Global trends and evidence
The Continental Consultation on Ending OCSE in Africa, hosted by the African Union, started firstly with laying out global trends before focusing on the specifics for the continent. Evidence from Kenya and Mauritius and examples of how to address OCSE from the practice of Uganda, Ghana and Namibia were presented. Part of the consultation included workshops on victim identification and support, law enforcement vis-a-vis a victim centred approach, the role of the internet industry on combating OCSe and the role of reporting portals.
The case of Kenya
Terre des Hommes Netherlands not only presented evidence from its programme addressing OCSE in Kenya. We also played a role in sensitising member states on the need to be proactive in putting measures in place to prevent and respond to OCSE. This form of child exploitation might still feel remote to the majority of African states, but it is fast approaching and expanding, making it crucial to act before it is too late.
In addition, there is need for more data and information on the different manifestations of OCSE, and in getting children involved in their protection. Joint efforts and collaboration are key - not only at regional and governmental level, but hand in hand with civil society organisations expertised in this field, such as the Halley Movement from Mauritius, ECPAT International, Equality Now and Terre des Hommes Netherlands.
First of its kind
Being the first of its kind for the continent, the consultation set the pace for a high level summit towards the end of the year. Immediate outcome of the consultation was a Draft General Statement with recommendations for consideration during the 3rd Specialised Technical Committee on Health, Population and Drug Control and Crime Prevention scheduled to take place in July 2019.
Terre des Hommes Netherlands is pleased with this continental effort to address Online Child Sexual Exploitation. We believe a continental initiative is also important in light of cross-border complexities to address the (sexual) exploitation of children.