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'Falling Short': Sentences for UK sex offenders who livestream sexual abuse of Filipino children do not fit the crime

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'Falling Short': Sentences for UK sex offenders who livestream sexual abuse of Filipino children do not fit the crime

Read IJM's latest report. Help stop online sexual exploitation of children.

D

espite the UK’s robust law enforcement efforts, International Justice Mission’s new 'Falling Short' review and analysis of 15 cases reveals that sentences for UK demand-side sex offenders who pay to livestream sexual abuse of Filipino children fail to reflect the gravity of their crimes, leaving survivors empty handed in their pursuit of justice.

The review identifies a trend of lenient sentences for UK nationals who directed and paid for livestreamed sexual abuse of Filipino children. On average they served only two years, four months in prison before being released on licence in the community. Some offenders will spend less time in prison than they spent abusing their victims.

The livestreaming of child sexual abuse paid for and directed by sex offenders in the UK and around the world is devastating the lives of children. According to INTERPOL, the crime is growing globally.

Many of the children abused in this way are extremely young – the youngest children IJM has worked with Filipino law enforcement to bring to safety have been just a few months old. These children are often left with mental and physical trauma.

John Tanagho, Director of IJM’s Center to End Online Sexual Exploitation of Children, stated: “This report highlights the need to hold demand-side offenders accountable for the severe harm they cause victims—vulnerable children at home and abroad—and to provide justice to survivors of livestreamed sexual abuse."

Read the Recommendations from IJM's latest Report 'Falling Short'

According to UK National Crime Agency, the UK is the third largest global consumer of livestreamed abuse - as such, the UK must do everything in its power to ensure demand-side offenders are held accountable with sentences that fit the crime.

IJM's new review titled 'Falling Short: Demand-Side Sentencing for Online Sexual Exploitation of Children: Composite Case Review, Analysis, and Recommendations for the United Kingdom', makes nine recommendations, backed by Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Dame Sara Thornton, Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP and charities.

The review calls for sentences that fit the crime in order to:

  1. End impunity for demand-side sex offenders
  2. Provide justice for OSEC survivors
  3. Protect children globally from OSEC by disrupting and restraining offenders, and to
  4. Change societal norms by reflecting the gravity of OSEC and severe harm done to victims

The report makes a series of practical recommendations to strengthen legislation, policy and practice in order to strengthen sentences, including:

  1. Amend Sentencing Guidelines and legislation to better reflect the exploitative nature of OSEC crimes and the severe harm caused to victims.
  2. Prosecute and Convict OSEC Offenders under Child Sexual Exploitation Offences within the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
  3. Amplify the Experience of Survivors at sentencing.

For more recommendations, read the Falling Short report or the summary here.

Read the latest 'Falling Short' Report Summary

“I will not accept two years imprisonment for online sexual exploitation of children offenders because they abused us and ... destroyed our innocence.” - 12 year old survivor

Find out more about Online Sexual Exploitation of Children and how to stop it

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