The Ministry of Women and Child Development is setting up a National Alliance to counter the evil of online child abuse and exploitation by engaging the citizenry, NGOs as well as law enforcement to ensure that the legal framework to work against this growing menace is effectively placed.
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In a day-long consultation in New Delhi on Monday, with Ministries of Home Affairs, Health and Family welfare, Electronics and Information Technology, Department of School Education and Literacy, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and several civil society organisations, the Women and Child Development ministry discussed the legal framework, policies, national strategies concerning child protection and child rights.
The consultation sought to come out with measures to enlighten people about the danger of child abuse, set up a platform for NGOs and government organisations to share information regarding child abuse.
“Online child abuse and exploitation amplify existing forms of offline bullying, stalking and harassment. It also facilitates the sexual exploitation of children through the production and dissemination of child sexual abuse materials and by facilitating the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. Online abuse knows no national boundaries,” the Ministry stated.
In addition to the aforementioned objectives, the consultation also sought to bring out a common definition of child pornography and bring amendments to the Information Technology Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act.
Other Objectives of the National Alliance
Children’s exposure to abuse tends to take a toll on their long-term physical as well as psychological well-being and the Ministry pointed out that with the advent of digital tech, the issue of child abuse has risen.
“Child sexual abuse is a multi-layered problem which negatively impacts children’s safety, health and well being,” the Ministry added.
The Ministry of Women and Children noticed the limited awareness of online Child exploitation among parents, children, teacher as well as other organisations and put forward this objective to inform and educate the concerned parties.
To set up a multi-member secretariat based in the Ministry with an online portal which also has a hotline for reporting.
Set up a forum for advocacy of child rights and policy based on research and studies.
Document success stories and best practices in terms of prevention of online abuse and exploitation of children, and showcase them.
Child abuse and exploitation is a prevalent evil of our society and the government taking steps to counter the growing menace, especially aided by the digital worlds where things can be shared at an alarming pace, is a welcome move but it remains to be seen how well they are able to implement the same.