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#sextrafficking | Covid-19 has increased children’s exposure to traffickers | #tinder | #pof | #match | romancescams | #scams

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Crime & Justice, Health, Human Rights

Families, communities and policymakers must now work in tandem to eliminate this life-scarring menace

Jun 11 2020 – With Covid-19 bringing economic activities across nations to a halt, more and more people are being pushed into poverty. Job losses, business losses and farming losses, leading to economic stress, are pushing many to the fringes of poverty. And as families are being rendered helpless, the worst sufferers are invariably the children.

“46 percent children suffer from multidimensional poverty,” suggests a report shared recently by Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS). And in the face of the growing economic hardships of the people, triggered by Covid-19, the number is likely to shoot up in the coming months.

From increased threats of modern slavery—domestic servitude, sex trafficking, and forced labour, such as begging—and reduced access to nutrition, basic healthcare facilities and education, to increased risk of emotional abuse and mental trauma, children today, especially the ones born into poverty, are at greater risk of exploitation.

According to Unicef, “The economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic could push up to 86 million more children into household poverty by the end of 2020.”

Save the Children and Unicef suggest that, “Immediate loss of income means families are less able to afford the basics, including food and water, less likely to access health care or education, and more at risk of child marriage, violence, exploitation and abuse. When fiscal contraction occurs, the reach and quality of the services families depend on can also be diminished.”

And with more and more people becoming jobless, chances of families abandoning their children, or using them to earn money is increasing by the day. According to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report, “due to the pandemic, more children are being forced onto the streets to search for food and money, thus increasing their risk of exploitation.”

And more concerning are the lurking threats of the different ways in which children, in the wake of Covid-19 are being forced into sexual exploitation. For one, families in this part of the world, unable to feed “extra mouths”, often marry off their girls at an early age. Sometimes even in exchange for money. These little girls are subjected to marital rape by their husbands, and more often than not, suffer severe reproductive health damages due to the burden of early motherhood.

And if the girls are not so lucky, they are sold to traffickers by their husbands for money. Sometimes, in fact, predators marry young girls to be able to sell them for good money into sex slavery. While writing a detailed piece on this issue last year, I found that at times of desperation, the families themselves sell girls into prostitution. There have been cases where young sex workers had claimed that they had been sold to dalals by their own mothers.

Young boys face a different kind of fate. They are sent away to work in the informal sector to earn money for their families. And some of these young boys are preyed upon by predators for trafficking as slaves and sometimes into male prostitution.

According to a 2014 report by The Scelles Foundation, 42 million worldwide were involved in sex slavery. Of them, about eight million were men—it is not just women who are at the risk of being trafficked into sexual slavery. Male prostitution remains a less discussed issue, which is why when referring to sex slavery, the dialogues mostly centre around girls. But young boys do get raped and the possibility of them being forced into prostitution cannot be ignored.

And the children who have been sent out of the house to earn their living as beggars live with the constant threat of being exploited by their ring leaders. These girls and boys are not only taken advantage of by their employers but are also at times abused by the people giving them alms. I was once horrified when I saw a driver holding on to a semi-clothed girl’s hand while giving her alms. The girl—not knowing that it is not right for someone to touch her without her permission—was just happy that she got a note! Next time on the road, take a careful look, and the abuse of these children will become apparent.

But with Covid-19, you would think the demand for prostitution would have taken a hit, but you’d be wrong. The risk remains: according to Mama Fatima Singhateh, Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Covid-19 lockdown has resulted in people finding newer ways of availing prostitution services—through “delivery” or “drive-through”. According to Singhateh, people’s tendency to access illegal websites featuring child pornography has also increased— “Producing and accessing child sexual abuse material and live-stream child sexual abuse online has now become an easy alternative to groom and lure children into sexual activities and to trade images in online communities.”

A report published by the Council on Foreign Relations echoes the same fear— “While the current drop in global demand might temporarily disrupt exploitative circumstances, this effect is likely short-lived and eclipsed by increased vulnerability. Within sex trafficking, for example, the demand for commercial sex has dropped due to social distancing regulations. However, there is evidence that online sexual exploitation of children is on the rise, indicating that perpetrators are adapting in response to the environment.”

