What is Child Exploitation Materials?

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Child exploitation material (CEM) refers to any content depicting the abuse of children, such as child pornography. International laws, like the Optional Protocol on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography, aim to combat the creation and distribution of CEM.

Child labour is an example of exploitation and defined as any work that deprives children of their rights and is harmful to their physical and mental wellbeing. For instance, children may be exploited in domestic work or forced to work in dangerous or hazardous conditions, where they are unpaid or underpaid and cannot leave due to threats or lack of alternatives.

Children may also face threats of exploitation online, including grooming, and coercion and blackmail for sexual purposes. Over the last five years, the volume of child sexual abuse material has increased by 87%, and this will likely only grow as more children come online and AI software becomes more readily available.