40 Countries Sign Statement of Action against Online Child Sexual Exploitation
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Tuesday, November 17th 2015 [ME NewsWire]
The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Interior was awarded a permanent seat on the #WePROTECT International Advisory Board (IAB), in recognition of its security and police work in the field of child protection. With this accolade, the UAE, represented by the Ministry of Interior, will have two seats on the Board; as chair of the Virtual Global taskforce (VGT) for the next three years and a permanent member of the #WePROTECT International Advisory Board (IAB), similar to the UK Home office. The announcement was made today, Tuesday, by Ernie Allen, chair of the #WePROTECT International Advisory Board (IAB) at the closing ceremony of the second Global Summit on Ending Online Child Sexual Exploitation, which was organized by the Ministry of Interior in the capital, Abu Dhabi.
The summit was highly acclaimed by participating countries and prestigious international institutions, such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook, who praised the success of the UAE in hosting this valuable international gathering, which came up with important and purposeful recommendations to enhance protection of children, the most precious segment of society.
Ernie Allen, chair of the #WePROTECT International Advisory Board (IAB), praised the excellent organization of the summit by the United Arab Emirates. He expressed his admiration for the opening speech delivered yesterday by Lt. General His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, by which he said that the summit convened in order to protect the most treasured possession, an unparalleled fortune; and to build a bulwark that protects children from falling prey to immoral predators. His Highness continued by saying that success depends on joint efforts and collectively working together to create a safe and stable international environment– it cannot be done alone. HH said that this joint cooperation will make use of all available resources towards further development and prosperity, and will work hand-in-hand with others around the world in order to achieve these goals.
Adding further, Allen said: “We will endeavor to use the Abu Dhabi summit as a starting point for work projects to be tackled in upcoming summits, and to further expand the representation of the Advisory Board internationally, to acquaint world countries with the true meaning of commitment and to make the #WePROTECT summit the appropriate action plan as we move forward into the future.”
In his speech, on the closing day of the Abu Dhabi summit, Ernie Allen noted that eight thousand cases of child victims were saved from the risk of online exploitation on a global level, pledging additional efforts to save more children and identify as many offenders as possible. Allen also praised the efforts exerted by the United Arab Emirates in support of international work in the fight to end online child sexual exploitation.
Ernie Allen stressed the importance of adopting an international response model by all states in order to enhance and increase the chances of protecting children. He noted that the Advisory Board’s objective is to support governments and civil society institutions in their efforts to identify and arrest perpetrators of this horrendous crime against children internationally. He also highlighted the full coordination and support with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the commitment to international partnerships in the field of child protection.
Allen also noted the Board aspires to expand and to include bigger councils to join international efforts under the theme ‘WePROTECT’, and to disseminate the model of the historical summit held in Abu Dhabi. The Board also seeks to send a message to the world that work is on track to further develop and follow-up on the procedures related to child protection against online exploitation and abuse.
Major Dana Humaid Al Marzouqi, Manager of the Executive Office of the VGT Chair delivered the summit’s final statement, affirming the summit’s success in countering online child exploitation.
She added: “We consider it a great success that we have had agreement on how we will deliver on the actions we have discussed and agreed at this summit. We are convinced that The Statements of Action for Governments, Industry, and capacity building are real turning points in how we tackle online child sexual exploitation, nationally and internationally.”
She noted that the Abu Dhabi Summit succeeded in having 40 countries sign up to the Statement of Action, 17 commitments from industry, along with 16 organizations having agreed to work on capacity building. We hope that more can join us in the future.
She said that the Statement of Action for Governments, included agreement to the National Response Model, to online child sexual exploitation, through providing guidance and support to countries on the capabilities, that a country needs to have in place, to combat this crime, in partnership with law enforcement, NGOs and technology companies.
She noted that the Statement of Action for Industry commits companies to increase the volume of hashes used to protect and remove images of child sexual abuse, develop new tools and techniques and share their expertise.
Major Dana Humaid Al Marzouqi mentioned that amongst the signatories this year was the Chinese internet giant Tencent, whose involvement in our initiative is a major development in the fight against child sexual exploitation online, wherever it may occur. She continued that the Statement of Action for those involved in Capacity Building brings together the civil society and international organizations, and by committing to undertake coordinated action, organizations have promised to amplify their existing skills, expertise and influence to ensure that our collective resources are used to the best possible effect.
