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call for input | Special Procedures

Call for input: Existing and Emerging Sexually Exploitative Practices against Children in the Digital Environment

Issued by

Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children

Last updated

05 June 2024


Submissions now online (See below)

Purpose: To inform the Special Rapporteur’s forthcoming report to the 79th session of the UN General Assembly in October 2024.

While existing and emerging forms of digital technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (also known as AI), can offer increasing opportunities to enhance children’s learning, development, communication and socialisation, it can also be double-edged.[1] The Special Rapporteur on the sale, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children wishes to dedicate her next thematic report to the General Assembly on the existing and emerging threats that digital technologies pose to children and the role that digital technology can play in responding to the diverse manifestations of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children online.

This further builds on the work of her predecessors, including the last thematic report on the issue of information and communication technologies and the sale and sexual exploitation of children (A/HRC/28/56), which underlined the existing criminal behaviours facilitated by new technologies as well as comprehensive strategies to combat such risks.[2] A review of numerous studies, publications and reports have however revealed a recent boom and intensification of manifestations of harm and exposure of online child sexual abuse and exploitation, both in terms of scale and method. The technological potential and current application of “generative Artificial Intelligence” to commit acts of abuse and exploitation contributes to this development.

Against this backdrop, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) recently adopted by consensus the Resolution on the Rights of the Child in the digital environment in November 2023, which in essence recognised that increased unsupervised use of digital technologies has exacerbated children’s, including adolescents’, exposure to risks, harms and all forms of violence online.

This all comes at a time when there are increasing calls for safer artificial intelligence governance and coordination.[3] Without immediate action and regulation, new and emerging digital technologies will further exacerbate pre-existing inequalities and cause additional violations of children’s rights, disproportionally impacting those who are in vulnerable and marginalised situations.

Types of input/comments sought

The Special Rapporteur invites all interested parties including States, international and regional organizations, UN agencies, national human rights institutions, law enforcement, civil society and hotline organizations, academics, lawyers, policy experts, child protection officers, educators, communities and children and other relevant stakeholders to share information, documents, statements, analysis and input for this thematic report.

For the purpose of the report, she aims to explore the existing and emerging sexually exploitative practices and abuse against children in the digital environment, as well as the role Artificial Intelligence plays in facilitating the sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children and how states and other child protection stakeholders can respond to this problem.

There is an urgent need for States and all stakeholders to scale up efforts and strengthen collaboration through a core global alliance and multilateral instrument dedicated exclusively to eradicating child sexual abuse and exploitation online, addressing the complexity of these phenomena and taking a step forward to protecting children in the digital space and in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

The Special Rapporteur also invites comments and views on how all stakeholders including the technology industry can be mobilised to factor in the best interest of the child in the design of technologies.

Early submissions are strongly encouraged. Additional supporting materials, such as reports, academic studies, and other background materials may be annexed to the submission.

While all submissions are welcome, and the questions below are by no means exhaustive, the Special Rapporteur would be grateful to receive input on the following questions:

  1. Please provide information on how technologies are used to facilitate the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.
  2. What practical recommendations would you propose for States, the technology industry and online service providers to prevent the sexual exploitation and abuse of children in the digital environment?
  3. What are the remaining gaps that limit the effective implementation and application of existing laws, policies and guidelines to prevent, detect, report and protect children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse online?
  4. What are the challenges that exist in the use of these digital technologies, products or services, that inhibit the work of law enforcement across jurisdictions in their work to investigate, detect, remove child sexual abuse materials online and prosecute these crimes?
  5. What technical and regulatory measures can be put in place by States, the technology industry and online service providers (legislative, regulatory, administrative, institutional and others) towards mitigating human rights risks associated of online child sexual exploitation and abuse, and ensuring the minimum harmonization across legal jurisdictions?
  6. Are there any other practical examples of internal monitoring, complaint and reporting processes; establishment of regulatory bodies and interventions; remedial pathways; robust safeguarding procedures; children’s rights’ due diligence and risk assessments; and technical standard-setting processes to ensure safety and inclusivity by design?
  7. In the case of generative Artificial Intelligence and end-to-end encryption, what are the challenges and recommended mitigation measures, including the application of advanced technology needed by technology companies, online service providers and law enforcement to prevent by blocking the sharing and removal of CSAM?
  8. Are there any examples of proactive measures taken to facilitate consultation and participation with a broad range of stakeholders, including children and child-rights organisations, for informing policy and legislation, setting technical standards and implementing processes to eradicate child sexual abuse and exploitation in the digital environment?
  9. What kind of mechanism could be put in place to best support and coordinate the joint public and private industry participation at the international level on existing and emerging threats that digital technologies pose to children in order to ensure harmonisation and mainstreaming across domestic and regional efforts when combatting this phenomenon?
How inputs will be used

All submissions will be posted on the mandate’s website. Should you wish to maintain confidentiality of your submission, kindly clearly indicate it at the moment of submission.

[2] See also thematic reports presented on the topic by previous predecessors in 2005 (E/CN.4/2005/78, Corr.1 and Corr.2) and 2009 (A/HRC/12/23).

[3] See A/78/L.49.

Inputs Received

Inputs Received

Albania: input | annex




El Salvador











Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Ciudad de México

The Danish Institute for Human Rights

UN entities

Office of the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict




Regional mechanism

Council of Europe


National mechanism

eSafety Commissioner

Scottish Biometrics Commissioner

Children's Commissioners

Defensor de la Niñez, Sr. Anuar Quesille Vera

Directora de la Oficina de Defensoría de los derechos de la infancia

Dutch National Rapporteur Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence against Children: input | annex | annex

Office of the Ombudsman for Children Sweden


Alana Institute

Association of Reintegration of Crimea

Child Rights International Network


ECPAT Belgium and Defence for Children International

ECPAT New Zealand

ECPAT Sweden: input | annex-1 | annex-2 | annex-3 | annex-4 | annex-5 | annex-6 | annex-7 | annex-8 | annex-9

European Centre for Law and Justice: input | annex-2 | annex-1

Global Kids Online

International Child Rights Center (InCRC)

International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC)

International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children Australia

International Justice Mission

Lucy Faithfull Foundation

Maat for Peace

Mulier: input | annex


Partners of Transparency

Plan International

Plataforma Tres Voces por la Paz

Privacy International

Safe on Social Media

Suojellaan Lapsia ry

Terre des Hommes


Anti-Slavery Australia, aculty of Law at the University of Technology Sydney.

Dayananda Sagar University - Dr. Sheikh Inam Ul Mansoor

Middlesex University and the University of East London - Dr. Elena Martellozzo, Dr. Ruby Farr, Dr. Paula Bradbury, and Dr. Boglarka Meggyesflavi

NorthWest University, South Africa - Laura Lisita Kabukabu

Ordo Iuris Institute

Professor Sebastián García Amuchástegui

Symbiosis Law School, Noida - Akshita Goyal, Kunal Gupta, Sneha Rawat, and Suhani Gupta

University of Essex - Dr Francis Rees

University of Lucerne - Dr. Peter G. Kirchschlaeger

University of Toronto - Dr. Sara Grimes, Dr Jia Xue and Dr. Rhonda McEwen

Private sector


Other stakeholders


Sovereign Order of Malta