Experts from ECPAT International were in Ho Chi Minh City last week to help train police from around the world to better protect children from sexual exploitation.
They presented among a range of other guest speakers, including officers from INTERPOL, governments, UN partners, academia, and the private sector to law enforcement officials from 20 countries – representing Southeast Asia, South Asia, Australia, and the UK. The sessions in Viet Nam are an effort to recognize the prevalence of transnational child sex crimes in Asia and help police from a range of countries to focus on protecting children from online child sexual exploitation and travelling sex offenders.
Gabriela Kühn, ECPAT Head of Programme for the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism, who presented a session at the event explained how expansion in the travel and tourism sector has made children more vulnerable, what steps need to be taken in the region to better protect children, and how authorities should work to end the impunity that many offenders enjoy.
“International law defines a child as anyone under the age of 18 years – it is critical that law enforcement does not relate different ages of sexual consent to crimes, such as exploitation of children through prostitution, trafficking or child abuse materials, as this hampers justice for victims.”
Gabriela Kühn, Head of Programme, Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism, ECPAT International.
The presentations took place as part of the 49th Asia Region Law Enforcement Management Programme, which is a partnership between the Australian Federal Police, the Viet Nam Ministry of Public Security and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. The programme is sponsored by the Australian Federal Police with the aim of enhancing regional law enforcement’s ability to address non-traditional security threats and transnational crimes.