She asserted that the Statements of Action, made in London and here in Abu Dhabi, are fully in support of the establishment of the WePROTECT Advisory Board, by March 2016, noting that the UAE will remain committed to be an active member of the Board.
She said that this Advisory Board will help the UAE to follow up on its commitments, deliver results nationally and internationally, maintain this momentum and drive forward the WePROTECT initiative between each of its future summits.
She concluded that it has been a great honor for her Government and for the Ministry of Interior to host this Summit and to witness the commitment to the protection of children.
An initiative and tribute from Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation, the leading global software publisher, presented its vision on how the private sector can support the #WePROTECT initiative to protect children against online sexual exploitation. Jacqueline Beauchere - Chief Online Safety Officer, Microsoft, announced the launch of guide, as a part of the international initiative of online child protection, to promote international response and reinforce efforts to prevent online child abuse.
She added that the initiative focuses on raising public awareness and spreading education and awareness across schools, as well as participating in law enforcement procedures. She pointed that External Affairs Department at Microsoft welcomes communication to contribute to the success of the national initiative on a global level.
She also stated that Microsoft stands ready to cooperate with institutions, to remove illegal images and videos of child abuse, while continuously adding educational material to help families deal safely with the internet.
Governments pledge to protect children against online exploitation
During the evening session that was held yesterday at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, countries participating in the second Global Summit on Ending Online Child Sexual Exploitation, as well as the private and public welfare organizations pledged to support world governments to eradicate this horrendous and vile crime.
Cosimo Ferri, the Italian Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, said that Italy believes in the child protection summit and the mutual efforts to eradicate child abuse material from the internet, via international cooperation with societies to apprehend offenders. He stressed the importance of leveraging the summit as an international platform to provide national and global response, and to commit to the efficiency of procedures against child abuse material.
Ferri also called for establishing a unified center to standardize response efforts, which includes a database that would promote cooperation between countries and provide the necessary support through modern technology, as well as coordinate governmental investigations, and support the private sector institutions in the fight against child offenders.
For his part, Dr. Steven P. Kagoda, Undersecretary of Ministry of Interior in Uganda, and coordinator of the MS Uganda Hotline, presented an overview of the efforts exerted by Uganda, in cooperation with the UNICEF, in implementing a program to protect children against online exploitation. He also highlighted the awareness and victim support campaigns that are being implemented, in addition to the internet monitoring procedures, to remove child abuse material from online platforms and services all over the world.. He also praised the international support to protect the children of Uganda against online exploitation.
Susie Hargreaves, Chief Executive - Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), spoke about the efforts exerted by 120 members and tech companies to protect children against online exploitation. She pointed to the inauguration of a wide scale European hotline to prevent any harm against children, as well as the establishment of partnerships with law enforcement entities in this regard. In conclusion, she stressed the importance of putting an end to online child abuse cases.
India also gave an overview of its experience in the fight against online child abuse cases, by organizing specialized workshops to build the capabilities and resources, implementing initiatives across schools, and acquainting the youth with the appropriate communication channels to report cases of abuse to the concerned authorities.
International Tributes for the “WePROTECT” Success
Participants at the Second Global Summit on Ending Online Child Sexual Exploitation praised the efforts of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its keenness take part in the international efforts to enhance child protection against dangers. They also praised the contribution and efforts of the Ministry of Interior in this field via its membership in the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT).
Ana Helena Chacón Echeverría, 2nd Vice President of Costa Rica, praised the efforts of the UAE in organizing the Second Global Summit on Ending Online Child Sexual Exploitation. She noted that child exploitation is no longer a secret, but a painful tangible reality that requires providing all forms of support and care to children and teenagers.
HE the Baroness Shields, UK Minister for Internet Safety and Security explained that the Summit has succeeded in fostering the exchange of ideas and suggestions by child protection experts, law enforcement agencies, volunteer organizations, governments, and technology partners, who brainstormed the best solutions that contribute to ensuring child safety online.
Fatoumata Ndiaye, Deputy Executive Director at UNICEF, expressed her pleasure to participate in the “WePROTECT” summit. She also valued the UAE support and attention to provide protection and care for children, especially in humanitarian and developmental fields, by supporting the UNICEF’s efforts worldwide.
Diahann Gordon Harrison, Children’s Advocate at the Attorney General Office of Jamaica, described the Second Global Summit on Ending Online Child Sexual Exploitation as a successful. She expressed her appreciation for the UAE for hosting this grand event, and praised the hospitality of the Emirati people.
