Our work

February 2018

An illustration of a saguaro cactus in a sunny desert.

For the first time, the women who would become the Phoenix 11 all met. Facilitated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), this would be the beginning of our incredible journey.

July 2018

One of the buildings where the Canadian Centre for Child Protection operates: a two-storey early 20th century brick building with tall windows and a few steps leading up to double wooden doors.

The Phoenix 11 gathered in Winnipeg with C3P and NCMEC to develop a tactical advocacy plan, record an Advocacy Statement and a Community Impact Statement, and strategize how to work towards the removal of CSAM from the internet. The Phoenix 11 also developed and recorded their Community Impact Statement for use in court proceedings.

August 2018

A photograph showing the silhouettes of the Phoenix 11.

Voices of survivors of CSAM were heard for the first time by the Five Country Ministerial (FCM/Five Eyes) when our Advocacy Statement was played for senior ministers at the FCM meeting in Australia.

November 2018

An illustration of the Canadian Parliament’s Centre Block building in Ottawa.

The Phoenix 11 participated in a roundtable hosted by Minister Ralph Goodale, Public Safety Canada, where we shared the impacts of this horrific crime on our lives.

A quote from the Phoenix 11: "It is our privacy that is violated, each and every time an image of our child sexual abuse is accessed, possessed or shared, and it is our dignity, and our rights, that are at stake."

C3P shared a statement on our behalf addressed to Members of the European Parliament regarding the European Union’s proposed e-Privacy Regulation that would prevent internet platforms from scanning their networks for CSAM.

February 2019

A quote from the Phoenix 11: "The concerns raised about these posts on YouTube are serious, and offer a glimpse into the extent of the depravity that exists online."

Disturbed by news reports of seemingly innocuous YouTube® videos, some of the videos contained sexually explicit content of kids, and were being sexualized in the comment section by predators, we, with C3P, reached out to Google® about the questionable treatment of these harmful videos on its platform.

An illustration of a courtroom gavel resting in front of a stylized drawing of a phoenix.

The Phoenix 11 Community Impact Statement was filed in court for the first time. In Canada, Community Impact Statements are permitted under Canada’s Criminal Code and are considered in the sentencing process. They allow a community to describe the harm or loss the offence caused the community — for us, this means unidentified victims of CSAM who otherwise would have no voice or way of sharing the real life impacts of this crime in the court process.

June 2019

An illustration of an envelope addressed to U.S. Attorney General Barr from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

The Phoenix 11 and C3P sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney General William Barr outlining Tor’s significant contribution to the proliferation of CSAM online. The letter asked the U.S. government, a funder of The Onion Router (Tor) Project, to consider putting regulations in place to address the spread of this incredibly harmful, illegal material.

An illustration of a police badge’s shield.

NCMEC hosted a roundtable where the Phoenix 11’s Insights from the Phoenix 11 for Law Enforcement Working with Survivors of CSAM was developed.

July 2019

An illustration of the Palace of Westminster in London, England.

Travelling to London, England, we met with Minister Victoria Atkins, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, and participated in a roundtable with stakeholders organized by the NSPCC. Each day, we shared the impact of CSAM on our lives and our calls for government regulation.

October 2019

A quote from the Phoenix 11: "We have to fight to be heard when you should be proactively and proudly preventing pedophiles from spreading this imagery through your platforms."

We shared our views on the dangers of end-to-end encryption at the U.S. Department of Justice’s summit Lawless Spaces: Warrant-Proof Encryption and Its Impact on Child Exploitation Cases, which included Attorney General William Barr (U.S.), Home Secretary Priti Patel (U.K.), Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton (Australia), and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

March 2020

An illustration of the White House in Washington, D.C.

At the White House, the Phoenix 11 spoke to a gathering of the Five Eyes and senior industry executives ahead of the launch of the Voluntary Principles to Counter Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (Voluntary Principles). We shared the lifelong impacts of CSAM and our demands for tech companies to protect children and survivors on their platforms.

July 2020

An illustration of the American flag flying at the top of a pole.

Statements from members of the Phoenix 11, alongside other survivors, were shared with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee when the EARN IT Act was reviewed to help senators understand the impact on victims when CSAM is allowed to be shared online without consequence to the platforms hosting the material.

November 2020

The Phoenix 11’s award for Meritorious Public Service: a cast figure of Lady Justice in robes wearing a blindfold, holding scales in one hand and a sword in the other with its point resting beside her feet, standing on top of a disc describing the award’s purpose.

We received an Award for Meritorious Public Service from the U.S. Department of Justice for our advocacy work battling CSAM. This is the top public service award granted by the department, recognizing citizens and organizations’ most significant contributions that have assisted the department in the accomplishment of its mission and objectives.

December 2020

An illustration of an open letter from survivors in a German newspaper, with logos showing support from numerous child protection agencies from around the world.

Alongside other survivors, we sent an open letter to the European Parliament asking for a temporary measure to be passed to avoid making it illegal for messaging platforms operating within the E.U. to use automated proactive scanning tools.

