Procedure : 2015/2564(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0219/2015

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 11/03/2015 - 9.18
CRE 11/03/2015 - 9.18

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0217/2015

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the fight against child sexual abuse on the internet (2015/2564(RSP))

Timothy Kirkhope, Julie Girling, Jørn Dohrmann, Helga Stevens, Beatrix von Storch, Emma McClarkin, Jussi Halla-aho, Ruža Tomašić, Daniel Dalton, Vicky Ford, Evžen Tošenovský, Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski, Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Janusz Wojciechowski, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Branislav Škripek, Beata Gosiewska on behalf of the ECR Group

B8‑0219/2015 European Parliament resolution on the fight against child sexual abuse on the internet (2015/2564(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, of 20 November 1989, and the protocols thereto,

–       having regard to Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union,

–       having regard to Article 24 of the Charter on Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–       having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, of 23 November 2001,

–       having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, of 25 October 2007,

–       having regard to Directive 2011/92/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,

–       having regard to General Comment No 14 (2013) of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the right of the child to have his or her best interests taken as a primary consideration,

–       having regard to the EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child, adopted in February 2011,

–       having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘A special place for children in EU external action’ (COM(2008)0055),

–       having regard to the EU Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child,

–       having regard to the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016, in particular the provisions on financing the development of guidelines on child protection systems and on the exchange of best practices,

–       having regard to its plenary debate of 12 February 2015 on the fight against child sexual abuse on the internet,

–       having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children, including child abuse images, constitute serious violations of fundamental rights, in particular of the rights of children to the protection and care necessary for their well-being, as provided for by the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;

B.     whereas serious criminal offences such as the sexual exploitation of children and child abuse images require a comprehensive approach covering the prosecution of offenders, the protection of child victims and prevention of the phenomenon;

C.     whereas the child’s best interests must be a primary consideration when carrying out any measures to combat these offences, in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child;

D.     whereas the internet can expose children to specific risks, through such phenomena as child abuse images, the exchange of material on violence, cybercrime, intimidation, bullying, grooming, children being able to access or acquire legally restricted or age-inappropriate goods and services; whereas this exposure of children to such risks is exacerbated by the widespread use of and access to mobile technology and the internet;

E.     whereas the protection of minors in the digital world must be addressed at a regulatory and grassroots level by deploying more effective measures, including through self-regulation by engaging the industry to assume its shared responsibility, and at educational and training level by training children, parents and teachers in order to prevent minors from accessing illegal content;

F.     whereas due to its international nature – with child exploitation and child sexual exploitation online spanning hundreds of countries and involving hundreds of legal jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies – this problem requires an international solution;

G.     whereas, to a greater extent than other forms of crime, most areas of child sexual exploitation and abuse suffer from chronic underreporting to law enforcement authorities; whereas, therefore, data available on the number of crimes committed does not accurately reflect the extent of the problem;

H.     whereas a large number of offenders are using the Darknet, where they have established anonymous communities using hidden forums, websites services, social networking platforms and storage providers dedicated to child abuse material, thereby enabling and facilitating practically untraceable sexual exploitation of children;

I.      whereas many criminals use encryption, virtual currencies and other defensive measures to secure their activities, posing a serious challenge to law enforcement investigations;

J.      whereas Directive 2011/92/EC on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography was due to be transposed by Member States by 18 December 2013, and whereas to date less than half of the Member States have fully implemented it;

K.     whereas Europol’s latest report on cybercrime shows that the bulk of child abuse material (CAM) is still distributed non-commercially on the open net, using peer-to-peer (P2P) technology; whereas the live streaming of abuse for payment is an emerging trend of particular concern, calling for greater attention from law enforcement bodies, systematic intelligence gathering and effective collaboration on prevention measures;

