6 December 2018

Liberia: Child NGO, Internet Watchers to Launch Online Portal System for Tracking Child Sexual Abuse

Monrovia — In an effort to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse via the internet in the country, the Defense for Children International (DCI) Liberia, in partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), is expected to launch an online platform to tract child sexual abuse images and videos via the internet.

The group made the disclosure Tuesday, November 4, 2018 at a one-day round table symposium at the Corina Hotel in Monrovia under the theme: "Making the internet safer for children."

The project which is excepted to be launched in 2019, will be the first of its kind in the country to tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation via the internet.

In a remark, the Head of DCI, Foday M. Kawah, said the intent of the one-day dialogue is to establish a quarter in the country in partnership with the Government of Liberia and GSM services providers to curtail children sexual abuse and exploitation via the internet.

"People use internet for a good purposes and people also use it for bad purposes. We have to promote the good purposes and discourage the bad purposes because children are the most victims of internet abuses," he said.

Kawah added that internet has been used around the world to sexually abuse and exploit children through bad images and nude videos which Liberia is of no exception.

"In more instances, children are the victims of internet abuse. Child offenders take advantage of the internet to exploit children around the world which Liberia is no exception," Kawah noted.

He added that due to the increase in the number of young internet users, children are often deceived and trafficked to unknown destinations for dubious purposes.

"Most of the private sectors that are highlighted, and eye marked have internet providers and their services are sometimes been misused by people and to track them is a challenge. So IWF will partner with them for these images to be taken off the internet when reported. So that children cannot be exploited as a means by the internet," Kawah asserted.

Also speaking, the Development Manager of IWF, Will Few, said the objective of the project is to eradicate child sexual exploitation and abuse via the internet.

"We are proposing an international reporting portal for Liberia so that any person in Liberia, any citizen, if they are worried about any content they find on the internet, any child sexual abuse, any child pornographic they can report it through this reporting portal to be hosted by DCI-Liberia and will come to analysts in the UK for us to access and remove the content from the internet if isn't good," Few said.

Few added that child sexual exploitation and abuse is one of the major factors confronting the Liberian society.

He added that if the project is launched, it will help sensitized and educate young internet users in the country to protect themselves from sexual exploitation and abuse.

For his part, the Speaker of the Liberian Children's Parliament, Jutomue Doetein, welcome the initiative and described it as 'relieve' for children using online platform in the country.

"I think it is a good thing for the children of Liberia, owning to the fact that 95 percent of children in Liberia are online users, their protection matters, and we are glad that this is coming to Liberia. At the level of the children's parliament, we have come across several cases of online abuse," Doetein noted.

IWF is a non-governmental organization working in over 20 countries in and out of Africa. IWF helps nations with web-based reporting system to track child sexual exploitation and abuse.

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