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Parliamentary questions
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29 November 2019
Answer given by Ms Gabriel
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-003118/2019

The Commission shares the concerns of the Honourable Member. Under the Child Sexual Exploitation Directive(1), Member States must prosecute persons sexually exploiting children through prostitution, including when such crimes occur online. The Commission monitors compliance(2) and has opened infringement procedures against 23 Member States in 2019. In addition, under the European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children, the Commission co-funds the INSAFE network of Safer Internet Centres. The national centres run awareness campaigns, trainings and helplines for children, parents, and teachers. The Centres are monitoring trends and emerging risks for children and young people and are working together with industry on awareness raising activities.

Through a co-funded network of hotlines — INHOPE, the Commission is tackling the spread of child sexual abuse images (CSAM), allowing Internet users to report such content. They support the investigations and operations of law enforcement and cooperate with industry for the swift removal of CSAM. Extensive work(3) is also carried out to address the exploitation of children in the sex and entertainment industry via social networks(4). This is done through the EU legal and policy anti-trafficking framework(5), including with relevant EU Agencies(6). Prevention is a priority, by countering the demonstrated impunity that fosters the crime, stepping up investigations and prosecutions of all perpetrators and exploiters involved.

The Commission has also taken other measures to tackle child safety issues adjacent to those pointed by the Honourable Member — e.g. in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive(7), and, more broadly, the recommendation on Tackling Illegal Content Online(8).

(1)Directive 2011/93/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA.
(2)Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council assessing the extent to which the Member States have taken the necessary measures in order to comply with Directive 2011/93/EU of 13 December 2011 on combatting the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, COM(2016) 871 final.
(3)For more information on the work carried out under the EU legal and policy framework, see EU anti-trafficking action 2017-2019: at a glance .
(4)Second European Commission Progress report, COM(2018) 777 final , and its accompanying Staff Working document, SWD(2018) 473 final
(5)The EU legal and policy framework on trafficking in human beings is based on the EU Directive 2011/36 and the 2017 Communication ‘Reporting on the follow-up to the EU Strategy towards eradication of trafficking in human beings and identifying further concrete actions’, under the horizontal mandate of the EU Anti-trafficking Coordinator.
(6)Joint statement of commitment to working together against trafficking in human beings (2018) . Child trafficking remains one of the priorities of the EU policy cycle for organised and serious international crime 2018-2021.
(7)Directive (EU) 2018/1808 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 amending Directive 2010/13/EU on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive) in view of changing market realities, OJ L 303, 28.11.2018, p. 69‐92.
(8)COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS, Tackling Illegal Content Online, Towards an enhanced responsibility of online platforms, 28.9.2017, COM(2017) 555 final.
Last updated: 4 December 2019Legal notice