Online Child Sexual Exploitation: A Common Understanding

ECPAT Online Child Sexual Exploitation Front Page


Date of publication:  30 May 2017 Publisher:  ECPAT Publication type:  Toolkit / Handbook / Manual

Online child sexual exploitation is an issue that is becoming more prevalent across the whole world. Therefore, a wide-ranging response is needed to address it. To facilitate this, ECPAT recognizes that an understanding of the different forms of online child sexual exploitation is required, as well as for these to be discussed through common language. Through this publication, ECPAT provides resources  for a better understanding of online child sexual exploitation.

Section 1 describes and explains five different types of online child sexual exploitation and provides brief guidance on what can be done about each of the five types. The five different types of online child sexual exploitation covered in the publication are:

  1. Child sexual abuse material, as well as digitally produced child sexual abuse material
  2. Online grooming
  3. Sexting
  4. Sexual extortion
  5. Live online child sexual abuse

Section 2 discusses “five relevant regional and/or international legal instruments containing provisions regarding one or more of the manifestations of online child sexual exploitation”. It outlines relevant articles, provides weaknesses and strengths of each of the five different legal instruments and also gives information about how many states have ratified and/or signed the frameworks. The five legal frameworks covered by this publication are:

  1. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography
  2. Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse
  3. Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime
  4. International Labour Organisation Convention 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour
  5. African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection

Section 3 outlines terms and tools that are pertinent to online child sexual exploitation. It describes both how they are utilized by child sex offenders to facilitate online child sexual exploitation as well as how authorities and service provides can utilize these same tools to detect and capture the offenders. The seven different terms and tools covered by this publication are:

  1. IP-addresses
  2. Filtering and blocking
  3. Encryption
  4. TOR
  5. PhotoDNA
  6. Cloud computing
  7. Splash pages
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