Building on our engagements with the Tech Sector, CBIS has joined with the Pope, Catholic Leaders and global experts at the 1st Child Dignity World Congress aimed at fighting online child sexual abuse.

Over the past few days, we have vigorously debated strategies to confront child abuse in the digital world. This very first World Congress, convened by the Pontifical Gregorian University’s Centre for Child Protection, also helped to build critical alliances and share research across multiple disciplines regarding child sex exploitation online. The Congress included 140 experts in their field from six continents – CBIS was the only investment management company invited. The Congress resulted in the release of the Declaration of Rome, which was shaped by all the participants and was officially presented to, and supported by, Pope Francis, today, Oct. 6th. Tracey Rembert, Assistant Director of Catholic Responsible Investing at CBIS, was present for the ceremony with the Holy Father.

“It was a very special moment for me, in meeting the Pope, both as a representative of CBIS and as a mother,” said Rembert. “CBIS focuses on promoting positive change, helping to protect the most vulnerable among us, in this case, children globally.”

What is the Rome Declaration?
Put simply, the declaration is a statement and call for action by child protection experts and the Catholic Church to governments, companies and faith leaders to step up and do much more to combat child sexual exploitation online.

Key lines in the Declaration of Rome:
The Declaration of Rome calls on “Leaders of technology companies to commit to the development and implementation of new tools and technologies to attack the proliferation of sex abuse images on the Internet, and to interdict the redistribution of the images of identified child victims.”

It further calls on “governments, private industry and religious institutions to undertake a global awareness initiative to make citizens in every country more alert and aware regarding the abuse and sexual exploitation of children,” which would include campaigns directed at children to better avoid harm and grooming behaviors, and initiatives for every citizen to better recognize the signs of online exploitation and report them.

Watch the CBIS website for more information, including a review of the World Congress and the Declaration of Rome, and updates on CBIS’ engagement efforts.