Hun Kosny, vice-chair of the Kandal provincial branch of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking, condemned all forms of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

She stressed that these activities negatively impact children’s development, social morals, dignity and the future development of Cambodia’s human resources.

She delivered her remarks during the commencement ceremony of a training programme focused on support services for survivors of sexual abuse.

Approximately 56 frontline social affairs officials from the province participated in the training, which took place on September 27. The event was a collaborative effort between the provincial authorities and child protection NGO APLE.

The goal of the training was to equip officials with knowledge that would enable them to raise awareness about child protection among local residents.

According to the administration, this initiative aimed to enhance understanding and vigilance at the community level.

Kosny, also a provincial deputy governor, said online sexual exploitation of children is a global issue with severe consequences, impacting not only the victims’ entire lives but also society as a whole.

“This training plays a pivotal role in enhancing awareness regarding the risks faced by children, including online sexual exploitation and abuse,” she said.

“It is imperative that the attendees make the best use of their new knowledge to share it effectively and responsibly with children and in their local communities,” she added.

She stressed that women and children must remain a top priority for the provincial child protection team. Despite improvements in protection in recent years, some children still face challenges.

She underscored the need for collective efforts to promote awareness, prevent and respond to all forms of online abuse and exploitation of children.

A September 2022 report funded by the UN’s End Violence against Children initiative titled “Disrupting Harm in Cambodia” highlighted that 16 per cent of children are exposed to sexually explicit comments, primarily on social media, with another 16 per cent exposed to sexually suggestive messages. Additionally, nine per cent receive requests to share child pornography.

On September 28, Kandal provincial authorities also ran a workshop which educated over 300 students in Koh Thom district’s Prek Thmey commune on laws related to the suppression of human trafficking, sexual exploitation, prevention of domestic violence, protection of victims and the risks associated with migration.