Uganda helps the IWF mark 20 years of fighting online child sexual abuse imagery

Friday, October 21, 2016


More than a quarter of a million webpages showing children being sexually abused are identified and removed in 20-year history.


Uganda Reporting Portal was established in September, 2015 to provide a quick and easy way for citizens to report online images and videos of child sexual abuse, to a safe and anonymous hotline.  Uganda's Reporting Page  


The National Information Technology Authority - Uganda ( NITA-U)  and Uganda's National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT.UG) joined forces with the IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) in the global battle to remove online of child sexual abuse imagery – and in doing so became part of a proud history. The IWF’s has done an incredible job in identifying and removing a huge number of images and videos of online child sexual abuse over their 20-year life. 


Uganda is now part of that history, and a joint mission help protect victims of this abuse and make the internet a safer place.


''The Online Child Sexual Abuse Reporting Portal enables us as a country contribute to making the internet a safer place'' – James Saaka/ED-NITA-U


At 11.21am on 21 October, 1996 the very first report was made to the newly-formed IWF

20 years later:

699,403 reports have been assessed by the IWF’s analysts, with,

281,781* of those showing the sexual abuse of children. One report might show one, or thousands of images or videos of sexual abuse (October 1996 to September 30, 2016)


Only 0.2% of the world’s known child sexual abuse imagery is hosted in the UK today. That figure was 18% back in 1996 when the IWF was founded.

An infographic has been created charting the history of the charity, along with a film featuring leaders from top internet giants, and IWF Members: BT, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, and the parents of April Jones. April was a five-year-old British girl who was murdered by a man, within three hours of him looking at child sexual abuse imagery online.  


A selection of milestones: 


11.21am on 21 October, 1996: The very first report was made to the newly formed IWF

1996: 18% of the world’s known child sexual abuse imagery was hosted in the UK

1996: 0.08 billion web users globally

1998: Google was founded

2004: Facebook was launched. IWF launched the URL list; a URL can contain one or 1000 images or videos

2005: One billion web users globally

2006: The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, a specialist police body, was founded

2007: Apple launch the iPhone

2010: WhatsApp and Instagram were launched

2012: April Jones, five, and Tia Sharp, 12, were murdered. It emerged that their murderers had been viewing images and videos of child sexual abuse. There was a public outcry

2013: Google pledged £1 million to the work of IWF to recruit five new analysts

2014: The first global WeProtect summit was held in the UK. The Prime Minister David Cameron gave the IWF the right to actively search for images of child sexual abuse

2014: IWF launched its first overseas reporting portal in Mauritius

2015: One billion people used Facebook in a single day

2015: National Information Technology Authority – Uganda launches the Uganda Reporting Portal

2016: 3.4 billion web users

2016: IWF revealed it identified in one year 68,092 webpages of child sexual abuse imagery. That’s an increase of 417% over two years

2016: 0.2% of the world’s known child sexual abuse imagery is hosted in the UK.


IWF CEO Susie Hargreaves OBE says: “What’s truly shocking is not always the numbers of reports to our hotline, but what is shown in those images and videos. Each and every one of those quarter of a million reports is the record of the sexual abuse of a child. These are real children. The majority are under 10-years-old. Some are younger than two.


It’s great that Uganda has become part of our ground-breaking initiative, to share our work and provide a first class Reporting Portal to protect citizens. Child sexual abuse imagery is a global problem and we can only fight it with a truly global solution. Uganda is now part of our history and our solution.” 


IWF Reporting Portals have already been successfully established in Mauritius, Uganda, Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Anguilla, Ascension Islands, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat ,Pitcairn Islands, Tristan Da Cunha, Turks and Caicos, St Helena and most recently, India. 


What is the IWF Reporting Portal?


By working closely with internet companies, the IWF (a non-for-profit organisation) helps people who stumble across online child sexual abuse images and videos (sometimes known as child pornography) to report it anonymously, via a web-based reporting hotline.

A team of experienced IWF analysts then work directly with the internet industry and law enforcement, to have any abusive imagery removed quickly.


The advantage of establishing an IWF Reporting Portal is that any reports of suspected online child sexual abuse imagery generated in Uganda are assessed directly by one of IWF’s analysts. These analysts are respected globally for their experience. 


Today, the IWF Hotline provides one of the most successful reporting mechanisms in the world. Their analysts are considered world-leaders for their expertise.


What IWF do:


IWF make the internet a safer place. They help victims of child sexual abuse worldwide by identifying and removing online images and videos of their abuse. They search for child sexual abuse images and videos and offer a place for the public to report them anonymously. Then then have them removed. They’re a not for profit organisation and are supported by the global internet industry and the European Commission. 


The IWF is part of the UK Safer Internet Centre, working with Childnet International and the South West Grid for Learning to promote the safe and responsible use of technology.