Ramzi Jabbour, Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, said that the “WePROTECT” Summit has played a key role in attracting law enforcement agencies and private sector companies, to support efforts to eradicate all forms of crimes against children worldwide.
Michael Moran, INTERPOL Assistant Director, Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Unit, praised the achievements made, the objectives and aspirations the Second Global Summit on Ending Online Child Sexual Exploitation, which contributed to elaborating ideas and suggestions that would help reinforce the efforts to protect children against dangers. He also noted that by joining the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), the UAE was able to develop the ideas that enhance international child protection.
Google: Abu Dhabi Hosts Historic Summit
Susan Molinari, Google's Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations called the Global Summit on Ending Online Child Sexual Exploitation as historic. The summit, which was hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), kicked off on Monday at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. Molinari added that the Summit provided the opportunity for participants from various countries to pledge further commitment to the vital and important issue of protecting children around the world against online sexual abuse and exploitation.
She also praised the commitment of the UAE, represented by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) to protect children against potential risks and to combat international online child abuse and exploitation. She said: “The Abu Dhabi Summit has instilled hope in our hearts and motivated us to overcome these challenges.”
Furthermore, she noted that the Summit, which brought together a large number of experts and professionals in the field of online child protection, was the perfect opportunity to brainstorm innovative ideas and to send a message from Abu Dhabi to the world that saving children requires collective and concerted efforts for children’s good.
Molinari announced that by establishing the Online Safety Center, Google cooperates with the tech industry partners worldwide, to empower technology companies and local organizations to avail of innovative technologies, including digital trail video and secure search.
In conclusion, she explained that the latest upgrades recently implemented by Google have prevented users from accessing or searching for web links of sexual child abuse and exploitation material through its search engine. As a result of these changes, Google has seen an eight-fold reduction in people searching for this material on the web.
Facebook Praises Abu Dhabi Summit on Ending Online Child Sexual Exploitation
Antigone Davis, Facebook's Head of Global Safety praised the excellent organization of the Second Global Summit on Ending Online Child Sexual Exploitation, which concluded today in Abu Dhabi, under the theme “WeProtect”. Davis emphasized that the Summit has achieved its objectives in discussing an important societal issue.
Davis also noted that the Summit was a good opportunity to bring together a large number of international organizations, governmental institutions and technology firms to discuss the appropriate methods to enhance child protection against the dangers they may face online. The Summit is also testament of the high levels of commitment of the United Arab Emirates to protect children against all risks.
Moreover, Ms. Davis commended the good and distinguished relations with the UAE Ministry of Interior. She said that she is looking forward to further enhance this cooperation in the fight against online child sexual abuse and exploitation. “The valuable cooperation with the UAE MoI is a leading model for international best practices in this field,” she noted.
In conclusion, Davis stressed that Facebook is committed to cooperating with the competent authorities involved in child protection. “Facebook is committed to attracting the best experiences and practices in the field of technology, as well as transferring knowledge to civil society organizations by implementing the ‘Open Source Safety’ initiative,” she said.
UNICEF: all children have the right to be protected
Speaking at the Summit, the UNICEF representative emphasized that all children have the right to be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse. “Yet, millions of children worldwide from all socio-economic backgrounds, across all ages, religions and cultures suffer violence, exploitation and abuse every day. Millions more are at risk,” said Fatoumata Ndiaye on behalf of UNICEF.
Additionally, Fatoumata Ndiaye indicated that UNICEF is working with partners to achieve the goal of sustainable development, which calls for the Member States to eliminate violence against children. She added: “Violence, exploitation and abuse are often practiced by someone known to the child, including parents, other family members, caretakers, teachers, employers, law enforcement authorities, state and non-state actors and other children. Such violence, exploitation and abuse can affect the child’s physical and mental health in the short and longer term, impairing their ability to learn and socialize, and impacting their transition to adulthood with adverse consequences later in life.”
UNICEF representative also mentioned that several initiatives were implemented across 17 countries. Governments were urged to commit to the protection of children from online sexual exploitation; within a broader child protection agenda. “There have been encouraging results in some participating countries that have managed to shed light on the dark corners of the worldwide Web, and to make the internet a safe place for education and exploration,” she concluded.
Showcasing the Latest Policing Technologies and Equipment during the Exhibition accompanying the WePROTECT Summit
The exhibition that was held on the sidelines of the Global Summit on Ending Online Child Sexual Exploitation included the latest smart technologies used by the UAE police authorities in the country while protecting the various segments of the society.
