By Modupe Gbadeyanka
On Monday, November 28, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, through its Working Group on Prevention of Online Child Sexual Exploitation and with the support of the British High Commission, hosted a workshop on the fight against online child sexual abuse and exploitation.
Participants included government departments, law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, religious leaders, non-governmental organisations and international development partners.
Speaking at the event, Minister of State for Internal Affairs Hon. Obiga Kania said:
“The Government of Uganda is committed to addressing the growing threat to children from online sexual abuse and exploitation. Increasing access to the internet in Uganda offers children new benefits and opportunities. But it also increases the risk that criminals can use this technology to sexually abuse and exploit children.”
In her opening remarks, British Acting High Commissioner Mary Shockledge said, “The British High Commission is proud to support this initiative. As governments and international organisations, we cannot afford to remain passive, and we cannot afford to act alone. Online child sexual exploitation is a global problem demanding a co-ordinated, global response. This problem requires a joined-up response from government, law enforcement agencies, technology companies and civil society. Today’s workshop explores the roles that each of these stakeholders play in identifying and preventing online child sexual abuse and exploitation.”
Globally, the UK Government is playing a leading role in addressing the issue on online child sexual abuse and exploitation, and has given £50 million to the Fund to End Violence Against Children, administered by UNICEF. This fund provides finance to countries to prevent online exploitation. 17 countries, including Uganda, have already benefited from this funding.
In December 2014, the UK Prime Minister hosted the first global summit to address online abuse, bringing together government ministers from over 50 countries, major technology companies and non-governmental organisations.
Agreement on a coordinated global response to tackle the proliferation of child sexual abuse material was reached, and participants signed up to a range of actions and technological initiatives to prevent online child abuse and exploitation.
Since the Summit, the UK has introduced a new law making it illegal for an adult to send a sexual communication to a child and has created specialist online child sexual abuse teams within its National Crime Agency.
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