Facebook is used in Kenya for Sex Exploitation of minors – New Report

Is Meta’s Facebook platform is becoming unsafe space for children? 

The newly published report by Disrupting Harm found that internet based sexual exploitation of minors in Kenya was found to be more rampant on Facebook. 

According to Interpol, UNICEF and End Violence against Children found that  Facebook accounted for more than 90% of all the instances of online sexual exploitation and abuse of minors in the East African country last year. 

“WhatsApp and Facebook or Facebook Messenger were the social media and instant messaging apps via which children were most commonly targeted. This is probably because Facebook and WhatsApp – the two most popular social media platforms in Kenya – are where children spend much of their time online,” the report said.

The report was informed by data from the U.S. National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), interviews with minors, their parents, policing agencies and legal representatives, TechCrunch reported. 

Alongside Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube made up other platforms where child sex abuse imagery and videos were commonly “possessed, manufactured and distributed”. 

Mueni Mutisya, the AHTCPU in-charge, told TechCrunch that the authority receives about 22 cybertip reports daily. She said the country has experienced a spike in cases recorded since the start of the COVID pandemic, a situation that has also been fueled by the use of social sites.

“Social media has enhanced sharing, production and distribution of online sexual exploitation and abuse (OCSEA). It has become much easier for predators to trick young people into sharing explicit images of themselves and falling prey to an overly sexualized culture.

“In Kenya, the provision of the upcoming Children Bill 2021 addressing online grooming will only cover online grooming with the intent of meeting the child and may not therefore apply to situations where, for example, a child is asked to send sexual content to an offender via online platforms,” the report noted.

This report comes in the wake of data from NCMEC showing that globally, Facebook reported more than 20 million child-sex abuse images last year, 37 times more than those reported by Google, which ranked second, adds TechCrunch. 

To read the entire report by Disrupting Harm Kenya click here.

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