A Highlight of Conference on Sexual Crimes against Children Online
(By: Misran Lubis/Deputy Director of PKPA)
“55 million people in Indonesia have Facebook accounts and more than 30 million people log in Facebook every day. Most of Facebook users are children and youths. Although the number of Facebook users in Indonesia is quite high, it does not have any security or protection system for children. Indonesia ranks first in terms of cases of sexual crimes against children online in Asia with 18,747 cases and is followed by Bangladesh with 2,971 cases. The number still excludes online sexual crimes in online social media and other internet networks. This, of course, may endanger our children because child predators have entered into their private rooms. Since online sexual crimes are as dangerous as street sexual crimes, a cross-border cooperation involving governments, business sectors and civil society organizations is needed to enable us to address the issue effectively.”
Those are some statements made by speakers at Conference on Sexual Crimes against Children Online: Law Enforcement and Regional Cooperation held in Jakarta. In this article, I have quoted statements and data from some speakers at the conference such as Mr. Jeff Wu (Asia-Pacific Facebook Representative), Bindu Sharma (ICMEC/International Center for Missing and Exploited Children) and Prof. Irwanto (President of ECPAT Indonesia). Other speakers at the conference are Head of Criminal Investigation Division of the Indonesian Police, Department of Communication and Information of the Republic of Indonesia, ECPAT International, AFP, FBI, France Police, eBay-USA and a representative from Singapore District Attorney’s Office. The two-day conference was held in Mercure Convention Center Ancol, Jakarta, on 29-30 October 2012. It was officially opened by the Minister of Woman Empowerment and Child Protection of the Republic of Indonesia and was attended by 120 participants from Southeast Asian countries, France, Australia and the USA.
Information and communication technology development has incresed the number of social network users because it has become a modern lifestyle. Currently, almost all people have connected to internet. Although information and communication technology development has given advantages and is very helpful, on the other side, it also may endanger its users, especially children, because of their unawareness and misuse of information and communication technology. There are some sexual crimes against children online such as the followings:
- Online sexual crimes
- Online offer leading to a deceit
- Child image exploitation
- Human and child trafficking
The conference has reminded all elements, especially government, parents and teachers, to raise their awareness and improve their knowledge of information and communication technology to enable them to control and educate children. This is because the danger of online sexual crimes is no longer a discourse but has emerged among us and threats our children.
Following are some conclusions drawn from the conference:
1. Indonesia has to make a policy that can effectively prevent and eliminate sexual crimes against children online. It is also important to improve international cooperation for law enforcement because sexual crimes against children online is a cross-border crime.
2. It is important to conduct more research on sexual crimes against children online because the available data on the issue is still very limited.
3. It is important to raise the awareness of internet café owners, business sectors, teachers and parents of the issue. Internet service providers also have to block websites and images which are inapproprite and harmful for children.
4. It is necessary to adopt best practices for the elimination of online sexual crimes in France, Australia, USA and Singapore.
5. Indonesia needs to develop a reporting mechanism that will enable children to report online sexual crimes.
After the conference, ECPAT Indonesia, France Embassy and Terre des Hommes, with support from Ministry of Woman Empowerment and Child Protection of the Republic of Indonesia, will make some recommendations for relevant parties in Indonesia and other countries participating in the conference.
PKPA, as a representative of ECPAT Indonesia members in North Sumatra Province, hopes that relevant parties in the province will raise their awareness of the issue and improve cooperation for the elimination of online sexual crimes. ***