March 2021

A quote from the Phoenix 11: "What excuse could there be for not supporting these principles? One year ago, industry pledged to do better, and we are still waiting."

One year after the announcement of the Voluntary Principles, the Phoenix 11 released a statement. We asked tech companies what changes have been put in place to address these principles; and governments, what pressure is being placed on the hundreds of tech companies that have not supported these principles?

August 2021

A quote from the Phoenix 11: "What other crime do you have to commit 30 times before being reported to law enforcement?"

Following Apple®’s announcement that they would begin to identify and report iCloud® users when they upload CSAM onto iCloud photo accounts — but would only report to NCMEC when 30 illegal images had been identified — we called on Apple to reconsider this ridiculous threshold.

December 2021

An illustration of the European Union’s flag flying at the top of a pole.

Our Advocacy Statement was played at the European Parliament’s Child Rights Intergroup in Brussels to shine a spotlight on the staggering increase of child sexual abuse cases over the last few years, with ever-younger victims.

A quote from the Phoenix 11: "We ask you not to treat survivors, especially those who are still children, as a piece of evidence."

An audio statement from the Phoenix 11 was shared with trainers at the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) conference on the harmful practice of showing victims (and parents of victims) CSAM during a forensic interview.

May 2022

A photograph of the Manitoba Legislative Building’s Golden Boy statue under a clear sky.

Returning to Winnipeg, we spoke at a meeting of the Five Eyes representatives and experts working in the CSAM space at an international think tank at C3P. We shared our frustrations of having shared our stories and spoken to governments and industry for the past four years with little tangible progress made.

June 2022

A photograph of the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria.

Statements from the Phoenix 11 were played at a U.N.-side event in Vienna with participants from 27 U.N. Member States and a number of NGOs. Feedback from the event’s organizers stated that the event gave Member States a lot to consider in terms of the content of the treaty and their own domestic practices.

February 2023

A photograph showing the silhouettes of the Phoenix 11.

Clips from the Phoenix 11’s Advocacy Statement were shared at the opening of the U.S. Senate Judiciary hearing, Protecting Our Children Online.

March 2023

A quote from the Phoenix 11: "We cannot wait for tech to do what we know is the right thing, as they have continually proven that what is right for children is not their priority."

Five years after we banded together, and three years after the launch of the Voluntary Principles, we sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and the Five Eyes calling out tech companies’ inaction, and the need for comprehensive legislation to protect children online.

June 2023

A close-up photograph showing the silhouette of a young woman.

A member of the Phoenix 11 spoke on behalf of the group at an expert group meeting hosted by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime in partnership with the Government of the United Kingdom. A recorded version of the statement was shared two days later at a meeting of U.N. Member States.

July 2023

A photograph of brass weighing scales.

As of July 2023, our Community Impact Statement has been submitted for filing in over 100 different legal proceedings in eight provinces across Canada, including B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and P.E.I.

This has resulted in positive commentary from judges regarding our statement, for example:

“They [the Phoenix 11] confirmed what every citizen should already know: that making, accessing and distributing still images or videos of pornography involving children is not a victimless crime… For many, the crimes exact a lifetime toll economically, socially, physically and psychologically.”
— Grace J in R v Noonan, 2023 ONSC 3351 at para 38-40.
The words "We are those children" in front of a stylized drawing of a phoenix against a dark background.

We released a statement in response to academics’ criticism of the E.U.’s proposed CSAM-blocking policies, rebutting their arguments, lack of engagement with survivors, and calling on the E.U. to advance the proposed regulation to Prevent and Combat Child Sexual Abuse Online immediately.

December 2023

A quote from the Phoenix 11: "We have been advocating against end-to-end encryption without these safeguards for over five years, which means that Meta has had plenty of time to develop them. They have simply chosen not to."

In response to Meta’s decision to fully implement end-to-end encryption on Messenger and Instagram, the Phoenix 11 released a statement re-iterating that implementing end-to-end encryption without technology in place to address exploitation on Meta’s platforms will aid in the continued spread of CSAM, and stop professionals from saving children in real time.

January 2024

A cast figure of Lady Justice wearing a blindfold, holding up a pair of scales.

We sent the Senate Judiciary Committee members a letter asking them to address some of our six questions to Mark Zuckerberg during the January 31 Hearing with the five Big Tech CEOs in Washington. We wanted Meta to have to answer, on the record, questions that impact survivors and children on Meta’s December 2023 decision to fully implement end-to-end encryption on Messenger and Instagram.

February 2024

An envelope addressed to "Ofcom Online Safety Team"

We participated in Ofcom’s consultation on “Protecting people from illegal harms online,” identifying several concerns with the proposed codes of practice tied to the Online Safety Act in the U.K. Read our full letter here.

March 2024

A cast figure of Lady Justice wearing a blindfold, holding up a pair of scales.

We addressed a letter to the Five Country Ministerial acknowledging the anniversary of the Voluntary Principles to Counter Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. We recognize that since 2020 the five countries have made attempts to make the internet safer for children, but we feel that victims of child sexual abuse material have been left behind.