US News Rees-Mogg: We are taking online child abuse seriously

19:35  17 january  2020
19:35  17 january  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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Britain's Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg © Getty Britain's Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg has said the government is taking the rise of child sexual exploitation (CSE) material online seriously but refused to allow concerned MPs a debate in the House of Commons.

His statement was made after the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) warned of an "epidemic" of child abuse images on the open web, according to reports the charity received last year.

Labour's Chris Elmore MP, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on social media, said he would work with the IWF on an inquiry into the increase in CSE material online.

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The charity received more than 260,000 reports in 2019, a 14% increase on the year before. Of these reports, more than 132,000 were of images or videos of children being sexually abused.

According to the charity, the reports it received "equate to millions of images and videos" and its chief executive Susie Hargreaves OBE said it was "really shocking... that it's all available on the open internet, or 'clear web'."

Mr Elmore asked Mr Rees-Mogg as the leader of the House to bring forward either a government statement or time for a debate "to ensure that the government is working with every organisation" to protect children.

He added that he wanted to see "social media providers... tackled head on in dealing with these heinous crimes that children are facing".

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Mr Rees-Mogg thanked him for the question, and said: "The government has a very clear plan to ensure better enforcement in this area with continued rigour and is conscious of the responsibilities of media providers, be they online or offline.

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"Therefore it is something the government will seek to take seriously," Mr Rees-Mogg said, before adding: "I cannot promise an immediate debate but there were DCMS questions previously and I would encourage him to continue raising it."

Susie Hargreaves said: "We look forward to working with Chris Elmore on the inquiry, and providing our world-leading expertise on this issue.

"These truly are heinous crimes, and the victims are all real children. We all need to make sure we are doing more until all images of child sexual abuse are eradicated from the internet for good."

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