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Children on smartphones vulnerable to exploitation

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Officials are concerned that smartphones can be gateways to exploitation. Heng Chivoan

Children on smartphones vulnerable to exploitation

The Cambodia National Council for Children (CNCC) has found that some children in Cambodia who use smartphones are vulnerable to online sexual exploitation (OCSE) through websites, social media platforms and apps.

Nhep Sopheap, the head of the CNCC General Secretariat, told The Post on Sunday that OCSE is a global issue that has different forms. It is a new concern that require the public, guardians, authorities and civil society organisations to solve.

Children victimised by sexual exploitation suffer physically and mentally. Most of them develop trust issues, hopelessness and depression, have anxiety issues and blame themselves for everything.

Sopheap said: “OCSE is a new concern which has different pictures that we are not able to foresee due to evolution of technology.”

The CNCC is concerned about this issue and is encouraging all ministries, civil society, and relevant parties to take part in protecting children by preventing OCSE, which Cambodian children faced in the past. The Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Cyber Crime Department is taking measures to prevent the issue, Sopheap said.

In Cambodia, OCSE has occurred, which is a great concern that requires immediate attention before the situation worsens, according to a joint press release published on August 15.

Project coordinator for Terre des Hommes Netherlands (TdH Netherlands) Country Office in Cambodia Men Vannavy said a preliminary situation analysis is being undertaken to stop OCSE.

According to the analysis, 80 per cent of almost 1,000 Cambodian children on smartphones surveyed said they do not feel completely safe on the internet.

“The effort for the last few years did pay off and it must be continued to respond and prevent this issue in Cambodia,” Vannnavy said.

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