Child Dignity launches world-first initiative to champion tech tools to combat child sexual exploitation

London, UK - 2PM BST, Wednesday 26 June, 2019: As part of the Child Dignity Alliance (CDA) one year anniversary, it has today launched a world-first inventory of the technological solutions currently available to detect, categorise and remove child sexual abuse imagery from the internet.

Available only to select organisations, the inventory is designed to increase awareness of the existing tools and resources available to tackle online child sexual exploitation, providing direct benefit to law enforcement agencies, regulatory bodies, trusted NGOs and committed industry players.

By cataloguing the available tools in one central place, further innovation and collaboration will be encouraged and facilitated, resulting in improved efforts to protect children and young people from sexual abuse.

The inventory was developed by the CDA Technical Working Group*, chaired by Australian eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant, in response to the report published in November 2018 that examined the role of technology in combating the proliferation of online child sexual exploitation and abuse imagery.

“Technological innovation is hugely significant in protecting children and young people from online sexual exploitation, particularly in detecting child sexual abuse material and identifying the victims, which can help affect their rescue,” says Ms Inman Grant.

The tools in the inventory can perform a range of functions, such as classifying images significantly faster than human analysts, streamlining investigatory processes, and ensuring that images are removed from circulation.

“Technology can radically transform how we fight child sexual abuse online. As a global community we need to encourage the use of existing tools, as well as stimulate further innovation,” says Ms Inman Grant.

Working Group members also include Baroness Joanna Shields, OBE - Founder of WeProtect, and Christian Berg - CEO of the Safer Society Group and founder of ground-breaking technology ventures including Net Clean, Griffeye and Paliscope.

“Behind each and every one of these images is a child who has been, or is being, harmed and abused. This inventory champions the tools that can make a real difference in combatting this crime—we must ensure that they are used and deployed,” says Baroness Shields.

Mr. Berg asserted, ”To effectively solve these types of online crimes, we are dependent upon innovation and technology. It is important that responsible crime fighters and related organisations use the right tools for the right tasks because volumes are just too high to be able to handle efficiently through manual processes.

This is precisely why this inventory is such a useful tool for law enforcement. An inventory that details what is out there so that the precise software and services for the right tasks can be chosen will be an invaluable asset.”

About Child Dignity Alliance

Child Dignity Alliance is an organisation dedicated to eradicating the online sexual exploitation and abuse of children globally. The Alliance believes that each child is precious and deserves the right to safety, dignity and protection online; and that achieving this relies on a cooperative global effort between government, law enforcement, technology companies and religious organisations.

Child Dignity Alliance was formed to educate political, religious and business leaders about the severity and extent of the abuse and exploitation of the world’s children and young people; and to demand action from those who can instigate change. The Alliance is made up of six working groups, each of which is focused on a specific area of the issue including: Prevention Research; Global Foundational Research on Harms to Children in the Digital World; Building a Multi-Faith Coalition; Protecting Children from Online Porn; Technology & Its Impact - Technical Working Group; and Building Global Awareness.

Key Alliance members include its Chairman, Dr Ernie Allen, Baroness Joanna Shields, Professor Ernesto Caffo, Father Hans Zollner, SJ, Julie Inman Grant, Baroness Beeban Kidron, and Jacqueline Beauchere.

For more information, visit:

*About Child Dignity Alliance Technical Working Group: In November 2018, the Child Dignity Alliance Technical Working Group (CDA-TWG) published a report that examined the role of technology in combating the proliferation of online child sexual exploitation and abuse imagery.

A focus of the CDA-TWG is to harness and promote innovation, investment and commitment among the global digital community to address and combat the proliferation of online child sexual exploitation and abuse imagery online.

Milestones from the last 12 months:

1. Building Global Awareness - Online child sexual abuse and exploitation is an exploding problem worldwide.  Yet, it is under-reported, under-appreciated, under- recognized.  Child Dignity is wanting to change that and is awakening the world to the true nature and extent of this horrendous problem.  The goal is to place this issue on the agenda of leaders worldwide and stimulate real action.

2. Engaging Technology Leaders - This is a technology-driven problem, one born of the misuse of advanced technologies.  Child Dignity believes that many of the solutions reside within technology as well.  Thus, it has created a technology inventory, cataloguing new technologies being used to counter this problem.  It has also launched an investor-focused effort to engage major companies and challenge them to become a part of the solution.

3. Research/Science - In the initial World Congress in Rome in 2017, a primary focus was bringing together the world's leading scholars, researchers and scientists doing work in this field.  There is far too level empirical research in this field and such research has not been a priority in the scientific community.  Child Dignity is seeking to become a living laboratory to promote and facilitate such research and scientific inquiry.  A particular priority for new research is prevention and beginning to address this problem not just as a legal problem but as a public health crisis.

4. Engaging Youth - As it confronts this complex, difficult problem, Child Dignity is committed to engaging and involving the voices of youth.  Working with the WePROTECT Global Alliance, Child Dignity will organize and convene a virtual international youth summit, in which youth from around the world can participate, offer their ideas, and share their experiences.

5. Identifying and Charting the Eco-System for Addressing Online Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation - Because this is a problem that the world has not yet fully discovered, it is not on the priority agendas of most world leaders. In support of the WePROTECT Global Alliance, Child Dignity is developing a global inventory of programs, resources and initiatives in this area, thus increasing cooperation and collaboration worldwide.  Another goal is to increase resources available to programs and services confronting this problem worldwide.

6. Changing Laws - Child Dignity is advocating fundamental changes in laws to better protect children in many countries.  For example, it has been heavily involved in efforts to modify the EU's ePrivacy Regulation which would have prohibited the use of pro-active tools like PhotoDNA to identify and remove child sexual abuse material from servers.  Child Dignity is also working with members of parliaments worldwide regarding potential replication of the UK's pioneering age verification law which bars children from having access to online pornography sites.


7. Interfaith Collaboration - In the speech of Pope Francis at the 2017 World Congress:  Child Dignity in the Digital World, he called for interfaith awareness building and collaboration.  At that Congress the UAE committed to convene an Interfaith Forum, which occurred in November 2018 in Abu Dhabi, bringing together leaders from virtually all of the world & major religions. Child Dignity is building on that and seeking to inform and involve the 85% of the world's population who are members of a religious faith.  The goal is an unprecedented, worldwide, grassroots campaign.

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues, so they can also hear about the work being done across the CDA. We are in the process of revitalising our website, but for more information about our genesis and working groups please visit our website. We tweet daily @ChildDignity and would greatly welcome your connection and dialogue.
If you have any questions about our work please do not hesitate to get in touch. Otherwise, we look forward to connecting with you via our next annual newsletter.