On Monday 3 September, the Home Secretary set out the scale of online child sexual exploitation (CSE), with a 700% increase in child abuse images being referred to the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the last five years, up to 80,000 people in the UK presenting some kind of sexual threat to children online.
In his speech, Sajid Javid said:
"I’ve been impressed by the progress the likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Apple have made on counter-terrorism."
"Now I want to see the same level of commitment for child sexual exploitation. In recent years there has been some good work in this area. But the reality is that the threat has evolved quicker than industry’s response and industry has not kept up. And there are some companies that refuse to take it seriously."
"I am not just asking for change, I am demanding it. And the people are demanding it too."
"And if web giants do not take more measures to remove this type of content from their platforms, then I won’t be afraid to take action."
"How far we legislate will be informed by the action and attitude that industry takes."
He also announced an extra £21.5 million investment in law enforcement over the next 18 months to reduce the volume of offending and pursue the most hardened and dangerous abusers. The majority of this funding will go to UK law enforcement and intelligence agencies to tackle the most tech-savvy and dedicated abusers.
A further £2.6 million will be made available for prevention work, including to the child protection charity the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, who have just opened their new HQ in Stoke Prior. The charity works to reduce demand for online sexual images of children and prevent offending before it occurs.