Press release

Gulf States agree action to tackle online child exploitation and modern slavery

All 6 Gulf countries have committed to sign up to the WePROTECT Global Alliance to take action to end the online sexual exploitation of children.

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Gulf countries have agreed to do more to tackle online child exploitation and to stamp out the international scourge of modern slavery and human trafficking at a meeting of the UK and the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC).

All 6 countries have now committed to sign up to the WePROTECT Global Alliance, a coalition of countries and organisations dedicated to taking action to end the online sexual exploitation of children.

They have also agreed to enter into discussions on compliance with international conventions on forced labour as part of global efforts to tackle modern slavery.

British experts at the UK Border Force will now work with Gulf-based airlines to raise awareness of modern slavery among their staff and crew, and advise them how to share any concerns they might have with border officials or the police.

The Prime Minister led the way in securing agreement at the GCC meeting in Bahrain today.

The Prime Minister said:

The UK is already taking action at home to stamp out modern day slavery but we will only eradicate this problem if we work with other countries around the world. This agreement from the Gulf States is an encouraging step forward.

Likewise I am pleased that the GCC countries will join the WePROTECT Global Alliance, which has the resources, expertise and influence to transform how online child sexual exploitation is dealt with worldwide.

This heinous crime is a global problem which cannot be resolved by countries working in isolation, we have to work together to protect children.

The WePROTECT Global Alliance was formed in 2014 as a global coalition of countries and organisations dedicated to ending the online sexual exploitation of children.

Since then it has increased global awareness of online child sexual exploitation and given governments, technology companies and civil society a focus for commitments to end this crime.

The aims are for more victims to be identified and safeguarded, more perpetrators to be brought to justice, and ultimately to create a world free from online child sexual exploitation.

The International Labour Organisation’s convention on forced labour is aimed at advancing prevention, protection and compensation measures for workers, as well as intensifying efforts to eliminate modern forms of slavery.

It will come into force in January 2017 in the UK, which already meets many of its requirements through the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act.

Published 7 December 2016