UNHRC: No country is free from child sexual abuse and exploitation

Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, UN Special Rapporteur on sale and sexual exploitation of children, has presented a report to member states highlighting the need to address the gaps in protecting children online at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Boer-Buquicchio warned that along with the benefits the Internet has brought, it also offers ‘secrecy, anonymity and opacity’ to perpetrators who often act ‘with utter impunity’.

Boer-Buquicchio also highlighted issues such as: (a) children being sold to perform online; (b) states prosecuting children who were forced to carry out sex acts online; (c) increasing patterns of younger children being victim to online abuse; (d) increase in child sexual abuse material online; (e) lack of true scale of crime against children online due to lack of centralised data; (f) a lack of reporting bodies; (g) societal stigma surrounding child sexual abuse and exploitation; (h) sites and abuse content that can only be accessed through virtual private networks and peer-to-peer file-sharing networks or use of encrypted platforms, which makes investigations difficult.