UK announces Commonwealth fund to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation

Accra- Ms Amber Rudd, the United Kingdom Home Secretary, has announces Pound 2.6 million of funding towards tackling child sexual exploitation in the UK and across the globe.

A statement issued by the British High Commission and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the announcement was made during a speech at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Summit, Towards a Common Future.

It noted that opening the More Secure Future event, the Home Secretary set out plans to provide funding to a number of projects aimed at preventing and supporting victims of CSE.

The statement said a number of Commonwealth countries would receive a share of Pound 2 million from the UK Commonwealth 18-20 Fund for projects to teach children and young people how to protect themselves while online and putting the infrastructure in place to prevent CSE.

Speaking ahead of the speech, the Home Secretary said: Child Sexual Exploitation is a cruel and vicious crime that no child in the world should suffer.

This Government is leading the world in tackling this horrendous crime. We have made significant investment to enable law enforcement officers to actively seek out and bring offenders to justice and develop new capabilities to find and safeguard victims as well as investing in new technology to find and remove illegal imagery of children than ever before.

But we cannot tackle this despicable crime alone. It is only through working in partnership with industry, civil society and partner countries that we can work toward eradicating child sexual exploitation. This funding announced today will play a vital role in helping children protect themselves online, while making significant improvements to these countries’ law enforcement response.

The statement said around Pound 2 million from the UK Commonwealth 2018-20 Fund would be provided via the Home Office to: The African Union would be awarded Pound 1.4 million to strengthen regional and national capacity within countries across Africa including; Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria to tackle online child exploitation.

It said they would also be instrumental in gathering evidence to build knowledge and inform effective practice for the future and PEACE Sri Lanka would benefit from nearly Pound 570,000 to work with selective partners including; the National Child Protection Authority of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Education on projects aimed at combating online child sexual exploitation.

The statement noted that one of the projects would look at empowering children to stay safe online by teaching them preventative tools against online predators and there would also be the reinforcement of links and cohesive partnerships between multiple authorities and law enforcement to collectively help young people and survivors of online Child Sexual Exploitation.

It said both projects clearly demonstrated the significant impact they would have in improving the response to CSE in their respective countries and in the UK the Government had declared child sexual exploitation a national threat and had made significant investment to bring perpetrators to protect children, support victims, and bring perpetrators to justice.

It stated that the UK would be hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Summit, Towards a Common Future and a series of events would take place across the week from 16-20 April and millions of pounds worth of funding would be announced to tackle global challenges.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Summit, Towards a Common Future was launched in September 2017 by the Prime Minister and the Commonwealth Secretary General and the 1820 Fund was simultaneously launched to deliver a portfolio of projects across the Commonwealth and its member states.

In addition to the funding announced, and the UK victim support funding, the UK committed Pound 40m in funding over 2016-2020 to support national and international capacity to respond to online CSE, via the Fund to End Violence Against Children (EVAC) � hosted by UNICEF.

The UK Government invested about Pound 600,000 into Project Arachnid, a web-crawler fed by ‘hashes’ or digital fingerprints of known indecent imagery of children, that can trawl the web to identify webpages with suspected abuse content, and pull back material to be analysed by experts in the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

It provides an API to enable companies to check that they are not hosting illegal images on their services.

Source: Ghana News Agency