Children victimized by online sex abuse: police

By Hong Chieu   May 25, 2023 | 06:31 am PT
Children victimized by online sex abuse: police
A girl attends an online class on her laptop in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy
Of 135 cases of online child abuse handled by police in the first quarter of this year, 116 were related to sexual harassment.

In such cases, most of the predators involved either showed children pornographic videos and/or asked the children to have sex with them, said Lieutenant Le Nhat Thinh from the Ministry of Public Security’s Department of Cybersecurity and High-Tech Crime Prevention.

In the first three months of the year, the department blocked around 10,000 websites providing "toxic" content, Thinh said at a Hanoi conference on digital threats to children Wednesday.

He said recent statistics revealed that sexual harassment has always been the biggest online threat to children.

The second biggest risk of online child abuse came in the form of bullying, while the third largest problem was the enticement of children to commit crimes. Number four was the dissemination of "toxic content to minors."

Thinh said one of the reasons for the issues is that children in Vietnam are generally allowed to use the Internet at an early age.

Citing a Google survey conducted last year, the lieutenant said that the average Vietnamese child starts using a smartphone when they are nine years old, which is four-six years earlier than the global average.

Lesley Miller, Deputy Representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Vietnam, told the conference that Vietnam should consider adjusting its Criminal Code to compensate for new digital crimes not covered by old regulations. She said some recent cases of violence and abuse had not been regulated by current Vietnamese law.

Miller suggested that the government could allow private companies to work together with authorities to screen and block online content related to child abuse.

A report published by the UNICEF last August revealed that among 994 children surveyed (aged 12-17), 23% said they had accidentally seen sexual content in the form of online videos or photos within the past year.

The survey found that most children who had been sexually harassed online did not tell their parents or guardians because they "thought it would not help and worried about consequences."

Tran Dang Khoa, Deputy Director of the Authority of Information Security under the Ministry of Information and Communications, told an event held in Hanoi in March that out of Vietnam's 24.7 million children, or 25% of the total population, two thirds online.

go to top