieving the Global Alliance’s policy targets. They also provided detailed input on the evolving threat of child sexual abuse online, outlining the major changes that national law enforcement perceives. On the basis of this input, the Global Alliance secretariat compiled the Second Global Alliance Report and a first comprehensive threat assessment report.
Endorsing the Declaration on the Launch of the Global Alliance against child sexual abuse online, the countries participating in the Alliance committed to four key policy targets:
Guiding principles annexed to the Declaration set out concrete operational goals and examples of potential actions that participants could undertake to reach these goals.
Participants in the Global Alliance submitted commitments to undertake concrete actions in the immediate future to reach the four key policy targets. These commitments also included a detailed baseline, providing an overview of actions they already undertook. The choice of actions for reaching the overarching goals is left to each country.
Participants produced progress reports on the actions they committed to, on the occasion of the Second Ministerial Conference, in September 2014.
The documents available below – both commitments and progress reports – reflect the choice and views of the individual country.
Bosnia and Herzegovina