– The Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (KemenPPPA) together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Research Office, ECPAT Indonesia, and INTERPOL launched a disrupting harm research report on Thursday (29/9). This study provides an overview of the situation of sexual exploitation and abuse of children in online.

“If we want to be strong, prosperous, and advanced nation as we all aspire to, then we must try our best to ensure Indonesian children’s rights and protections are fulfilled, anytime and anywhere. One of the things that is the big challenge today is providing protection to our children in cyberspace or online,” said Deputy for Special Child Protection at the Ministry of PPPA, Nahar, virtually.

Nahar said the Covid-19 pandemic contributed to a number of unexpected consequences, one of which was sexual exploitation of children online. “The risk of grooming, the spread of child pornography content, invitations to sexting, and even cases of live streaming sexual abuse continues to occur to our children,” explained Nahar.

There are five key findings in the disrupting harm research in Indonesia, (1) in the last one year, 2% of internet user children aged 12-17 years in Indonesia have been targeted by real forms of online sexual exploitation and abuse; (2) the perpetrators of Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (OCSEA) are most often did by those who have already acquainted to the victim; (3) children targeted by OCSEA tend to tell their interpersonal networks, compared to helplines and the police; (4) the efforts of the Government of Indonesia in overcoming OCSEA need to be increased; and (5) further legislative action is required to criminalize all OCSEA actions.

“We hope that the results of this study will provide reinforcement to the Indonesian government, especially the Ministry of PPPA and other relevant Ministries/Institutions, to pay great attention to this issue and seek the birth of a policy regarding the Child Protection Roadmap in Online,” said Nahar.

ECPAT Indonesia’s National Coordinator, Ahmad Sofian, said research on disrupting harm in Indonesia had begun in 2019. “We certainly already have some findings from this study and there are aspects that need to be addressed immediately. There are concrete recommendations addressed to the government, electronic system operators, organizations that have a direct relationship between children and online platforms,” said Ahmad.

On the same occasion, UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Ali Aulia Ramly said that reports on the results of disrupting harm research have been disseminated several times. “We had the opportunity to consult the initial draft and recommendations at the National Consultation meeting in April 2022. The meeting also provided an opportunity for us to refine some recommendations and provide some revisions and inputs. We have also conveyed the results in several forums,” explained Ali.

Furthermore, Ali emphasized that research results related to disrupting harm are not only stored, but used as a basis for influencing policies in Indonesia. “The results of the disrupting harm study even show a very good example of evidence-based policy. Apart from having discussed these findings in the national consultation, we have also included the results and recommendations into the draft Roadmap for Child Protection in Online,” concluded Ali.

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