Getty Images appears to have images of children being sexually exploited available for licensing on its website. Many of the children are identifiable.
The discovery came as part of research into revelations that Magnum Photos has been licensing images that may constitute acts of child sexual abuse for more than thirty years.
As it became apparent that Magnum offered tens of images of sexually exploited children, many of whom are identifiable and seemingly photographed covertly, research began into other photo agencies including Getty. A number of unsettling images exist in the stock agency’s archive.
UNICEF, the United Nations agency that provides humanitarian aid for children around the world, is very specific in its guidelines to news organizations regarding the documentation children. The visual identity should always be obscured if a child is identified as a victim of sexual abuse or exploitation. Notably, contrary to many photographers' assumptions, raising awareness of a situation is not justification for taking or publishing photographs where vulnerable children are identifiable. When documenting events, photographers are reminded to consider whether they would want photographs of their children or family members published in the same manner.
Getty has issued a statement: "Thank you for your outreach. Getty Images takes these claims very seriously. We have removed and are reviewing the content to ensure the images are compliant with our editorial policies."