Global leaders in child protection, law enforcement and artificial intelligence (AI) convened virtually this past week for the second Advisory Board of the AI for Safer Children initiative. During the meeting, Board members discussed the recent progress of the initiative, in particular with respect to the development of the AI for Safer Children Global Hub – a first-of-its-kind database of AI-based tools and techniques for law enforcement agencies investigating child sexual exploitation and abuse online. Efforts to address the legal and ethical considerations presented by the initiative were also a focus of discussion.
The AI for Safer Children, an initiative implemented in partnership by UNICRI, through its Centre for AI and Robotics, and the Ministry of Interior of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was launched in an effort to support law enforcement agencies to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse online, which has disturbingly grown in recent years both in terms of quantity and quality worldwide. With law enforcement agencies grappling with a significant and growing backlog of cases as well as mounting psychological strain on individual investigators manually processing such material, the AI for Safer Children seeks to revolutionize the fight against child sexual exploitation and abuse by unlocking the transformative potential of AI.
During the meeting, Lt. Colonel Dana Humaid, Director General of International Affairs Bureau of UAE Ministry of Interior underscored the importance of the work, emphasizing that “if we save the life or innocence of one child, this is all worth it.” The advancements in the initiative were welcomed by the Board members, who highlighted the relevance of enabling critical interconnections between law enforcement investigating child sexual exploitation and abuse and tech providers.
The Advisory Board, which will reconvene for its third meeting later this year in the third quarter, is composed of representatives from: Aarambh India; the Bracket Foundation; the Canadian Center for Child Protection; the World Childhood Foundation; ECPAT; the European Commission Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs; Europol; the Fund to End Violence Against Children; Griffeye; the Gucci Children’s Foundation; the International Justice Mission; INTERPOL; the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; Red Papaz; SafeToNet; Thorn; UNICEF; the University of Massachusetts Amherst; the Virtual Global Taskforce; and the WePROTECT Alliance.