UK, Uganda agree further efforts against online child sexual exploitation
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High Commissioner speaks to Ugandan press as meetings held in London and Kampala
On 10-11 December 2014, the UK hosted a Global Summit to Tackle Online Child Sexual Exploitation. Hon. Ambassador James Baba Ugandan Minister of State for Internal Affairs led a high-level Ugandan delegation to the Summit, including two senior Commissioners from the Uganda Police Force.
Following the Summit, 48 countries, including the UK and Uganda, signed up to a Statement of Action committing themselves to further efforts to protect children online. This includes action to remove indecent images from the internet by setting up reporting and blocking tools for child sexual content, action to identify and protect victims and strengthening co-operation between law enforcement agencies to improve international co-ordination and prevent those seeking to harm children from travelling. Speaking at the Summit, Prime Minister David Cameron also announced a raft of measures and technical innovations to tackle those who use the internet to view and share illegal images.
To mark this important summit, the British High Commissioner to Uganda, HE Alison Blackburne, spoke to the New Vision newspaper in Kampala, in an article published on 12 December. She stressed that online child sexual abuse is a terrible crime which causes indescribable harm to children and young people, and affects both the UK and Uganda. She said “Ending it will require global action to ensure that our children are protected, victims are rescued and perpetrators are apprehended.”
The High Commissioner also underlined that both the UK and Uganda have already taken significant steps to tackle this problem. For example, the Government of Uganda, through the National Information Technology Authority (NITA), with the support of the UK’s Internet Watch Foundation, is establishing an online child sexual abuse reporting tool through which internet users can report websites depicting child sexual abuse. The Government of Uganda is also hosting a regional conference on Child Online Protection in Africa on 15 and 16 December 2014, under the auspices of the International Telecommunication Union.
In the UK, the National Crime Agency has been significantly strengthened with officers specially trained to combat child abuse online. We are also working closely with leading internet service providers and search engines to explore ways to better protect children online.
Despite these efforts, sadly, children continue to be exploited and harmed in the most terrible ways. There is little sign that the number of offenders involved or that the number of new images posted on the internet is falling. For this reason, the Global Summit to Tackle Online Child Sexual Exploitation was a vital opportunity for Government Ministers from around the world, senior law enforcement officers, the technology industry and civil society organisations to agree concrete global action to stop online child abuse once and for all.