The National Committee for Counter-Trafficking has identified the capital and three provinces as locations where children are the most vulnerable to attacks from paedophiles entering the Kingdom as tourists.
Chou Bun Eng, an Interior Ministry secretary of state and also a NCCT vice chairwoman, yesterday urged authorities in the capital, Kampot, Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk provinces to be extra vigilant to protect children from these predators.
Speaking at a workshop on the prevention of sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism held in the capital, she noted that NCCT and other relevant partners, such as Action Pour Les Enfants, are also concerned over the exploitation of children through social media.
“We notice that the use of information technology, especially social media, is becoming more and more common and there are unscrupulous people who misuse it to commit crimes, including sexual exploitation of children, Ms Bun Eng said. “We urge service providers to monitor Internet content to protect children from being lured by paedophiles.”
She noted that to deal with the problem, the Interior Ministry has set up an anti-cybercrimes department.
Ms Bun Eng also urged parents and guardians to monitor their children’s use of the Internet to make sure they do not fall prey to predators.
She added that all relevant institutions and development partners should join the NCCT’s efforts to eliminate child exploitation.
“The National Committee for Counter-Trafficking cannot fully do this work alone, and all stakeholders must work with development partners to find ways to counter those who exploit children,” Ms Bun Eng said.
Samleang Seila, Aple executive director, said at the workshop that children and youths are increasingly using the Internet to source for information.
He said that unfortunately predators are also using the technology to distribute child pornography, harass children and lure them into child trafficking.
“If we cannot stop these activities, we will face many challenges in the future.” Mr Seila noted.
He said that a recent study found that millions of child pornography material is being distributed through the internet yearly and this shows that many vulnerable children are being exploited by predators.
“The spread of child pornography is fuelling a demand which is the main cause of child sexual exploitation.” Mr Seila noted.
He also said that child sexual exploitation in tourism has become a cause of global concern, including in Cambodia, and there are many reports of paedophiles travelling to the Kingdom to have sex with children who are not well protected by their guardians.