Sept. 20, 2023, EDMONTON, CANADA – From Sept. 18-20, The Edmonton Police Service and Edmonton Police Foundation hosted its inaugural The Safety of Our Cities Conference at the Edmonton Convention Centre. On Sept. 20, before an audience of law enforcement, public health, social agency, corporate and government officials, IJM Canada CEO Anu George Canjanathoppil delivered the conference’s final keynote speech. Her speech on modern slavery focused on the international prevalence of Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC) and its correlation to Canadian communities at home and abroad.
In 2022 alone, nearly half a million Filipino children, or roughly 1 in 100 children, were trafficked to produce child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) for profit according to estimates from the pioneering Scale of Harm prevalence study by International Justice Mission (IJM) and the University of Nottingham Rights Lab that was co-designed with survivors of this crime.
According to the Scale of Harm study, Canadian sexual predators are the fourth largest consumers of Filipino CSEM in the world. A demand-side offender (DSO) trafficker is a person who sexually abuses or exploits a child through the means of the internet to produce and offer for sale new CSEM, including via livestreaming, in exchange for compensation.
To combat this despicable crime, IJM Canada urges government and law enforcement stakeholders to:
- Cultivate community-based reporting of CSEM.
- Enhance criminal Justice response. Holding offenders accountable is crucial for establishing a stronger deterrent and reducing prevalence.
- Ensure tech companies use technology designed to prevent or disrupt livestreamed child sexual abuse, including manufacturers of camera-enabled devices.
- Expedite detection, reporting and blocking of suspicious financial transactions. Private sector efforts are pivotal to gaining timely intelligence on suspected traffickers, supporting law enforcement intervention and preventing abuse.
- Demand-side governments need to urgently pass online safety legislation with survivor consultation. Legislators should champion survivor experiences.
Other portions of the keynote speech highlighted Canada’s recently passed Modern Slavery Act and steps government and corporations need to take going forward to combat forced labour in Canada’s supply chains.
“We cannot tackle this crime in just one city, this is a borderless crime of international scope,” said Anu George Canjanathoppil. “We have an opportunity to actively fight modern day slavery and I, IJM and all the victims of exploitation and servitude, who’s faces you cannot see today, thank you for hearing our stories and taking action.”
About International Justice Mission:
International Justice Mission partners with local authorities in 31 program offices in 16 countries to combat slavery, violence against women and children and police abuse of power. IJM’s mission is to protect people in poverty from violence by rescuing victims, bringing criminals to justice, restoring survivors to safety and strength, and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts. Learn more at: IJM.ca.