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Online Sexual Exploitation of Children

What is online child sexual abuse and how do we tackle it?


Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC)

What is OSEC?

It encompasses a range of crimes, including creating, possessing or distributing child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) like photos and videos.

It also includes the sexual abuse of children by traffickers who livestream the exploitation to satisfy the online demand of child sex offenders paying to direct the abuse in real time.

The crime remains largely undetected and underreported. Perpetrators are shielded by the virtual world of the internet, but there is nothing virtual about the crime.

Today, abusers located anywhere in the world can exploit children without ever leaving their homes.

The UK is the third largest global consumer of livestreamed abuse.


In 23 years of working on the frontlines, IJM has learned that replacing impunity with accountability protects people from violence.

The UK Online Safety Bill is a crucial building block in achieving the reality of a safer internet for children

'The Online Safety Bill is an opportunity to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to do just that. The Bill seeks to establish a regulatory framework to tackle harmful content and activity online. It places duties of care on regulated services with links to the UK and holds companies accountable for protecting children on their platforms from sexual exploitation and abuse.

This Bill has the potential to help achieve the reality of a safer internet for children through a strong approach to the systematic abuse of platforms for sexual exploitation. There are, however, areas in which the Bill can be strengthened'.

- John Tanagho, IJM Philippines for Thomson Reuters Foundation, May 2021


'Increased isolation and less supervision makes children more vulnerable than ever before.'

- John Tanagho who directs the IJM Centre to End the Online Sexual Exploitation of Children, explains more in this interview with BBC File on 4 here (listen from 28 minutes in).

BBC reports on shocking rise in exploitation during COVID-19 pandemic

BBC News exposes the shocking rise in online child abuse rising during lockdown, read the article on BBC here.

BBC Today Programme reports on rise in online abuse, listen here. Fast forward to 34.30 minutes to listen in.

BBC File on 4 Programme discloses how Covid-19 lockdowns increased online child sexual abuse and impacted the hidden world of crime. Listen here from 28 minutes in.


Evidence points to a rise in reports of online sexual exploitation of children

In the Philippines—the global hotspot for live-streamed online sexual exploitation of children - reports of all types of online child exploitation more than tripled from January to March this year, according to new data released by the Philippines Department of Justice Office of Cybercrime.

Read more stories of rescue and impact
Police rescue two girls from online sexual exploitation in the Philippines
Four children rescued from online sexual exploitation |
IJM's Official Statement on Apple's Child Safety Measures
Police rescue 4 minors and 1 adult, arrest 2 suspects in back-to-back operations against online sexual exploitation of children
'Falling Short': Sentences for UK sex offenders who livestream sexual abuse of Filipino children do not fit the crime
Philippines Police Rescue 6 Children from OSEC and Arrest British suspect
IJM celebrates its 100th OSEC conviction obtained in online sexual exploitation of children cases
IJM partners provide financial support for 166 OSEC Survivor Families
You Can Help Send Rescue Today.

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Your generous monthly support will help send rescue to vulnerable children and families at a moment’s notice, stand with them as they rebuild their lives in freedom and have perpetrators held accountable.


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