NCRC holds consultative meeting on Child Online Protection

Child Abuse, Violence, Danger, Internet, Problems

By Ali Imran

ISLAMABAD: A consultative meeting was convened by the National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC) here on Friday to share the findings, analysis and recommendations of the policy brief on Child Online Protection in Pakistan.
The meeting was presided over by NCRC Chairperson Afshan Tehseen and the key speakers were Cyber Crime Wing Director Imran Mehboob, Additional Secretary Ministry of IT & Telecommunication Babar Sohail, and UNICEF Chief Child Protection Daniela Luciani.
Afshan Tehseen shared that the Policy Brief on Child Online Protection aims to develop a better understanding of the risks and threats to children and to highlight the key challenges in protecting children in a rapidly changing digital landscape.
It identifies the role of stakeholders and provides guidance to policymakers, governments including law enforcement agencies, businesses, civil society organizations and parents to create a safer world for our children, she added.
According to the Policy Brief, a total of 187 complaints were reported to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and a total of 65 FIRs were registered and 69 accused were arrested. However, NCMEC CyberTipline reported a total of over 2 million cases of child sexual abuse material from Pakistan and forwarded it to FIA to respond under Pakistani law. The Policy Brief notes that awareness of Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse remains low among key stakeholders in Pakistan.
Cyber Crime Director Imran Mehboob shared that Unit Counter on Online Child Abuse is a reporting center set up by CCW as a specialized and dedicated unit to combat online child abuse. UNOCA has designated focal persons in all 15 Cyber Crime Reporting Centers, he said, adding that the FIA is overburdened with the ever-increasing number of cases, and the Cyber Crime Wing needs budgetary support.
Bahar Suhail congratulated NCRC for producing a very comprehensive Policy Brief on Child Online Protection. “It is a challenging issue for the Government of Pakistan and there is a need for stakeholders to work together and engage in collaboration. This may involve sharing information and best practices, conducting research to better understand the problem, and developing and implementing effective solutions.”
Daniela Luciani said: “Excessive use of technology is bad for our physical, social and mental well-being. Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (OCSEA) refers to a variety of sexually exploitative and harmful behaviours that take place or are facilitated online and through the use of information technologies.
This is also due to a lack of knowledge of the subject matter. It is with great pleasure that the National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC) with the technical support of UNICEF presents Policy Brief on Child Online Protection.”

The consultation was well attended by representatives of FIA, the Ministry of Human Rights, UN Agencies, local NGOs, the Child Rights Movement, academia, and media.