Business engagement is key to meeting UN’s goal to end exploitation of children

Business engagement is key to meeting UN’s goal to end exploitation of children
11 September, 2018 Anna Borgström

Business engagement is key to meeting UN’s goal to end exploitation of children

In 2015, world leaders signed up to the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs), which outline how sustainable development can be developed by 2030. The 17 overarching goals, underpinned by 169 targets, include eliminating extreme poverty and hunger, tackling climate change, reducing inequality, and putting sustainable water supplies, energy sources and industry in place. The targets also specifically look at the welfare of children: End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children (16.2).

Business opportunities

None of the goals mentioned above can be met without increased efforts, and this is where businesses must make a vital difference by ensuring they contribute to sustainable development in three crucial ways: as catalysts for employment; through technological innovation; and as sources of finance.

From a strategic and marketing point of view, engaging with the SDGs is likely to produce opportunities like license to operate in new markets, enhanced reputation and a chance to stay ahead of the curve. Risks of not acting on the SDGs include operational risk, regulatory risk, reputational risk and risk of market disruption.

At NetClean we work to persuade organisations and businesses to have a business model and ethos that takes action against the risk of illegal material being handled within the organisation, and that helps protect children from the lasting damage of dissemination of online child sexual abuse material. By installing our software, businesses can detect this illegal content and report it to the police. Ultimately this helps save children from sexual abuse. It also helps stop the spread of child sexual abuse images, which, every time they are shared, lead to re-victimisation.

A model blue print to lead the way

There is no ONE solution to finding and removing online child sexual abuse material. We recently highlighted this in our new initiative Technical Model National Response.

Although the model looks at a robust response at a national level, the model can also be used by businesses as a blue print for how to protect their brand, their computers and as a way to engage with the SDGs and the safeguarding of children.

The model focuses solely on the different technologies and methodologies that need to be in place to effectively fight the spread of child sexual abuse material.

On a country level this means in practice that all countries must ensure that:

  • There is ISP blocking in place;
  • national police forces must have technical solutions and workflows that enable cross-border collaborations and data-sharing;
  • governments and businesses must have tools in place to detect online child sexual abuse material. The tools must be used with the understanding that each image is vital to saving and protecting children, therefore policies must be put in place to report the material to Law Enforcement;
  • national hotlines need to be established in all countries so that abuse can be reported;
  • and finally, governments and police must work together with social media companies to stop platforms from becoming hotbeds for the spread of child sexual abuse material.

Businesses are key to sustainable development

Around the world businesses can, as employers, take a huge responsibility for tomorrow’s workforce. Partly by ensuring that they engage in the fight against online child sexual abuse, but also by safe-guarding and educating the societies in which they operate. Businesses can help educate their employees about the internet. They can share information about how to keep children safe, and in general ensure the welfare of their current and future workforce.

By asking businesses to step up and do their part, by working collaboratively and ensuring that we have multifaceted approach in place, there will be a framework for progress, and we will be one step further along the way to fulfilling our promise to children and the development goals.