Earlier this year, Thorn was asked to join the Advisory Board of INHOPE – The International Association of Internet Hotlines, which works with industry and law enforcement partners to ensure that child abuse imagery on the Internet is taken down as quickly and effectively as possible. This week, we were excited to attend the Prevention and Awareness Joint Law Enforcement / INHOPE Conference in The Hague, bringing together a diverse group of individuals from around the world who are committed to combating child exploitation and removing child sexual abuse material from the Internet. We were able to connect with hotlines from across the globe, NGOs, technology industries, and law enforcement.
There were many opportunities to share best practices and learn from others deploying new strategies to combat child sexual exploitation around the world. We were particularly interested to hear from Dr. Beier, who has run the Dunkelfeld project in Germany for the past ten years. His work is some of the most progressive in reaching potential offenders early and aiming to intervene and prevent abuse before it happens. We learned several new things from his work that can improve the work we do in online deterrence.
We also had the opportunity to catch a first glance at research the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has done on reports they’ve received about sextortion – an emerging trend where people, often children, are extorted for sexual images and favors online. We are excited to launch our own research on sextortion later this summer which will aim to complement this report and get real-time input from people online about possible sextortion experiences. The goal with this research is to create new interventions that can prevent and detect this type of behavior and reduce the victim impact.
Collaboration is Key
With an emphasis on collaboration, the INHOPE network effectively keeps the lines of communication open and allows those working to combat this issue with a focus on zero tolerance. In 2014 alone, global hotlines were able to achieve removal of 91% of reported illegal content within less than three days.
As the INHOPE community continues to grow and collaborate with new forms of technology, reports from digital citizens will continue to speed up removal times of illegal content.
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