Technology is central in identifying victimized children – #Skillnadpåriktigt 2018
Our fourth annual #skillnadpåriktigt conference was recently held in Stockholm. Like last year, we arranged it together with , and like last year, we’re proud to say that it was a really successful event with renowned speakers and fruitful discussions.
#skillnadpåriktigt is unique in that it brings together policy makers, businesses, NGOs, the police and other invested parties that work to stop child sexual abuse. The conference is important because it provides a forum for networking and sharing ideas for organisations that would normally not engage in this debate together. It also highlights different solutions available to tackle online child sexual abuse, and this year the main focus was on how technology is a central part of identifying victimized children.
The #skillnadpåriktigt 2018 speakers
European Parliament: A Europe that protects children
A couple of months ago, we published a celebrating that the European Commission had put out a statement highlighting concrete actions for how to tackle online child sexual abuse material. At #Skillnadpåriktigt, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Swedish member of the European Parliament, spoke about how the directive introduced by the European Parliament, can with political means and legislation help support the work against child sexual abuse.
Lucy Faithful Foundation: What mechanisms drive people to consume child sexual abuse material?
Michael Sheath from Lucy Faithful Foundation UK spoke about the importance of prevention. In his presentation he talked about the mechanisms that drive some people to consume child sexual abuse material, and how consumption of child sexual abuse material can escalate from consumption of pornography. Further, Michael talked about how we need to learn from offenders’ thinking and methods, especially about online grooming, to help potential victims. One of his final conclusions was that we, as a society, have a moral duty to focus resources on victim identification.
The Swedish Prosecution Authority & Swedish Police National Operations Department: Online rape – the first ever conviction handed down
Many of our speakers shared the success that they have had in the work of identifying victimized children. Prosecutor Annika Wennerström and investigator Jörgen Lindeberg from the Swedish Police shared the success of an investigation called ”Operation Relapse,” which they had both worked on. The investigation in Sweden led to the first rape conviction handed down to an offender, who after contacting children over the internet forced them to commit sexual actions against themselves. The case has gained considerable international attention as the offender was Swedish, but his victims were from the US, Canada and the UK.
Göteborgs Stad (the City of Gothenburg): The power of business engagement
Bringing further insight to the importance of collaboration across sectors, Malin Lundqvist, CIO at the City of Gothenburg, was invited to talk about why it is important for businesses and organisations to act on this issue. The City of Gothenburg has taken action to detect when child sexual abuse material is handled with the work computers in the organisation. Malin was talking about how their decision to take stand in the fight against online child sexual abuse, also have created business opportunities in protecting their brand, their computers and to meet both internal policies and sustainable development goals.
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: The image as a clue in identifying victims
To get to the very core of how technology is used to identify and rescue children, John Shehan, vice president at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) was invited to speak on the subject. He spoke about how the material can be used to identify child victims, and why cooperation and the development of technology is crucial to their work of identifying victims. Through different technology solutions and strong collaboration with industry leaders, law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organizations worldwide , over 15,000 children have been identified in their system.
INTERPOL: International cooperation is essential to fight online child sexual abuse
To really shed light on the importance of international collaboration, the last speaker of the day, Björn Sellström from INTERPOL, spoke about why INTERPOL encourages member countries to use a global perspective when working on local investigations, and how the number of identified victims has almost doubled from 2016. Today, INTERPOL together with member countries have identified over 15,500 victims and arrested over 6,200 offenders. In his presentation, Björnhighlighted that international collaboration is key to this work, and that apart from partnerships between Law enforcement, NGO’s and policy makers, business engagementis essential to fight online child sexual abuse.
#skillnadpåriktigt 2018 was a big success, and we are grateful to our co-organisers ECPAT Sweden, to Radisson Waterfront Stockholm who hosted the event, and to all the speakers and attendancies who shared the successes and progress that we are making.