L.     Where Europol have observed that there is a disturbing trend in the age-groups concerned, with victims being younger than in previous years, and whereas the volume of images being reported to the agency and the sophisticated level of their encryption means that Europol have insufficient technical expertise or resources to address the breadth of the problem; whereas in this regard law enforcement authorities are being outpaced by criminals;

M.    whereas, analysis by the Internet Watch Foundation reveals that just eight top-level distributors were responsible for 513 commercial CAM distribution brands in 2012, and that the 10 most prolific brands recorded in 2012 were all associated with a single top-level distributor;

1.      Strongly emphasises that protecting and ensuring a safe environment for children and their development is one of the primary roles of the European Union and its Member States;

2.      Considers that children's personal data online must be duly protected and that children need to be informed in an easy and child-friendly way of the risks and consequences of using their personal data online;

3.      Stresses in the strongest terms that the rights and the protection of children online must be safeguarded, and that steps must be taken to ensure that any illicit content is promptly removed and reported to law enforcement authorities, and that there are sufficient legal instruments to investigate and prosecute offenders;

4.      Stresses the need for a comprehensive EU-wide coordinated approach in order to ensure consistency in policy making and action, which encompasses the fight against crime, cybersecurity, consumer protection, fundamental rights and data protection, and e-commerce;

5.      Considers that further steps must be taken to combat cyber grooming, and that the Commission, together with the national governments, civil society, social media companies, parents, teachers, social workers, child protection officers, paediatricians, and youth and children’s organisations must play an active role in raising awareness on this issue through defined guidelines, including through the exchange of best practices and setting-up of social platforms for cooperation and exchange of information on this matter in order to identify potential risks and threats to children;

6.      Highlights the need for international cooperation with the EU’s strategic partners and law enforcement authorities worldwide to fight against child abuse images; stresses the need to improve international cooperation and transnational investigations in this area through cooperation agreements, and by facilitating international data exchange on these crimes and offenders, including through Europol;

7.      Welcomes, in this connection, the joint initiative by the EU and 55 countries from around the world gathered in the Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online aimed at rescuing more victims, ensuring more effective prosecution and achieving an overall reduction in the number of child sexual abuse images available online; invites the Commission to report more regularly on the progress made through this Alliance;

8.      Believes it essential to use the correct terminology for crimes against children, including the description of images of sexual abuse of children, and to use the appropriate term, ‘child sexual abuse material’, rather than 'child pornography';

9.      Calls on the Commission and the Member States to foster and strengthen the resources dedicated to victim identification and victims-centred services, and calls for related platforms to be set up as a matter of urgency and for those existing within Europol to be strengthened;

10.    Considers that law enforcement authorities, including Europol, must gain the technical expertise and the investigatory prowess to develop new high-tech capabilities in order to address the challenges of analysing vast volumes of child abuse imagery or material encrypted or hidden on the ‘dark web’ and to trace and prosecute the offenders in order to protect the safety and rights of children;

11.    Strongly urges those Member States that have not yet done so to transpose Directive 2011/92/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography; calls on the Commission, therefore, to strictly monitor the full and effective implementation thereof, and to report back in a timely manner to Parliament and its committee responsible on its findings;

12.    Calls on the Member States to provide their law enforcement authorities with the necessary funds, human resources, investigative powers and technical capabilities to seriously tackle and prosecute offenders, including appropriate training to build capacity among the judiciary and police units;

13.    Notes with concern the development and expanding trends of commercial sexual exploitation of children online, including new means of distribution and transaction for child abuse materials, notably through the Deep Web and Darknet, and in particular the phenomenon of live streaming of abuse for payment; calls on the Commission and Member States, therefore, to further engage with representatives of alternative payment systems in order to identify opportunities for better cooperation with law enforcement authorities, including common training for the better identification of payment processes linked to commercial distribution of child abuse material;

14.    Call on the EU, the Member States and the Global Alliance to work more closely with the internet industry and social media companies such as Google and Yahoo and social networking sites such as Facebook to aid in this work;

15.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the parliaments of the Member States.

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