Historical achievement for children in the EU and beyond: new EU Legislative proposal to combat and prevent child sexual abuse

 

Brussels, 11 May 2022

 

Today marks a historical day for children in Europe and beyond. With this ground-breaking legislative proposal, the EU is setting a precedent across the world, paving the way for more stringent rules to step up the fight and prevention against child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA), including a legal obligation for online communication services providers to detect, report and remove child sexual abuse online.

The European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights has been in the forefront in the fight against child sexual exploitation and abuse. With the European Parliament Resolution on Children’s Rights of 26 November 2019, we called on the European Commission to come up with a specific legislative proposal for a more effective fight against CSEA, as well as for the creation of an EU Centre to counter and prevent CSEA. 

CSEA knows no border and poses multi-faceted challenges that require a united and coordinated response from the legislator. Over the past 20 years, online CSEA has increased dramatically worldwide and the pandemic has even further exacerbated the problem.

In 2021, 85 million Child Sexual abuse imagery were reported by online communication services providers.  In the EU alone, we have witnessed an increase of 5980% of reports between 2010 and 2020. And these figures are likely to be conservative, since those reports merely scratch the surface of the magnitude of the problem.

Given the scourge of this problem, it is clear that the current system is not enough and that a multi-stakeholder approach is needed if we want to bring about a real change in this ecosystem.

To that end, we welcome that the European Commission took on board our specific call for the creation of an independent EU Centre to counter and prevent child sexual exploitation and abuse.

In such a scenario, only a fully-fledged independent EU Centre enabled to receive direct reports from electronic communication services providers can ensure that a proper human review is carried out and specific safeguards for fundamental rights are put in place. 

It has been about time we take a victim-centred approach, and do right by children – who are repeatedly re-victimized at every new view of the images depicting their abuse – by giving them back control of their lives.

One child victim of such heinous crimes is one too many. The new EU Centre will play a pivotal role in facilitating the work of law-enforcement by receiving the CSEA reports and ensure that those reports are actionable for Law-enforcement authorities, as well as in assisting member states in the prevention efforts – including for potential offenders, and victim assistance efforts.  

 

David Lega MEP (EPP, Sweden), Co-Chair of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights

Caterina Chinnici MEP (S&D, Italy), Co-Chair of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights

Hilde Vautmans MEP (Renew, Belgium), Co-Chair of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights

 

Antonio Lopez Isturiz MEP (EPP, Spain), Vice-Chair of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights, EPP Secretary General

Evin Incir MEP (S&D, Sweden), Vice-Chair of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights

Dragos Pislaru MEP (Renew, Romania), Vice-Chair of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights, Chair of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL)

Milan Brglez MEP (S&D, Slovenia), Vice-Chair of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights

Catharina Rinzema MEP (Renew, Netherlands), Vice-Chair of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights

 

— ENDS —

 

For more information and media inquiries, please contact:

Emilio Puccio, Secretary-General of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights

E: emilio.puccio@europarl.europa.eu

 

 

 

 

 

 

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