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Mozambique takes vital step to remove online child sexual abuse from the internet

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International children’s charity, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), will process Mozambique’s reports of child sexual abuse images

Mozambique’s government announced its new system for reporting child sexual abuse content with international children’s charity, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

The IWF, which is the world’s leading charity in identifying and removing online child sexual abuse material from the internet, is launching IWF reporting websites, known as Reporting Portals, in 30 of the world’s least developed countries.

The government of Mozambique made the announcement on Safer Internet Day, which is celebrated by hundreds of organisations worldwide in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. The campaign is coordinated by the UK Safer Internet Centre, which is made up of children’s charities Childnet, South West Grid for Learning and the IWF.

Top organisations in Mozambique have backed the move and committed their full support to cracking down on illegal images of children.

Mozambique has become the second country to benefit from a prestigious international grant, the Fund to End Violence Against Children, which will fund the implementation of the portals across the world.

The Reporting Portal will keep internet users safe online and ensure the victims of child sexual abuse do not have to suffer the torment of having images of their abuse shared again and again.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO, said: “A recent UNICEF Report named Mozambique as one of the worst countries in the world for girls and boys under 18 experiencing forced sex. The multiple stakeholders who have come together in Mozambique to launch the Portal – including the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM), Linha Fala Criança, Instituto Nacional das Comunicações de Moçambique (INCM) and Procuradoria Geral – are determined to tackle the horrific crime of child sexual abuse imagery online and to prevent images of abuse from getting onto the internet.”

If someone in Mozambique stumbles upon child sexual abuse pictures or videos, they can report it through the Mozambique Reporting Portal at https://report.iwf.org.uk/mz. The process can be completely anonymous and takes seconds. Any reports will feed back through to the IWF’s Hotline in the UK, where analysts will assess whether the content meets the threshold for child sexual abuse imagery.

They can then take action on these images and videos using a network of global partners including law enforcement agencies and internet service providers to get the content removed.

Jenny Thornton, IWF International Development Manager, said: “Mozambique is the second most populous country in Southern Africa, and over half of its population consists of children. This historic move, to install a reporting mechanism for child sexual abuse imagery online, demonstrates a clear understanding that online child sexual abuse crimes are dynamic and can easily cross national borders, thereby posing a threat to ever country in the world. Launching a Portal is a proactive move by Mozambique, which the IWF applauds”.

Prof. Americo Muchanga, Director of INCM, said: “The Portal fulfills a much-needed function in Mozambique, where child sexual abuse is a known problem and where cyber security can be vulnerable. The launch of today’s Portal sends a strong message to anyone looking to exploit both children and the web – that Mozambique is a hostile place for child sexual abuse imagery online.”

Portals have already been successfully established in 18 countries and territories across the world, including Uganda, Mauritius and Namibia. The United Republic of Tanzania became the first country to benefit from the Fund to End Violence Against Children grant when it launched its reporting portal back in October 2017, and Mozambique will become the second Portal funded under this grant.

To read more about the IWF Reporting Portals, visit www.iwf.org.uk/our-international-reporting-portal

To find out how you can join in with Safer Internet Day go to www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/2018