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UKSIC partner IWF launches new portal in Zambia

Zambia and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) are launching a public reporting system to remove child sexual abuse imagery online.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), will process the country’s reports of child sexual abuse images and videos. Read their full press release

Zambia’s government has taken this important step to ensure the removal of child sexual abuse images from the country’s internet, by launching this new system for the public to report illegal online images and videos of child sexual abuse anonymously with the IWF, and Zambia's Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA).

The IWF Reporting Portal is a web-based mechanism that allows citizens to report child sexual abuse imagery they may stumble across online anonymously. The system will help protect Zambia’s online community and prevent child victims of this disturbing crime from the mental torture of knowing images of their abuse could be shared online. Patrick M. Mutimushi, ZICTA Director General, said:

“This launch is an achievement of both the Authority and all stakeholders in the country that have joined the global fight against child online sexual abuse. This symbolises our commitment to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 which aims to end all forms of violence by 2030.”​

Top internet providers from Zambia have backed the move, following a meeting in November, where the biggest players in the industry – MTN, AirTel, and ZAMTEL - committed their full support to cracking down on illegal images of children.

The IWF, a world leader in identifying and removing online child sexual abuse imagery from the internet, runs the network of reporting mechanisms, known as IWF Reporting Portals, from its headquarters in Cambridge, UK. Portals offer nations around the world a place to safely report this disturbing material to IWF’s expert Analysts, who then assess each report individually and have any illegal imagery removed from the internet. Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO, said:

“Child sexual abuse is a global problem. It does not respect countries borders or laws. The only effective way to fight this horrific abuse is through strong, committed partnerships and a truly global approach. So, I’m thrilled to see Zambia joining us on our mission to end online child sexual abuse."

Zambia becomes the 24th IWF international Portal and the sixth country to benefit from a prestigious international grant awarded by the Global Fund to End Violence Against Children, which is dedicated to funding the implementation of Portals in 30 countries across the world. By the end of 2020, there will be nearly 50 IWF Reporting Portals around the world. Because of this programme of activity, the IWF’s work in sub-Sahara Africa has been stepped up, with more countries adopting IWF Reporting Portals than ever before. Nations in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have taken the lead, with Malawi, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Namibia all having launched their own IWF Portals since 2017.

From today, if a Zambian internet user stumbles across child sexual abuse images or videos, they can report them through the Zambian IWF Reporting Portal at https://report.iwf.org.uk/zm The process can be completely anonymous, is safe and takes just seconds. Any reports made will feed back through to the IWF’s Hotline operation in the UK, where Analysts will assess whether the content meets the legal threshold for child sexual abuse imagery.