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Referring to research on tech-facilitated crimes against children, Ms Marie-Laure Lemineur, ECPAT International, and Ms Norma Negrete, ECPAT Mexico, referred to two innovative studies undertaken by their organisations. They explained that one way of contributing to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children (SDG 16.2) is to generate evidence on the nature and scope of the such crimes.
Lemineur referred to the role of parents, teachers, and other adults responsible for children’s safety. She explained that adults entrusted with children’s care would like to see children grow up to be healthy and happy, and to develop well both physically and mentally. ‘Children learn through exploration and natural curiosity, and it is part of our job as parents and carers to encourage that. However, as our children grow up, develop and discover new experiences, we have to take more and different steps to ensure their safety.’
Sexual offenders can take many personalities; they need to be identified, and their instincts understood. At the same time, children need to be protected from everyday dangers – from crossing the road, to talking to strangers, to online dangers. Children grow up fast, and their needs differ according to their age. Younger children might have very limited access to the Internet, while older children – also referred to as ‘online veterans’ – are more likely to know their way around the Internet, and use apps, games, and social networks.
There is a need to understand the digital function of the Internet and to analyse the risks that may threaten children online. Web-based reporting mechanisms should also be widely encouraged as they reveal trends with regards to the ages of the victims.
Disseminating findings which provide new quantitive and qualitative evidence on how the information and communication technologies are used to sexually abuse and exploit children is meant to guide and to inform policy processes in the IG sphere.
by Hamza Ben Mehrez, Internet Society Tunisia