And this brings into the picture a new set of prey: children from middle-income to higher-income families who have access to the internet. These children, for whom the internet is the only means of staying connected with their friends and teachers, are at risk of being preyed upon by malicious traffickers.

And stuck at home, detached from the life they used to live, these children—according to Kazi Amdadul Hoque, Director-Strategic Planning and Head of Climate Action, Friendship, an international NGO—face a different kind of trauma. The fear of uncertainty, the fear of contagion and the depression from the lack of access to friends and outdoor activities make these children especially vulnerable to predators.

Child psychologist Tarana Anis suggests that now more than ever, parents and families have to be vigilant about the kind of online content their children are being exposed to, who their children are interacting with online, and which website they are accessing frequently. She suggests that families should engage in more shared activities and open discussions about current issues with their children.

This is certainly one way of tackling this problem. But we must keep in mind that the threat of physically trafficking children and selling them into prostitution or forced labour remains. Maybe there has been a decline in demand now, but it is only temporary. With the state’s resources already stretched fighting Covid-19, the government will find it difficult to fight off these other diseases, but this one definitely needs attention.

The government, along with bringing the poor under social safety schemes, must also mobilise the law enforcement agencies to strictly monitor the trafficking situation in the country. And families should spend more time with children and educate them about the risks that they might face online. The communities must look out for each, support each other and report suspicious activities. It is time we start looking out for ourselves, our loved ones and our communities, and report the wrongs to the concerned authorities, for the greater good of our children.

Tasneem Tayeb is a columnist for The Daily Star.
Her Twitter handle is: @TayebTasneem

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

 

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Turn off #cameras and #tracking devices in children’s #Christmas #presents to prevent #hacking, Information #Commissioner tells #parents

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Parents should turn off the cameras and automatic tracking devices in their children’s Christmas presents because of the risk of hacking, the Information Commissioners’ Office has warned.

With a rise in the number of ‘smart’ toys and devices gracing the wish list this year, parents should consider the safety of them being connected directly to the internet before giving them as gifts, according to the data regulator.

When adults are not going  to personally use cameras in toys to view what is happening remotely then they should consider turning the function off all together, Deputy Commissioner Steve Wood said.

The warning comes amid growing concerns about the ability of criminals to hack into toys containing sensors, microphones, cameras, data storage and other multi-media capabilities.

In a blog on the regulators website Mr Wood wrote: “You wouldn’t knowingly give a child a dangerous toy, so why risk buying them something that could be easily hacked into by strangers?

“In the same way that safety standards are a primary consideration for shoppers buying toys, we want those buying connected items in the coming weeks to take a pause and think about both the child’s online safety, and also the potential threat to their own personal data such as bank details, if a toy, device or a supporting app is hacked into.

“Unlike Santa, those looking to hack into your devices don’t care whether you’ve been naughty or nice.”

Parents are advised that they should ensure that they are buying products from a reputable source, that all passwords and usernames are changed from the default option and to use two-step identification where available.

Mr Wood continued: “Some toys and devices are fitted with web cameras. The ability to view footage remotely is both their biggest selling point and, if not set up correctly, potentially their biggest weakness, as the baby monitor hacking issue of a few years ago demonstrated.

“If you have no intention of viewing footage over the internet, then turn the remote viewing option off in the device’s settings, or else use strong, non-default passwords.”

He added: “One of the main selling points of children’s smart watches is the ability for parents to know where their children are at all times. However, if this isn’t done securely, then others might have access to this data as well. Immediately get rid of default location tracking and GPS settings and set strong, unique passwords.”

Parents are also advised to turn off Bluetooth or set strong passwords to protect their child’s data from hackers.

The Deputy Commissioner concluded: “If you aren’t convinced a smart toy or connected/wearable device will keep your children or your personal information safe, then don’t buy it. If consumers reject products that won’t protect them, then developers and retailers should soon get the message.”

The post Turn off #cameras and #tracking devices in children’s #Christmas #presents to prevent #hacking, Information #Commissioner tells #parents appeared first on National Cyber Security Ventures.

