Suella Braverman opens up on what 'keeps her awake at night'

Suella Braverman opens up on what 'keeps her awake at night'
Dan Falvey

By Dan Falvey

Published: 29/09/2023

- 20:28

There are concerns that the number of children being being sexually exploited online is growing

Home Secretary Suella Braverman admitted the growing threat of online sexual exploitation of children keeps her "awake at night".

In an exclusive sit down the GB News, the Fareham MP said that she was working with countries around the world to try and curb the "prolific threat of online exploitation".

There are concerns that new security measures being introduced by tech companies such as meta - which owns Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram - could undermine the ability to detect online child abuse.

WhatsApp already offers end-to-end encryption by default, which prevents anyone other than the sender and recipient of a message from accessing its contents.

\u200bSuella Braverman

Suella Braverman said she had a 'real fear' about the impact of tech giants' plans


The social media giant is planning to add the feature to both Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct chats later this year.

Asked what keeps her awake at night, Braverman told GB News: "One issue that I've become more closely aware of and involved in as Home Secretary is the growing and prolific threat of online exploitation, sexual exploitation of children.

"And this is one of the matters that I discussed with my counterpart in Washington, DC this week. And there is a real risk posed to our children online and in the UK we arrest about 800 suspected paedophiles online paedophiles a month, a month. We safeguard about 1200 children a month.

"My real fear is that what some of these tech companies are proposing to do, which is to roll out end to end encryption without safety measures, will enable online paedophiles to operate in the dark, devastating children's lives, grooming them online, abusing them and actually ruining their futures.

House of Commons

The Online Safety Bill has passed through both Houses of Parliament


"It cannot be allowed to go on. And I urge these tech companies to behave in a more responsible and prudent way."

Earlier this year the Government introduced the Online Safety Bill which puts make digital giants more responsibility for the content on their platforms.

It has passed through both Houses of Parliament and is now awaiting Royal Assent to became law.

The Home Secretary said she wanted to "work constructively with these tech companies" in order to help provide more protection for internet users.

She added: "I'm afraid the ages of children is getting younger. And what's happening is children are being approached online in an innocuous way.

"They're being duped, manipulated, groomed, into behaving in an indecent, degrading, pornographic way.

"Their images are being captured, uploaded and shared and then they are becoming victims of exploitation and sexual abuse and it can be devastating for them and their families."

A Meta spokesperson said encryption keeps the UK population "safe from hackers, fraudsters and criminals".

They added: "We don’t think people want us reading their private messages so we have spent the last five years developing robust safety measures to prevent, detect and combat abuse while maintaining online security."

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