The Internet has transformed the threat of child sexual abuse into a global issue. Despite the improved cooperation amongst countries, there are still many barriers to providing a streamlined global response.
The Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) has released its 2019 Environmental Scan, which examines the current global landscape of online child sexual exploitation threats, trends and challenges and will inform the strategic direction of the VGT. The Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) is an international alliance comprised of law enforcement, industry and non-government partners dedicated to the protection of children from online sexual exploitation and abuse.
The Environmental Scan reinforces the global and continuous increase in reports of child sexual exploitation, as well as the complexity of investigations in this field. The Scan found that the largest international threats in the areas of online child sexual exploitation include the increased support for personal privacy, increased production and consumption of child sexual exploitation material, and identifying the location of victims and offenders (i.e. determining where the crime is taking place and who is involved). Despite the concurrent social benefits, increased accessibility to the Internet has also further enabled these threats. The most significant emerging trends observed globally over the last three years included increases in self-generated sexually explicit material, anonymization technologies, the use of social media applications, and the live-streaming of child sexual abuse.
As the Chair of the VGT, RCMP Chief Superintendent Arsenault noted, “the need for collaborative efforts in developing innovative technological strategies is reinforced through the Environmental Scan. Our partnership with Industry is critical. Together, we have the opportunity to act upon these identified threats and make a positive difference in child protection.”
Download a copy of the 2019 VGT Environmental Scan.