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IJM Calls on Canada to Take Action to Reduce Online Sexual Exploitation of Children

OTTAWA, CANADA (April 9, 2024) – International Justice Mission Canada (IJM) is calling on the Government of Canada to spearhead new efforts to stop the online sexual exploitation of children by Canadian-based abusers. This follows the Canadian release of IJM’s 2023 Scale of Harm report, which details the growing scope of online child sexual exploitation in the Philippines by perpetrators in Western nations.

The study, prepared in partnership with the Nottingham Rights Lab and survivors of online sexual exploitation in the Philippines, estimated that in 2022 alone, nearly half a million Filipino children – or 1 in 100 – were trafficked to produce online child sexual exploitation material. Since 2015, estimates by the Philippine government show Canada has consistently ranked 4th following the U.S., U.K., and Australia, in terms of payments made to facilitate sexually exploitive acts involving children in the

IJM Canada, along with the co-chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking are calling on the Government of Canada, civil society, and non-government organizations (NGOs) to collaborate on five key recommendations:

  • Develop and pass legislation in consultation with survivors, law enforcement, and child protection organizations that focuses on preventing child sexual abuse online, including livestreaming;
  • Strengthen law enforcement's ability to access digital evidence of online sexual exploitation of children;
  • Work with law enforcement to identify gaps in existing legislation governing financial transactions related to online sexual exploitation of children;
  • Increase Canadian resourcing for the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre to identify and hold accountable Canadian and Filipino offenders; and
  • Conduct internal research to improve understanding of opportunities for strengthening legislation, including auditing the Canadian sex offender registry against border exit/entry stamps to assess the level of contact offending by registered offenders.

“It's crucial to recognize the insidious role that computer cameras play in facilitating the exploitation of vulnerable children, particularly in regions like the Philippines. These devices, once symbols of connectivity, have been weaponized by perpetrators operating both locally and globally, including within Canada. This exploitation underscores the urgent need for comprehensive strategies that address the intersection of technology and trafficking, prioritizing the protection of our children and the dismantling of these networks of abuse.” – Anu George Canjanathoppil, Chief Executive Officer, IJM Canada.

“No one should have the freedom to sexually exploit children online. Countries such as Australia and the U.K. have passed online safety bills, balancing the urgent need to protect children from sexual abuse while preserving civil liberties of their citizens. In any debate in Canada regarding the regulation and prevention of harmful content online, protecting children must be at the forefront of our concerns.” – John Tanagho, Executive Director, IJM’s Center to End Online Sexual Exploitation of Children.

"Canada ought to be leading the efforts to end online child exploitation instead of being one of the top source countries creating a demand for new child sexual exploitation material. We must do a better job protecting kids from exploitation and holding perpetrators accountable." Arnold Viersen, M.P. for Peace River-Westlock & Co-Chair of the APPG to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

“It is a national disgrace that Canadians can exploit the most vulnerable of the vulnerable with impunity and anonymity. Law enforcement should be given the tools, the mandate, and the resources to eliminate this scourge.” – John McKay, M.P. for Scarborough-Guildwood & Co-Chair of the APPG to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

“It is a shame that Canada is among the four countries sending the most money to the Philippines to profit from the online sexual exploitation of vulnerable children. Too many Canadians are complicit in these crimes that destroy the lives of children on the other side of the world. As a rich country, we have an imperative duty to do more, so that Canadians hiding behind screens can no longer participate in this repugnant voyeurism with impunity.” – Julie Miville-Dechene, independent senator from Quebec

Note to media: Both Anu Canjanathoppil and John Tanagho are available for media interviews in Ottawa on April 9-10. Please contact IJM Canada to make arrangements


For media inquiries, interview requests and further information, please contact:

Bob Neufeld,, +1 905-441-2640
Lorianne Dueck,, +1 343-262-9040

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