Online sexual exploitation of children in Nepal – ECPAT Luxembourg’s Response
vendredi 5 mai 2017 à 04:00
The Internet market in Nepal has grown rapidly, from less than 1 percent of Nepal’s population of twenty-three million in 2005, to nearly 20% using the internet in 2016(1) ! Around 23 million mobile telephone subscriptions have been registered in the country(2). Youth and children constitute an important part of this population of mobile telephone users.
Recent studies on the subject have underlined the vulnerability of these young users to online sexual exploitation. The phenomenon of facebook has taken the country by storm, reaching even the remote and rural areas. Based on statistics available online, there were 6,400,000 facebook users in Nepal as of June 2016(3). The Internet in itself is a neutral communication tool facilitating access to information ; however, it can very well be used with a wrong intention. This is evident with increase in media coverage of the negative phenomena associated with social media in Nepal.(4) Social media can very well be used by traffickers, pedophiles or sexual offenders with limitless opportunities to contact children anonymously.
A 2015 qualitative study jointly conducted by ECPAT Luxembourg and Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN) revealed that all children interviewed in schools and slum areas had access to Internet primarily through mobile telephones(5). Some of these children had already been victims of risky acts receiving nude photos from their Facebook contacts. Findings from another study conducted by CWIN in 2008(6) found that 74% boys and 26% girls admitted having communicated personal information to strangers on the web and 11% of the children revealed that they had already had sex chats with strangers online.
Child sexual abuse material is not specifically addressed in any laws including the Electronic Transaction Act 208, Nepal’s first cyber law. There is no comprehensive definition of child sexual abuse material in the Children’s Act itself. Online sexual exploitation and online grooming is not incorporated in any laws of Nepal yet.
Substantial interventions to protect children from online sexual exploitation have yet to be made from any side in Nepal. ECPAT Luxembourg has made a strategic and meaningful contribution with a 3 year Project Agreement signed late 2016 with the government of Nepal and a leading implementing NGO partner in Nepal, Voice of Children (VOC) to implement a project titled “Preventing and Protecting Children against Online Sexual Abuse in Nepal.” The major objective of the project is to enhance resiliency of vulnerable children through awareness raising ; create a climate of consent among key stakeholders to enforce restrictions to control child sexual abuse material ; address policy gaps with result based advocacy ; and, provide quality services for children exploited online. More information about this project on our website : http://ecpat.lu/nos-actions/nepal-exploitation.
(2) MIS (Management Information System) Report of the National Telecommunications Authority, Nepal, April 2O15. Report published bimonthly.
(4) Facebook-related crimes on rise : Police http://therisingnepal.org.np/news/16133
(5) Preparatory Study for a Situational Analysis of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Nepal. 2015. ECPAT Luxembourg et CWIN : Kathmandu, 2015.
(6) A Study on the Use of Internet by Children, Child Workers in Nepal et Save The Children Sweden, Katmandou, Népal, 2008
Communiqué par ECPAT