“How do we protect trafficked victims and others at risk, especially children, in the digital age?”
The pandemic has fast-tracked transformative digital changes to keep up with the new reality: an abrupt shift to remote operations.
While technology has enabled this continuity shift, it has also increased opportunities for borderless cyber offense and illegal activities.
As a result, children are more exposed to exploitation, including grooming, sexual coercion and extortion, sexting, pornography and violent sexual content. This is also referred to as online child sexual exploitation of children (OSEC).
Our 8th webinar on Human Trafficking in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, discussed “How do we protect trafficked victims and others at risk, especially children, in the digital age?”.
Guillermo Galarza – Vice President, Global Partnerships and Law Enforcement Trainings, International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, Viriginia, USA
Police Colonel Sheila T. Portento – Chief, Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, Women and Children Protection Center, Philippine National Police, Philippines
Atty. Ralph Vincent G Catedral – Specialist, Prosecution Consulting and Assessment, Center to End Online Sexual Exploitation of Children, International Justice Mission, Philippines
Atty. Lawrence Aritao – Director for Prosecution and Aftercare, Center to End Online Sexual Exploitation of Children, International Justice Mission, Philippines
Our expert panel talked through innovative measures, strategies, challenges, and good practices in investigating and prosecuting OSEC cases from different jurisdictions.
Some of the insights from the panel included discussions on:
- the importance of using victim-centred, child-friendly interviews, investigation and prosecution techniques
- victim protection and support is directly linked to successful prosecutions of OSEC
- multi-disciplinary approaches are critical to addressing the complex and continuingly evolving crime of OSEC – police, social workers, child protection authorities and the judiciary need to work together for effective justice outcomes
- the importance of transnational investigative and legal cooperation in OSEC cases – cyber crime of course knows no boundaries and in response we need to work across jurisdictions and address any barriers to cooperation and information sharing to counter this crime
- the importance of gathering and using digital evidence in OSEC cases, and the need to continue to build the capacity of law enforcement and the judiciary in collecting, using, and evaluating the weight of these new forms of evidence
- adaptive responses used by the Department of Justice and Courts in the Philippines who are using technology for video conferencing for testimony and hearings and taking additional measures to protect victims of OSEC during the COVID-19 pandemic
- tackling biases about OSEC including that it doesn’t happen to boys
- the fundamental importance of prevention, education and awareness and engaging children as part of the solution in combatting OSEC
Download the presentations from our panelists:
PNP Women and Children Protection Center presentation
Global Partnerships & Law Enforcement Trainings presentation
Visit https://www.hugproject.org/hughandbook/ to access an interactive handbook on online sexual exploitation of victims.
Thanks to the HUG Project Thailand for permission to post this resource here.