Protecting Children Online

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A psychologist from ChildFund’s partner organization Childline Kenya counsels a 7-year-old survivor of online sexual abuse.


A psychologist from ChildFund’s partner organization Childline Kenya counsels a 7-year-old survivor of online sexual abuse.



“I kept asking myself, 'Why did this happen to me?'”
—Masipag*, 12-year-old victim of online exploitation, Philippines

*not her real name (and not pictured)



Together, we can shut down online sexual abuse and exploitation.

Around the globe, children are being targeted at an alarming rate by offenders seeking to exploit them online. As more and more children gain access to the internet and spend more time online, reports of online sexual abuse are skyrocketing.

Online sexual exploitation and abuse of children – or the production and online publication of visuals depicting the sexual abuse and exploitation of children – is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world. It might take the form of photographs, pre-recorded videos or livestreams. But no matter how these images and videos are produced, they have one thing in common: A child was abused in the process.

Who is at risk?

Any child, anywhere, can be targeted for online abuse and exploitation, whether they are recruited by perpetrators via the internet or within their own communities. These crimes have burgeoned since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools around the world closed, children began to spend more and more time online, often without parental supervision, increasing their risk of being targeted by offenders. In high-poverty areas, children found themselves at even greater risk of being exploited for profit by parents, caregivers, relatives and friends who are desperate for income and sometimes do not fully understand the lasting harm that this type of abuse and exploitation has on children.

ChildFund has become a global leader in the fight against online sexual abuse and exploitation. Our work began in 2019 with our #ShutdownOSEC campaign in the Philippines as we teamed up with Child Rights Network, the leading civil society network focused on children in the country, in urging the government to take action against online sexual abuse. Now, we're tackling the issue on a global level through the ChildFund Alliance's WEB Safe & Wise campaign, as well as right here in the U.S.

We can put an end to these insidious crimes against the most vulnerable. But first, we must raise awareness of their prevalence, get more and better data on the issue, and fight for stronger laws to protect children.

Infographic containing information about online sexual abuse.

How is ChildFund working to protect kids online?

We are leading the fight against online sexual abuse in several different countries:

  • In the U.S., through support from Oak Foundation, ChildFund is leading the Ending Online Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (OSEAC) Coalition, a nonprofit coalition dedicated to ending online abuse through advocacy in the U.S. and all over the world.

  • Around the world, the ChildFund Alliance's WEB Safe & Wise campaign focuses on addressing the risks emerging in the digital environment while empowering children and young people to become smart digital citizens.

  • In Kenya, ChildFund partnered with Google in 2021 to launch an online safety project with the Communications Authority of Kenya, telecom leaders, and civil society organizations to deliver the first comprehensive campaign of its kind. In 2022, our Kenya team received a $1 million grant from the End Violence Fund to lead a three-year project, Safe CLICS, to strengthen Kenyan government agencies’ capacity to prevent and respond to OSEAC, improve children’s self-protection skills with the support of caregivers and communities, strengthen public awareness and improve connections to reporting and referral services.

  • In Ecuador, we launched the #NaveguemosSeguros (Let’s Navigate Safely) campaign and website, which includes practical tools, conversation guides and games aimed at educating teachers, caregivers, children and youth about online risks.

  • In the Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, ChildFund has developed programs to address systemic issues and root causes through grassroots community awareness campaigns, at-home training activities, educational games for children and their families, and engaging the tech sector to amplify our reach to a broader audience.The Philippines team, in addition to its #ShutDownOSEC campaign that led to national policy change, has been leading a child and youth training program that supports participants in becoming “OSEAC Warriors” who educate their peers about online safety.

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Want to Learn More?

Watch as ChildFund's Erin Kennedy explains the scope of the crime and how we all have a responsibility to shut down online sexual abuse.