Brighthood conference 2020:
A decade of action
At the Brighthood conferences we gather speakers from all sectors to talk about innovative and concrete solutions to fight online child sexual abuse. With one eye on the current trends and one eye on the future, we shaped this year’s conference around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and what we need to do to achieve these goals by 2030.
In 2020, focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030 is extra poignant, as it is the year that ushers in ‘a decade of action’; ten years where we have to push extra hard to meet the biggest challenges that the world is facing today. Environmental challenges, closing the finance gap, the gap between genders and the rights of children.
It’s a tall order. We, NetClean, are keen to be part of the conversation and the solution. We believe our software is key to securing the future of children and making the internet a safer space for everyone. Our focus is on businesses and enabling them to take action, but we are keen to facilitate a wider conversation, as all must play a part in this important work.
At Brighthood we gather speakers that represent different sectors: law enforcement; civil society; and private industry to talk about how we can meet the online challenges presented by an ever growing demand for online child sexual abuse material, and how to put together concrete action stop it.
We believe that we must find ways to talk about this problem, share the knowledge that we have gathered through decades of working on this issue, and most importantly invest in business models and collaborations that support the fight against the abuse and exploitation of children.
A decade of action
The conference was introduced by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, who founded the World Childhood Foundation in 1999 to help fight child sexual abuse. She said in her speech that already back then, the internet was being used as a tool to sexually exploit children.
Twenty-one years later the problem has escalated enormously, and it is our collective responsibility to address this problem. H.M. Queen Silvia noted that it is especially important in this COVID era when many children and adults are spending more time online.
It is gratifying, she said, that we now have forums to talk about online child sexual abuse, and what we must do to safeguard children. This conversation is difficult to have, but thanks to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals we now have a framework to talk about the big problems that threatens our world.
Our focus is on goal 16.2 and the fact that children have a right to a childhood that is free from abuse and exploitation. And, H.M. Queen Silvia pointed out that it is our collective responsibility to make sure that this right is fulfilled at home, in our communities, in our schools and in our corporate world.
“With the right laws, systems and investments, as well as adequate monitoring and evaluation, and robust education and campaigning, significant and sustained reductions in violence can be achieved.“
The second keynote speaker was Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN who said that it is now essential to galvanise the international community and drive national responses to save children from sexual abuse.
The UN works to build a world of dignity, opportunity and equality for every child. With SDG 16.2 the international world has committed to end all forms of violence against children, including sexual abuse and exploitation by 2030. Now is the time to intensify this work, to ensure that fewer not more children face the horror of having their abuse preserved in perpetuity online.
Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed said that Governments must lead through working with communities and civil society. With the right laws, systems and investments, as well as adequate monitoring and evaluation, and robust education and campaigning, significant and sustained reductions in violence can be achieved.
Partnerships between governments and technology companies are crucial to address the digital dimensions, as well as strong cooperation between technology companies and law enforcement and civil society organisations.
There are tools that we must use, she continued. The Economists benchmarking index – Out of the Shadows, examines the progress of how sixty countries across the world are responding to the threat of sexual violence against children, and highlights areas of advancement against the SDGs and our commitment to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking, violence and torture against children.
Another tool that the Deputy Secretary-General mentioned is the UN’s roadmap for digital cooperation, which provides a vision and a set of actions for the global community to connect, respect and protect people in the digital word.
Brighthood will continue to serve as a platform where we share and discuss these valuable tools and actions. Many are targeted towards the business sector specifically, a sector that now must show leadership and incentive in working towards meeting the SDGs over the next decade.