Sexual exploitation of children in Asia

Seksuele uitbuiting van kinderen in Azië Terre des Hommes

Sexual abuse of children is on the rise in Asia. It happens online and on the spot, the perpetrators are child sex tourists and expats. Both forms of abuse are connected. Sex tourists can easily make contact with children and gain their trust through the Internet, before visiting them at their destination. It also works the other way round: tourists can continue to abuse children online after their holiday through live streaming and  by producing and watching child porn.

Background

Because many children in Asia are extremely poor and often don't go to school, they are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Child sex tourism and online child abuse in this region increase because of cheaper flights to Asia and better access to the Internet. Because of a lack of both coordination and exchange of information between authorities, law enforcement and prosecution are often not put into practice. Few perpetrators are prosecuted for their crimes and the majority escapes their punishment.

Goals

We focus on children that are either victims of child sex tourism and online abuse, or are vulnerable to it. In this programme we also focus on their families and communities. The results of our programme obviously need to be sustainable. This is why we also involve ministries (such as health, education and justice) and international and civil society organisations, the media, banks and tourism and ICT companies in our work. Our objectives for the coming three years are: 

  • 11,000 children and 20,000 adults receive information about the dangers of child sex tourism and online sexual abuse
  • 6,000 children that are at risk of becoming a victim are going to school
  • 1,200 families are helped with finding other sources of income, so children no longer have to earn money via the webcam or sex with tourists.
  • We develop four education methods, in which we explain how to safely use the Internet
  • We cooperate with 250 companies to tackle child sex tourism and online sexual abuse
  • 3,700 victims receive legal aid
  • 700 victims are enabled to go back to school, or to receive vocational training
  • We have developed 25 strategies to improve government policy in the field of child sex tourism and online sexual abuse
  • 1,500 police staff, judges and district attorneys have learned how to track down perpetrators
  • 250 child sex tourists are tracked down and have been arrested.

What we do

We tackle child sex tourism and online sexual abuse of children in Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, using the following methods:

Prevention

We organise awareness campaigns to inform Asian people about the dangers their children can be faced with. We also teach children how to safely use the internet and we contact companies in the travel and tourism industry, so we can prevent child sex tourism and online abuse together.

Protection

Children that are victim to online sexual abuse and child sex tourism receive, among other things, medical and psychological care, shelter and legal aid. We also make sure they can return to their families or communities, go back to school, or receive vocational training. Families are given the chance to increase their income, so their children no longer have to make money via the webcam or through sex with tourists.

Promotion and lobby

We cooperate with governments to make sure they put tackling child sex tourism and online sexual abuse high on their political agendas. We also lobby within international organisations of Asian countries, such as ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) to encourage them to tackle these problems together.

Also internet and telephone providers are among our partners, as well as banks (they can track perpetrators through financial transactions), hospitality businesses, hotels and travel agents. We help countries drafting laws that make the possession of child pornography punishable, excluding Thailand and the Philippines, as they already have these laws in place, and cooperate with media, celebrities and companies to influence public opinion, community leaders and governments.

Legal aid

We offer legal aid to victims of child sex abuse and online sexual abuse. We train police staff, judges and district attorneys to treat victims in a child-friendly manner. We also cooperate with communities and support groups for children that collect information about suspected sexual abuse.

Results

Some of the results of our work against commercial sexual exploitation of children in the first six months of 2017:

  • In Bangladesh 62 meetings have been organised to discuss child protection with local partners, community members and religious leaders
  • In Indonesia 650 children received training to recognise child exploitation and how to report it to authorities
  • In India 908 vulnerable girls received educational and social welfare support
  • In the Philippines 138 families of victims of child exploitation received juridical, medical or mental support from our local partner
  • Thanks to an awareness campaign about sexual exploitation of children members of local communities reported 141 cases of child abuse to the authorities in Sri Lanka
  • In Thailand 306 victims of sexual exploitation received shelter or medical, educational or juridical support
  • In Bangladesh 10 mediacampaigns about children's rights have been launched. For 13 schools communication sets have been produced, and meetings have been organised to introduce these to young students
  • In Sri Lanka 109 police and judicial employees have been trained to report convicted perpetrators of child exploitation and to publish press releases
  • In the Philippines 10 new dialogues have been started with representatives of the corporate sector to raise awareness about possible child exploitation in this sector and to explain how they can contribute to stop child exploitation.