Sexual exploitation of children

Commercial sexual exploitation of children implies abusive criminal actions of sexual nature, that humiliate children and seriously endanger their physical and psycho-social integrity. Among the most spread forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children are the following: involving children into prostitution; child pornography/images that reflect sexual abuse of children; trafficking of children for sexual exploitation; sexual tourism; early marriages.

Just like the human trafficking, sexual exploitation of children for commercial purposes became a transnational phenomenon.

From June 2012 the Lanzarote Convention came into force in the Republic of, aiming at preventing and combating sexual exploitation and sexual abuse against children; protecting the rights of children victims of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse; promoting cooperation at national and international levels to fight against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse against children.

According to the studies conducted by La Strada (in 2011 and 2014) on the online safety of children, it can be mentioned that the gaps in the online behavior of children and teenagers did not disappear, and the risks they may face did not decrease. In this regard, in its Strategic Plan for 2016-2020 La Strada intends to continue contributing to the development and implementation of national policies for child protection.

Threats

  • Risky child behavior in the online environment;
  • Lack of knowledge, both among children and parents/tutors, about the safety in the online environment;
  • Lack of knowledge and instruments for efficient investigation of online sexual exploitation cases;
  • Lack of a strategy on child safety in the online environment;
  • Lack of information and data on child behavior in the online environment;
  • Availability of stigmatized social and legal norms that impede from perceiving the child as a credible witness, who deserves to get an adequate treatment due to his/her vulnerability.

Statistics

  • 873 appeals to the Siguronline consultant
  • 227 of children victims of sexual exploitation, assisted by attorneys and psychologists from "La Strada"
  • 3370 adolescents informed on safe online browsing 

Solutions

  • Prevention and early intervention through increasing public awareness efforts on sexual exploitation of children for commercial purposes and reducing online vulnerability of children;
  • Protection and justice through ensuring access to and availability of specialized services for children affected by sexual exploitation for commercial purposes;
  • Increase of capacities through professional capacity development of specialists to react efficiently in cases of sexual exploitation of children for commercial purposes;
  • Ensure public policies by organizing pleads for adapting the national framework to international standards, including the creation of a national coordination/monitoring mechanism;
  • Data and research to contribute to the decision making process at all levels.

Services

  • Informational portal www.siguronline.md, online reporting system and online counselling capacities;
  • „Peer to peer” educators’ program for promoting online security among children and adolescents;
  • Legal expertise for the Republic of Moldova Government to make national policies on children rights more efficient;
  • Child-friendly room for interviewing children and specially trained interviewers for vulnerable victims witnesses (within the justice system);
  • Legal representation and psychological evaluation reports for supporting victims witnesses during the criminal investigation process;
  • Identification of cases of child sexual exploitation and system / network referral;
  • Child Helpline 116 111 with national coverage;
  • Psychological assistance for minors (psychological counselling and development of psychological evaluation reports);
  • Programs on capacity development of professionals on active identification and treatment of children victims of sexual crimes (standard and individual training modules, for different categories of professionals – representatives of diplomatic missions, police officers, judges, prosecutors, social workers, psychologists etc.).
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