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Survivors Call for Action - Online Safety Bill


Survivors Call for Action - Online Safety Bill

As Parliament is set to debate the Online Safety Bill, survivors of online sexual exploitation are calling for the UK Government to strengthen the Bill.

IJM has helped bring together survivors who are advocating for action. The letter and its content are written entirely by survivors themselves.

IJM was pleased to see this survivor letter featured in the BBC.

April, 2022

To: Members of Parliament and Government leaders, and the Public in the United Kingdom

We are survivors of online sexual exploitation. We have come together so that through our example and collective voice, this painful and harmful abuse does not happen to more children. We ask you to listen to our stories and our suggestions as you work to finalize and implement the Online Safety Bill.

As survivors, we are grateful that the UK have taken the initiative to propose such laws. Together, we are asking you to take this seriously. We have experienced the abuse and have been seeking justice for it. We want you to know how such acts affect us, not just physically but mentally and socially. It hurts our families and our communities. We thank you for listening to our voices and we hope you hear our suggestions.

We believe that it is very important to place the responsibility and hold accountable the online platforms like Facebook, Skype, and others, who profit from their users. They need to provide accurate systems that detect when child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) content is shared using their platforms – especially because children, and not just adults, use their services.

We know that they created these platforms for good, so they should find ways to prevent abuse from occurring on their platforms. We grieve for the children and women who are abused unashamedly.

We have experienced different forms of online sexual exploitation such as livestreamed sexual abuse and production of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) in exchange for money received by facilitators from online paying customers. We hope that the Bill will be passed, enforced, and have global impact. We want all children to be protected; and not only children, but everyone.

We want this bill to be approved so that there are fewer people doing this crime and there will be fewer victims of it.

If this will be implemented in the UK, it will serve as an inspiration for other countries to follow and implement a similar law that will protect children and others in the fight against online sexual exploitation.

“I am one of the survivors who is ready to talk about our experiences, I want to legislate the cessation of online sexual exploitation such as livestreams on Facebook or any app. I do not want women to experience more and even men get that kind of abuse because it’s not a joke. I am asking for help so that I can process how to stop this abuse. Everyone needs protection. Every person performing this abuse must be stopped or monitored.” – Diana*, 20-year-old survivor (13 years old at the time of abuse)

We ask that the accountability for livestreaming of child sexual abuse be included, specified, and prioritized in this bill. Livestreaming child sexual abuse should be detected from the very beginning of their criminal activity. If possible, applications that do not detect the abuse should be shut down from public access.

Our generation is a livestreaming generation. It is very popular today and those who use it are often unaware that some of their actions are wrong or harmful.

We want the world to know that such acts are not only harmful to children, but it hurts married men and women, and families, too.

We want app and website developers to stop the livestreaming of child sexual abuse on their platforms today, and for future developments. Including this in the bills will guide developers on what to do next.

“I am a survivor of online sexual exploitation. I have experienced extreme pain, hurt, and trauma. I am a victim of human trafficking. It was not easy for me to sell my body in exchange for money. So I want to share this with those who are leading the creation of this online safety bill so that you can bring justice to what I've experienced as darkness – to the point of wanting to kill myself. I hope this bill is passed so that this does not happen to more children. I first and foremost want to have closed or deleted the website” – Alice*, 23 years old; 19 at the time of rescue, abused at age 17

We want you to require that tech companies proactively prevent and detect online sexual exploitation of children.

Tech companies should be able to detect and take action immediately and block accounts that use the platforms to abuse children. We suggest to focus on the users before they enter the online platforms.

These platforms have the tools to detect copyrighted music and users’ posts on personal opinions, which are taken down or muted quickly upon detection. But we do not see the same tools available to detect livestreamed child sexual exploitation and abuse so that they are immediately removed. We observe that platforms wait until the CSEA becomes viral before they take action and this is not right and unfair.

Early detection by platforms help rescue the victims immediately. If they don’t take action immediately, more young people will be abused; and the effects on the victims will be worse. Some have actually committed suicide because of the abuse done to them.

UK Government, please act to stop CSEA so that no one young person will be abused.

A lot of young people have been abused and many of them commit suicide because of what happened to them. It’s not just mental health, it affects the child’s background. It also affected their family life. We don’t want children to experience this – especially our future children. Its effects are grave and our recovery was not easy.

We are so glad that the UK Government has taken action to prevent this kind of abuse. It is important to prioritize the protection of children. We want the UK government to ask the platforms to detect that abuse. There should be screening what should be placed on the platforms. If they cannot detect it, they should pay the penalty / suffer the consequence.

As the old saying goes, "the youth are the hope of our future." Please protect us! Please prioritize child protection.

We are glad that this bill is being implemented. We hope this will be passed.


We, survivors of online sexual exploitation from the Philippines

  1. Alice*
  2. Azalea*
  3. Cadenza*
  4. Carlyn*
  5. Diana*
  6. Jaika*
  7. Kane*
  8. Malone*
  9. Nicole*
  10. Solenn*

*Pseudonyms. Names are concealed to protect the survivors.

Stock images have been used to protect survivors.

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