MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Leading digital solutions platform Globe has partnered with the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to boost protection of children online, as greater use of the Internet during the pandemic has seen a rise in child sexual abuse material.
IWF is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating child sexual abuse imagery online. It provides a secure and anonymous place for people in the UK and 49 other countries to report suspected child sexual abuse images and videos that they find on the Internet.
The organization, which uses technical tools and datasets to detect content that promotes online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC), recently established a global first “report/remove” function through Childline, a website that allows children to self-refer sexualized images they may have made of themselves.
According to UNICEF’s SaferKidsPH program in the Philippines, OSAEC has been a thriving industry in the country because of the high incidence of poverty which has forced parents to put their children in dangerous situations to earn money.
The country is currently the world’s highest producer of content rooted in online child sexual abuse and exploitation, according to a study led by the US-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
During the Globe #MakeITSafePH Webinar held last February 8 in celebration of Safer Internet Day, IWF Communications Director Emma Hardy shared that the current landscape of OSAEC saw a 64% increase in reports of child sexual abuse imagery in 2021 – 72% of which were found to be “self-generated.”
“Self-generated” refers to content created by a child that may have been groomed, coerced, or encouraged into sexual activities over webcam. A person on the other end then records and distributes these videos to online platforms using coded hashtags or in closed groups /online communities that take interest in these types of content.
“OSAEC has been a rampant issue in the Philippines for many years now and has even worsened during this pandemic. Our partnership with IWF is just one of our many efforts to protect children from further risks of online violence and exploitation,” said Yoly Crisanto, Globe Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP for Corporate Communications.
Globe’s #MakeITSafePH campaign has been a long-running program that promotes online safety of children. It has so far spent P2.7 million to establish an effective filtering system to weed out inappropriate content online, blocking 9,329 sites containing illegal content so far. It also regularly conducts awareness and education campaigns to tackle the issues around OSAEC in the Philippines.
Together, Globe and IWF hope to take urgent and sustained action against OSAEC.
“We’ve been doing this for 25 years now, and we cannot do it without great partnerships from around the world. And we were so delighted to be able to welcome Globe as one of our members in the Philippines. Key to the work that we do is having a global network of Internet companies that we work with as well as other hotlines like the work we provide and law enforcement,” Hardy said.
IWF empowers children to block, report, and tell someone they trust if such indecent activities happen to them by going to https://talk.iwf.org.uk/ or Home – Gurls Out Loud. Its portals are available to 2.6 billion people around the world, including vulnerable populations in the most under-developed countries, and the platforms are capable of receiving reports in various languages.
Globe supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly UN SDG No. 9, which highlights the roles of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development, and UN SDG 17, which highlights the value of partnerships to achieving sustainable development goals. Globe is committed to upholding the United Nations Global Compact principles and contributing to 10 UN SDGs.
To know more about Globe and its various advocacies and initiatives, visit www.globe.com.ph/about-us/sustainability.html