Mr. Chairperson and distinguished members of the committee, I thank you for this opportunity to provide a presentation on Bill C-22, and the larger issue of child sexual abuse on the Internet. I have had the occasion to review some of the transcripts from the previous meetings, so my goal today is to provide insight and information that has not yet been presented, as well as to make a few clarifications and arguments in support of this new legislation.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection will offer testimony today based on its role in operating Cybertip.ca, Canada's tip line to report online sexual exploitation of children, and based on its coordinating role with law enforcement and the public and private sectors in combatting online child victimization.
Cybertip.ca was established in 2002 in partnership with the Government of Canada, various provincial governments, a national law enforcement advisory committee, and a federal task force and steering committee.
Like other international hotlines, Cybertip.ca has analysts who are special constables who review, confirm, and triage reports to the appropriate law enforcement jurisdiction. This function permits the verification of the material as potentially illegal and identifies the appropriate jurisdiction, thereby saving very important time for Canadian law enforcement. In particular, the tip line accepts reports relating to child pornography, luring, child sex tourism, and children exploited through prostitution and child trafficking. The tip line is owned and operated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
Since launching nationally, the tip line has received nearly 48,000 reports from the public regarding the online sexual exploitation of children, resulting in over 70 arrests by law enforcement and approximately 25 children being removed from abusive environments.
In 2009 our organization released a research report that provided an in-depth analysis of reports to Cybertip.ca. We have made the summary of that report available to you all this afternoon. It examined almost 16,000 child abuse websites, as well as over 4,100 unique images of child abuse, with the goal of providing an overview of the scope of the problem from the tip line's perspective.
As noted in previous presentations, the data from the report paint a sobering picture of the severity of this global problem. The reality is that 82% of the images analyzed depicted very young pre-pubescent children under the age of 12. Most concerning is the severity of the abuse depicted, with over 35% of all images showing serious sexual assaults. The report addressed the misconception that child pornography is really about young teens in provocative poses; rather, these images depict very young children, toddlers, and infants who are often being abused through vaginal, anal, and oral penetration, and in some instances including bondage and sadistic activities.
It is also important to note that these victims often are silenced because they are being abused by a person in a position of trust. Some of our youngest victims are pre-verbal and therefore unable to tell anyone. While information such as this is difficult to hear, it is more difficult to see, and worse to endure.
Some of the challenges in managing the proliferation of child abuse images on the Internet involve the transient nature of the material, and the challenge of identifying the victims and traders and collectors of the content.
Strategies to address this complex problem involve public education and disruption and enforcement tactics. In Canada, stakeholders in the area of child abuse images and material have made some significant inroads. Beyond our strong legislation, Canada's national strategy to protect children from exploitation on the Internet has provided a deliberate action plan to increase awareness, facilitate reporting, and support law enforcement efforts.
Additionally, it's very important to know that there has been longstanding collaboration from the private sector, most notably Canada's major Internet service providers. The Canadian Coalition Against Internet Child Exploitation, otherwise known as CCAICE, is a voluntary partnership between Cybertip.ca, law enforcement, and the private sector to address this problem. Through CCAICE, a number of important successes have been realized.
One example includes Cleanfeed Canada, which our organization operates. It's a solution to block access to foreign-based websites hosting child pornography. All of the major IPs participate in this program, and to date, over 11,357 unique URLs have been put on this list, blocking these sites from the view of the majority of Canadian citizens.
Similar to countries like Sweden, Denmark, and the United Kingdom, blocking initiatives are one part of the remedy.
After eight years of being directly engaged in the fight to eradicate the proliferation of online child pornography—