UK Child Sex Abuse Victims Seek Stronger Online Safety Bill

A group of child sexual abuse victims appealed to the United Kingdom government to enhance the country’s Online Safety Bill.

In a letter addressed to the Members of Parliament and UK Government leaders, the International Justice Mission (IJM) said that “the bill needs to go further in recognizing that these platforms aren’t just where abusive material is published, the platforms are used as tools to commit abuse.

According to charities, online predators are increasingly live-streamingbecause most internet companies lack built-in software to detect or prevent this form of abuse.

However, the Online Safety Bill does not currently involve live-streaming, and the IJM said in the letter,  “We want you to require that tech company proactively prevent and detect online sexual exploitation of children.”

According to the IJM, half of the victims were under the age of 12 at the time of rescue, with some being as young as a year old.

The letter also revealed that children are frequently assaulted in places such as the Philippines, “While remote perpetrators in places such as the UK pay to direct and see the abuse in real-time.”

A victim who went by the pseudonym “Alice” for protection said in the letter, “I am a survivor of online sexual exploitation. I have experienced extreme pain, hurt, and trauma. I am a victim of human trafficking. It was not easy for me to sell my body in exchange for money. So I want to share this with those who are leading the creation of this online safety bill so that you can bring justice to what I’ve experienced as darkness – to the point of wanting to kill myself. I hope this bill is passed so that this does not happen to more children.” 

“We ask that the accountability for live streaming of child sexual abuse be included, specified, and prioritized in this bill.” the IJM expressed. 

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