Judges and prosecutors, trained in a summer school on the aspects of investigating and examining cases of online sexual abuse and exploitation of minors

“Methods and tactics of investigation and examination of sex crimes committed by means of information technologies” was the theme of a summer school, in which this subject was approached from the perspective of aspects related to online sexual abuse committed against minors.

The event was organized by the International Center La Strada, Moldova, in partnership with the National Institute of Justice and with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau.

It is the second event this year organized for prosecutors and judges and aimed to provide information and develop their competences for a better investigation and examination of cases of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

The seminar was organized following the training of trainers in November 2021, where a mixed group of professionals was initiated by international experts in the subject of effective investigation and examination of cases of online sexual abuse and exploitation.

For two days, specialists came before justice system representatives in order to develop capacities for a better understanding of legal and procedural subtleties in cases of sexual violence committed with the use of information and communication technologies.

Emphasis was placed on familiarization with the criminal phenomenon of sexual abuse and exploitation of children; initiation into international and national legal standards on sexual exploitation and abuse of children facilitated by information technologies; peculiarities of criminal prosecution and trial of crimes of the respective category; analysis of the profile of the sexual aggressor in Moldova and their mode of operation in the online environment.

The participants mentioned that the topic is currently important and relevant, given that many of them had in the works or examined at least one case of sexual abuse or exploitation of minors, including committed with the use of information and communication technologies.

Since these cases involve the use of information and communication technologies in the commission of the crime, the response of specialists, the way in which they collect evidence and the type of evidence, the approach towards the child victim and the way in which evidence is presented in court must be adapted to the specific category of crimes.

Shortcomings in judicial practice, procedural errors and gaps in the process of carrying out procedural actions were discussed by participants in detail. They appreciated practical examples and case studies, which allowed them to exchange experience for a more effective response later.

The number of criminal cases of online sexual abuse or exploitation started in the last five years indicates a relatively small number of crimes detected and investigated: 15 crimes of luring a minor for sexual purposes, 11 crimes of trafficking children for the purpose of online sexual exploitation, 131 crimes of child pornography and 2 crimes of resorting to child prostitution. Statistical data reveal only criminal cases in which children were exploited through information and communication technologies.

In 2021, on alone there were reported 47 alleged cases of online sexual abuse. Officers of the Cybercrime Investigation Directorate of the National Investigations Inspectorate under the General Police Inspectorate daily receive dozens of reports of suspected child pornography from international organizations, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).



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