The Directorate General of Security Support at the General Secretariat of the Office of H.H Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, showcased the new SUV vehicle that is equipped with special bumpers for Security Support unit pursuits. The rear of the vehicle is equipped with logistic support that is needed for police patrols and members in countering crimes. Visitors to the Exhibition also reviewed the MDT device that is designated for processing mobile data, and effective and direct communication with patrols via smart and accurate tools.
The Air Support Department showcased two drones used in aerial surveys, security detection, and monitoring traffic and places of congestion. These drones provide support and back-up to decision-makers, especially during fires and major accidents, using the latest wireless technologies to help the field teams.
The Modern Technology Affairs Section at the Department briefed visitors on the face recognition system, which includes cutting-edge technologies to identify and track down suspects when they attempt to commit their crimes, or when they try to escape from the police. The system includes a database containing more than 56 million pictures, with search results displayed in a matter of seconds. The Face Recognition technology has had a great success in resolving cases such as fraud, identity theft, as well as electronic crimes, shop thefts, ATM thefts and others. The Face Recognition Technology used across the country’s airports provides immediate results to ensure that the holder of the passport is not wanted by the authorities.
ADP Provides Kid Patrol
The Traffic and Patrols Directorate at Abu Dhabi Police showcased its kid patrol designed for children, which is a small vehicle equipped with a screen, camera, an iPad, and a "Walkie-Talkie", with posters and slogans aimed at educating children on traffic safety in a simple and easy way.
Brigadier Khalifa Mohamed Al Khaili, Deputy Director of the Traffic and Patrols Directorate at Abu Dhabi Police, said: “The kid patrol aims to bring down the fear barrier between children and the Traffic police, to enhance their traffic awareness, and encourage them to cooperate with traffic personnel by observing traffic rules and regulations. He pointed out that the new patrol will be used in traffic awareness campaigns- as well as in organizing programs and awareness-raising competitions for children in various awareness events and exhibitions, which provide interactive education for the benefit of children.
He also added that the kid patrol will join the fleet of the Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrols vehicles, including the Chevrolet Camaro high-performance sports vehicles, and the GTC-R vehicle designed to communicate with young people, which are designed to encourage young people to abide by traffic safety procedures, through the Abu Dhabi Police’s slogan “The Road has its Ethics and Speed has its Track”.
Moreover, the Abu Dhabi Traffic and Patrols Directorate introduced the visitors to the education patrol and showcased in its pavilion at the exhibition the traffic awareness booklets. It also acquainted visitors with the smart traffic systems’ center and raised awareness of the dangers of the self-balancing two-wheel electric scooters on children, by educating community members about the importance of choosing the right places to ride the device, the need to wear protective helmets, and the dangers of riding these scooters on main or secondary roads.
The visitors were acquainted with the flash-less cameras used to detect red light violations, which aim to reduce pedestrian accidents and the risks of jumping the red light through its technique that records and captures violations.
ADP Licensing Department showcases the second generation of the advanced Sahel device
At its pavilion at the exhibition, the Vehicles and Drivers Licensing Department at the Abu Dhabi Police highlighted the second generation of the advanced Sahel device, which is scheduled to be installed across various shopping centers in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and the Western Region by the beginning of next year.
The device uses an advanced technology to issue driving licenses and vehicle registrations, receive paper money and coins with and includes an ID reader and a smart phones NFC barcode reader. The newly released device will also include a scanning feature or electronic passport reader.
The Sahel device provides services in three languages: Arabic, English and Urdu, and includes three newly introduced applications: the Ministry of Interior’s smart phone application UAE-MoI; the Markabati application; and an e-services application for government service departments and institutions.
Protecting children from risks
The Community Police Department at Abu Dhabi Police took part in the exhibition with a documentary film showcasing the department’s activities and its wide array of educational leaflets and publications related to its services to the community and to protection of children from the dangers of fireworks.
The Social Support Centers Department at Abu Dhabi Police acquainted visitors with its efforts in investigating children cases in accordance with scientifically efficient mechanisms that focus on providing social workers and psychologists who deal with children with high transparency in specialized rooms, taking into account the conditions of children, the family’s case, and rehabilitating parents to take care of the child according to the scientific methods.
The Weapons and Explosives Department also presented a documentary film that acquainted visitors with the department’s areas of specialization, in addition to the proper measures to secure events. The visitors also reviewed the explosives detection device, which provides accurate detection of suspicious objects.
