South African multinational mobile telecommunications company MTN Group has joined forces with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), Meta, International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), and Child Helpline International to launch the Help Children be Children campaign.
With the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the group will spearhead the campaign and the Child Safety Online Africa Portal to increase public awareness of the impact of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) and help prevent its spread in target countries on the African continent.
From 2019 to 2020, the number of reports received by the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) of child sexual abuse images and videos uploaded from the African continent grew by a staggering 81% to almost 2.4 million.
According to a joint media release, this new campaign is aimed at raising awareness of the gradual increase of CSAM and how it can be reported by the public in target countries. Additionally, the campaign will help train law enforcement and child helplines in target countries, and positively engage policymakers and stakeholders through roundtables, to join the global fight against CSAM.
MTN funded the development of the Child Safety Online Africa Portal and awareness campaign in partnership with the IWF. The portal is aimed at eradicating the spread of child sexual abuse online and provides internet users with a tool to report any record of child sexual abuse material available online across the continent.
Images and videos of child sexual abuse show real children who have been victims of some of the worst forms of abuse. By reporting child sexual abuse material online through the portal, photos and videos will be assessed by IWF’s experienced analysts and removed from the internet if confirmed to be child sexual abuse in nature.