Protecting Children from Online Sexual Exploitation – A Guide for Religious Leaders and Communities

ECPAT International

ECPAT International: A strong moral compass: how faith-based organizations can tackle online sexual exploitation of children

HDF’s Grantee ECPAT International in partnership with UNICEF published a  new guide that aims to help religious communities worldwide harness their strengths to prevent, respond to and end online child sexual exploitation. The new Guide recognises that faith-based organisations and religious leaders are in a unique position to mobilise moral authority on this issue, influence thinking, generate debate and set standards for others to follow. They are also well-placed to take action when offenders ask for help, and to give families the advice and the tools they need to protect their children. The Guide provides the perspectives of different religions on child protection as well as the following step-by-step tips to help religious leaders and communities take action, seek justice and protect children.

  1. Create safe and child-friendly places. All places of worship and religious institutions can offer safety, help and support for children and adolescents, including those who are victims of violence, and can help to build safe and child-friendly communities.
  2. Raise awareness. People look to religious leaders for moral guidance and advice, and they can discuss these issues with their communities, using the new Guide to break taboos and start a conversation on how their faith tradition views sexual abuse and exploitation.
  3. Report abuse. Religious leaders can encourage children and community members to report any cases of exploitation and abuse, and if anyone in the community is aware of, or concerned about, dangers to children, they can contact law enforcement or a confidential helpline to speak to a specialist third party.
  4. Advocate for children. Religious leaders and faith communities can help to make the world a safer place for children and adolescents by sharing information on the risks and consequences of sexual violence and by supporting local institutions that protect the youngest citizens.
  5. Work together. Religious communities can join with others to combine their vision, resources and experience to tackle online child sexual exploitation.

To view the Guide please click on the image on the right, to view the press release click here.