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ALL CHILDREN’S TO HELP DEVELOP PROGRAM FOR TREATMENT OF ABUSED CHILDREN

To Purchase This Product/Services, Go To The Store Link Above Or Go To http://www.become007.com/store/ A Sarasota foundation has earmarked a $1 million grant to fund a partnership between Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the All Star Children’s Foundation to develop a program aimed at …

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This Beautiful Children’s Book Is Exploring Queer South Asian Themes

A new picture book is creating space in the world of children’s literature for South Asian kids who don’t ascribe to traditional notions of gender expression.

The Boy & The Bindi tells the story of a young boy who becomes fascinated with his mother’s bindi ― a dot worn by South Asian women on their foreheads that has religious and marital roots, but is commonly worn as an accessory.

Author Vivek Sharya told The Huffington Post that while there is a growing market for books that feature the lives and stories of gender-creative kids, few of these cater to the experiences of brown children.

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Children’s Choir Surprises Disney Princess With Incredible A Cappella

You will rarely see a Disneyland cast member out of character. Their job is to make every park visitor’s Disney experience feel real and magical.

So when one of the park’s most beloved princesses is moved to tears by the people she’s supposed to entertain, you know it’s something special.

Enter the 45th African Children’s Choir, a singing group of underprivileged children from Uganda that tours the United States raising awareness of the problems in Africa.

During a recent trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, the choir surprised Belle with an impromptu a cappella performance at a meet and greet session.

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Hillary Clinton Declares: I Sweat the Policy Details on Education, Children’s Issues – Politics K-12 – Education Week

The Democratic presidential nominee’s Thursday speech on the night she accepted her party’s nod capped a four-day convention during which many speakers praised her work for disadvantaged children.

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Focusing on Our Children’s Emotional Intelligence

Does your young child know their colors? Can they sing the alphabet song? Can they count their toys when you line them up in a row?

But more importantly, does any of that matter?

Children are good at memorizing and mimicking whatever they hear. They will be able to sing the alphabet song if they have heard it enough times. They will be able to identify colors if quizzed on it often enough. But how often are we focusing on these “tricks” to make us feel like our children are brilliant instead of focusing on the less tangible skills that will have more of an impact on their future.

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Children’s entertainer and Cub Scout volunteer arrested for child pornography

A local entertainer and Cub Scout volunteer known as “Chex the Balloon Guy” is now facing child pornography charges.

Chex the Balloon Guy’s car is still stilling in front of his Akron apartment. He’s not home. Chex, an 80-year-old balloon artist who’s also known as Paul Schuler, is locked up. He’s accused of having hundreds of dirty pictures of children inside his home.

“You’re talking 400 pictures or paraphernalia that is child-porn related,” State Police Trooper Jim O’Callaghan said. “We never want a person like this in direct contact with children, especially when children are approaching him as a safe person.”

O’Callaghan says Chex mesmerized children with his blow up creations.

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Children’s Coalition gets help to support teen parents

The Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana on Wednesday received a $50,000 community grant from UnitedHealthcare to help support teen parents and improve pregnancy outcomes for Louisiana teens.

The grant will help improve teen pregnancy outcomes through the school site, Jus4Me, which places the evidence-based “Nurturing Skills for Teen Parents” at the heart of a weekly site-based program for pregnant teens and teen parents.

The project will serve pregnant teens in Ouachita, Union and Madison parishes, and will be located in four high schools.

UnitedHealthcare representatives gave the grant funding to the Children’s Coalition on Wednesday during a ceremony at Carroll High School.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 15 percent of Louisiana’s babies are born before term, the second-highest rate in the nation compared to the national average of 11.

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Children’s entertainer unmasked as paedophile ex-pastor who was jailed for having sex with an underage girl

A paedophile church leader was caught breaking a 10-year ban on working at children’s events – after setting himself up as a family-friendly party entertainer.

Former pastor Ceri John Rees, 35, has been working as kids’ entertainer DJ Phoenix at caravan parks despite previously being jailed for having sex with an underage girl.

Rees was sentenced to four years in prison in 2010. The then married father of three had been a pastor in Lower Cwmtwrch, in the Swansea Valley, when he carried out a string of sex assaults on a teenager.

He was convicted of 14 offences, including sexual activity with a child, making a child watch sexual activity and making and taking indecent child images after police found 187 images of the girl.

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