"The Internet, a danger zone for children!"/ March in front of the EP, measures are required for online sexual violence

2023-09-19 18:05:00, Sociale CNA

"The Internet, a danger zone for children!"/ March in front of the EP,

Today, survivors of online sexual violence, young men and women, children's rights organizations and other advocates from across the EU and candidate countries marched in Brussels to call on EU leaders to ' to clean up the internet' from sexual predators and protect our children online. 

In a defiant display to get the attention of EU decision-makers, coalition representatives took to the streets to show their support for the proposed EU Regulation to prevent and combat child sexual abuse

Dressed in Child Safety costumes and warning signs, campaigners highlighted the dangers children face online today and called on EU leaders to use their political power to pass this legislation and protect children from online sexual violence. 

Statistics show a steady and alarming increase in the use of the Internet by sexual predators to find children and share child sexual violence materials, increasingly aiming to victimize children as young as possible.  

This civil society action comes after new data from  the European Commission's Eurobarometer   found that Europeans are broadly strong supporters of the demand to protect children online: 

1. 92% agree that children are increasingly at risk online. 

2. 82% agree that tools like "parental controls" are not enough to keep children safe online 

3. 78% strongly support the Commission's proposal to combat sexual violence against children on the Internet. 

Across Europe, over 100 young men and women, survivors of online sexual violence, personalities, academics and child safety experts have come together to sign an open letter calling on EU lawmakers to approve  the  proposal of the European Commission to combat sexual violence against children on the Internet.  

"The Internet, a danger zone for children!"/ March in front of the EP,

Youth activist Taveres Ferreira said:  “Every second, at least two images or videos of child sexual abuse are shared online. This means that over 52,000 images or videos in one working day, of which more than 60% are uploaded to servers located in Europe. Behind every image is someone who has to live with the long-term trauma of sexual violence, the horrific violation of privacy due to the circulation of their images online. We must act to clean up the internet from criminals who use it to harm our children.” 

"The regulation currently being discussed at EU level is absolutely vital to ensure that all online platforms ensure that their services are safe for children and that they detect and remove child sexual abuse material. We are here to ask EU regulators in Brussels and across the EU to take action to clean up the internet and make it a safe place for children." 

1. In 2022, 40% of child sexual abuse websites reported online featured a child under the age of 10, and more of the most horrific categories of child sexual abuse were reported online than ever before, according to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).  

2. It is extremely problematic that the EU is at the center of 60% of cases of sexual violence against children on the Internet. 

3. 78% of EU citizens support the EU to pass long-term legislation that will keep children safe online. 

Mié Kohiyama, survivor of sexual violence, member of the Brave Movement in France said:

We pray today that EU leaders - protect children and honor survivors. Approve this legal change." 

The proposed EU legislation requires internet and online service providers to prevent, detect, report and remove any child sexual content online. It will establish a specialized Center in an EU country to prevent and combat child sexual violence online, where children's rights professionals, technology experts, survivors and law enforcement will work together to tackle this cross-border crime.

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