In the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic the internet has seen a surge in use. Online pedophila has also increased dramatically with illegal images and videos of children being shared at an alarming rate. In Thailand, a nationwide cyber sting operated by the Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force seized 150,000 abusive files and rescued 100 children in just two months, a figure twice as high as the total for 2018. During an interview with TV channel CGTN Police Lieutenant Jaruvat Vaisayai remarked that “With the [Covid-19] lockdown the number of child abuse cases just shot up.”
These predatory attacks are psychology damaging to children, who may be ‘groomed’ by online offenders for a period of time before committing a sexual offence. Even if no physical crime takes place, emotional abuse is still suffered by child victims who may be humiliated and blackmailed. It is also a disturbing reality that online abuse can happen in the house without the parents being aware.
Director of Childline Thailand, Ilya Smirnoff is gravely concerned about this trend and the challenges of preventing it “Technology is always one step ahead and the perpetrators learn and adopt the technology much faster than law enforcement”
Since 2004, Interpol reported a 10,000% increase in sexually exploitative material and with a spike caused by the pandemic this is an issue that must be urgently addressed. Childline are advocating for policy change to protect children and legalisation is currently being drafted to criminalise the grooming of children in Thailand.
If you are aware of any child being sexually exploited in Thailand, please act now and email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1387. We rely on donations to offer counselling and support to child victims of online abuse, please help by contributing to our cause