The Forensic Evidence Department at Abu Dhabi Police also presented a documentary film showcasing the modern systems and advanced technologies used by the Forensic Evidence Department’s experts, which significantly contribute to solving criminal cases.
The Abu Dhabi Civil Defense General Directorate presented a number of awareness brochures, with an innovative child-friendly design; which contain advice and guidance on the most important requirements to promote prevention and safety in homes and to raise awareness about the risks of electricity and drowning.
The Emergency and Public Safety Department at Abu Dhabi Police acquainted visitors with the defibrillator device, which is used when there are symptoms of circulatory failure (ischemia) in a person with suspected heart failure. The device has been installed in various public places and commercial centers at the countrywide level, in line with the police leadership’s directives.
The Iris Recognition Technology
The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Department of Abu Dhabi Police took part in the exhibition and displayed its cutting-edge iris recognition technology, which is used at the different air, sea and land points of entry across the UAE and at punitive and correctional establishments. The iris recognition technology has achieved dazzling results and proved very effective in foiling the deportees’ attempts to enter the UAE after changing their names in their passports and obtaining employment or visit entry permits.
Sea-based Emergency Missions, and Maternity and Childhood ambulance
Captain Mohammed Hassan Al Hosani, Head of the Sea-based Emergency team at the Emergency and Public Safety Department, briefed visitors on the team that was recently formed to deal with any potential emergency that may arise and has been provided with modern safety and rescue equipment and specialized inflatable boats, as well as advanced wireless communication devices, among others. “The team consists of 31 highly-skilled Emirati officers who have undergone extensive specialized courses and have acquired international accreditations in this field,” he added. He also noted that the team has participated in a number of local and international assignments, such as the 2012 Egypt mission, the 2012 port assignment, the 2015 BaniYas assignment and other missions, where it demonstrated high efficiency and abilities in the performance and execution of tasks and duties.
Visitors were acquainted with the Maternity and Childhood ambulance that was equipped with the modern equipment and a transport infant incubator, designed to cater to pregnant women, premature infants and newborns until they reach the nearest hospital. The ambulance provides a sterile environment for newborns under the supervision of a highly trained medical staff; and can be requested during emergencies by contacting the Police Operations Room on 999.
MoI: Leading efforts in Child Protection
Brigadier Hamad Ajlan Al Amimi, Director General of the Federal Criminal Police at the Ministry of Interior and head of the Atlas team in charge of the UAE field operations to combat online child exploitation, explained that the latest international cooperation that was achieved via the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) proved the success of the mutual operations and the exchange of data across borders, which led to acquiring precise information about online child abuse networks and to arrest child offenders all over the world.
Brigadier Al Amimi expressed his hope to see countries implement the summit’s recommendations, which provide a framework for cooperation and coordination in such operations, to combat criminals. He also highlighted the leading efforts of the UAE Ministry of Interior in promulgating laws to ensure online safety and protection for all segments of society, especially children.
Exploitation and Abuse of Children: a horrendous crime
Major Dana Hamid Al Marzouqi, Major Dana Humaid Al Marzouqi, Manager of the Executive Office of the VGT Chair, assured that child exploitation and abuse are horrendous crime and a major international issue that recognizes no borders or sovereignty; stressing that handling this problem requires coordinated and concerted international cooperation and procedures.
Major Al Marzouqi highlighted the support of Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and his keenness for the Ministry of Interior to host this important summit, which provided the opportunity for governments, law enforcement authorities, and civil society institutions, to agree on concrete procedures, build strong relations, and establish international cross-border cooperation networks that constitute a bulwark against offenders.
In conclusion, she revealed that Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan has inaugurated on Monday the emergency hotline, which is an integrated notification system designed to facilitate reports for child abuse cases through the Child Protection Center’s website. She added that this hotline is a leading initiative designed to enhance and increase child protection and to provide a safe environment for them.
For more information about:
The Ministry of Interior, please click HERE
Abu Dhabi Police, please click HERE
Follow us and check our Social Media feeds on: YouTube, Facebook, Google +, Instagram and Twitter
The Arabic-language text of this announcement is the official, authoritative version. Translations are provided as an accommodation only, and should be cross-referenced with the Arabic-language text, which is the only version of the text intended to have legal effect.
The UAE Minister of Interior's General Secretariat, Tactical Affairs and Security Media Department
Abu Dhabi Police GHQ - Security Media
Chris Cron +971-(0)-50-666-4891