INHOPE | ECPAT Taiwan 2022 International Conference on Child Sexual Exploitation
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ECPAT Taiwan 2022 International Conference on Child Sexual Exploitation

ECPAT Taiwan held an annual conference on child sexual exploitation (CSE) to raise public awareness and exchange information and experience. The conference took place at Tsai Lecture Hall, National Taiwan University College of Law, and speakers from around the globe shared trends and insights into child sexual exploitation prevention. The forum attracted attendees like professionals from social welfare, the police, teachers, NGOs and social science students.

The conference began with an introduction of the Brave Movement, a survivors-centred global collective fighting to end childhood sexual violence. With a team made up of survivors with different backgrounds and various experiences with sexual violence, Brave Movement aims to unite survivors and allies for prevention, healing and justice. By standing together, we can be bolder and stronger.

After the introduction, Ms Carol Todd shared the story of her daughter, Amanda Todd. As a victim of sextortion, sexual exploitation and cyberbullying, Amanda eventually tragically ended her life in 2012. While Amanda's story took place a decade ago, the inadequate systems of technology, legislation and education which allowed the crime to occur are still lacking. While there have been major systematic improvements through additional regulations, there has also been a dramatic increase in young children using the internet. Technological innovations and developments have created new ways for offenders to target young people online, and produced new challenges that need to be addressed.

Systemic measures must be taken to allow children to safely navigate the internet on the institutional as well as the users' sides. Specifically, enlightening students on online exploitation, its process (victim selection, gaining access to the victim, trust development, desensitisation to sexual content and touch, post-abuse maintenance), and strategies to be safe will make students aware of this problem, and equip them with the appropriate defences for this exploitation.

Importance of Collaboration

These issues must be addressed by the unified collaboration of government, private companies, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The government provides comprehensive legislation on this issue for individuals and businesses to abide by and clear consequences for breaking the law. Dr Elizabeth Jeglic, a Psychology professor at the John Jay College, City University of New York, suggested that a universal definition and commonly used terms are essential, therefore “online grooming” should be defined and criminalised in the same standard in every country.

Industry's responsibility

Private companies such as internet service providers and banks are responsible for their business decisions which may allow the proliferation of CSEM or help extinguish it; an example would be Visa and Mastercard recently suspending users’ ability to make payments on Pornhub, a site hosting CSEM. Lastly, NGOs such as ECPAT research and hold accountable the parties involved in child exploitation, and help children and victims through methods of prevention, support, and education.

To aid the mission of extinguishing CSE, projects such as Project Arachnid from the Canadian Centre of Child Protection, Safecity from the Red Dot Foundation, and Disrupting Harm from ECPAT International have been created to collect mass amounts of data (each respectively scanning the web, crowdsourcing experiences, or gathering international surveys and interviews) to take down CSE, inform people of locations’ histories of sexual violence, and to utilize people’s shared experiences to identify trends that inform better policy-making.

These technologies are handy tools in the fight against child sexual exploitation, and will further equip organisations such as ECPAT to deliver justice to children and their offenders.

ECPAT Taiwan 2022 International Conference on Child Sexual Exploitation
- by ECPAT Taiwan
Photo by ECPAT Taiwan