World Vision Australia has joined forces with an international law enforcement body to tackle online child sexual abuse and exploitation.
World Vision Australia is one of four organisations to be accepted as a new member of the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), an alliance of law enforcement agencies and private sector partners that work to prevent child sexual exploitation on the internet.
The VGT focuses on identifying, locating and rescuing child victims of exploitation and making the internet a safer place for children. Its members include the Australian Federal Police (AFP), INTERPOL, EUROPOL and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
"World Vision Australia is thrilled to be partnering with global law enforcement leaders like the AFP on this important issue," said World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello. "I commend the VGT for its innovative and collaborative approach. As the internet opens up a borderless online world, it is vital that we work together to protect children.”
World Vision Australia’s role in the new alliance will be to harness the perspectives of children, enhance safety messages and methods, and conduct analysis on emerging trends and best practices in preventing and responding to child exploitation online.
“Protecting children from abuse and exploitation is a top priority for World Vision Australia,” said Project Childhood – Prevention Pillar program manager Aarti Kapoor. “World Vision works in over 90 countries, and it’s through this global partnership that WVA has access to invaluable information on emerging trends in preventing and responding to child sexual exploitation.”
World Vision Australia supports several child protection initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region, including the AusAID initiative Project Childhood. Project Childhood brings together the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), INTERPOL and World Vision Australia to address sexual exploitation of children in tourism. The project operates in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam and takes a dual prevention and protection approach. Through Project Childhood - Prevention Pillar, WVA works with children and their families, community leaders, governments, the tourism industry and the broader private sector to keep children safe from sexual exploitation, including online.
“World Vision sees children as key agents of change in their own lives and communities,” Ms Kapoor said. “World Vision’s work can be used as an example of how the digital world can also be a positive and catalytic tool for child rights and their protection.”
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