JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Many parents in Southeast Asia unaware of new child sexual abuse forms

Many parents in Southeast Asia unaware of new child sexual abuse forms

Thursday, June 05, 2014, 22:37 GMT+7

Many adults and children across Southeast Asia in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam have a limited understanding of the risks of sexual abuse, a new report has revealed.

The report was officially launched on Wednesday by Project Childhood Prevention Pillar with funding from the Australian government and support from World Vision.

Project Childhood is a four-year Australian government initiative to combat the sexual exploitation of children in tourism in the Mekong sub-region which is to be completed in June 2014.

The report “Sex, Abuse and Childhood: A study of knowledge, attitudes and practices relating to child sexual abuse in travel and tourism, in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam” also found that children and their families had a limited understanding of what child sexual abuse was and how they could prevent it.

The four-country report presents an overview of the findings of four separate surveys conducted in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam between 2011 and 2012.

According to the report, of all the groups interviewed, parents had the lowest levels of understanding on the issue of child sexual abuse. Vietnamese parents even were unable to clearly verbalise behaviours or identify examples of child sexual abuse.

What’s more, children’s risk related to accessing the Internet was highlighted. According to the Vietnamese survey, all of the interviewed students brought their cell phones to school. Every day, they texted between 50 and 200 messages, spent two to seven hours using the phone, and between one and four hours chatting online or playing video games.

One 16-year-old Vietnamese female high school student reported that 20 out of her 200 Yahoo IDs on her contact list belonged to strangers whom she now considered as her friends. She gave her mobile phone numbers to five of those strangers, of whom four were male.

“Many children do not understand the risks of using the Internet and are unaware that many sex offenders will try to lure children through chat sites. As a general rule, children should never chat to strangers online,” said Nguyen Khanh Hoi, National Coordinator of Project Childhood Prevention Pillar of World Vision Vietnam.

The report indicates that the Internet was also used by sex offenders to desensitise children to acts of abuse.

“There are new forms of child sexual abuse that have been appearing together with the boom of technology,” Hoi added.

“Sexually abusive acts, such as uploading child abuse images via sex websites or sex chatting with children or forcing children to reveal their bodies via webcam, are not generally recognised as forms of sexual abuse. We found that children did not seem to be aware of the danger that strangers posed online,” he pointed out.

Of the total 600 people interviewed in the report, 275 people including156 children and 101 adults were asked in Vietnam. The respondents consisted of school children, street and working children, parents and relatives, friends of children, duty bearers, hotel owners, orphaned and abandoned children and men pursuing girls for sex.

In Vietnam, the study took place in District 4 and 8 in Ho Chi Minh City and in Do Son and Thuy Nguyen Districts in the northern city of Hai Phong.

“Limited understanding of child sexual abuse by children and adults means that cases can go undetected,” said Aarti Kapoor, Regional Program Manager, Project Childhood.

The report recommended child sexual abuse prevention education, particularly for parents and carers, children and community members.

“We know from international experience that child sexual abuse prevention education is an effective preventative mechanism to build resilience against abuse in vulnerable communitie,” said Aarti Kapoor.

“Children and adults need the information, skills and strategies to protect children from all kinds of sexual abuse – whether committed by a stranger, foreigner, local person, friend or family member,” Aarti concluded.

“We cannot get sustainable success in child sexual abuse prevention and protection by raising awareness of only one separate targeted group. We also cannot impose or prohibit children from their desire of exploring the world by using the Internet and technology. Integrated education and communication for children, family and community members should be implemented,” Nguyen Khanh Hoi said.

The report also indicated that children in difficult circumstances and in indigenous places such as rural, mountainous areas or even orphanages tend to become the targeted destination of foreign child sex offenders.

Tuoi Tre





‘Taste of Australia’ gala dinner held in Ho Chi Minh City after 2-year hiatus

Taste of Australia Gala Reception has returned to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Vietnamese woman gives unconditional love to hundreds of adopted children

Despite her own immense hardship, she has taken in and cared for hundreds of orphans over the past three decades.

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta celebrates spring with ‘hat boi’ performances

The art form is so popular that it attracts people from all ages in the Mekong Delta

Vietnamese youngster travels back in time with clay miniatures

Each work is a scene caught by Dung and kept in his memories through his journeys across Vietnam

Latest news

Dutch regulator rejects Apple’s objections to fines

Dutch competition watchdog ACM on Monday said it had rejected objections by Apple against fines of 50 million euros ($53 million) it gave the company over failure to comply with orders to limit the dominant position of Apple's App Store