Vietnamese children at risk of online sexual exploitation

By Dang Khoa   August 26, 2022 | 06:00 am PT
Vietnamese children at risk of online sexual exploitation
A girl studying online at her home in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Phan Duong
In Vietnam, 89% of children aged 12 to 17 use the internet, but only 36% are taught how to stay safe online.

Nguyen Thi Nga, deputy director of the Department of Child Affairs under the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the "Protecting and Supporting Children to Interact in a Healthy and Creative Online Environment" conference earlier this week that that research by UNICEF in collaboration with INTERPOL and ECPAT International on preventing harmful behavior in Vietnam discovered that 89% of children aged 12-17 used the internet in the three months preceding the survey.

Of them, 87% use the internet every day. Only 36%, mostly 16-17, received advice and were taught on how to stay safe online.

1% of children were persuaded to send sensitive photos and videos; 1% of children had sensitive photos shared without their consent; and 2% of children were duped into sex-related conversations.

According to Dinh Thi Nhu Hoa from the Vietnam Cybersecurity Emergency Response Teams, almost no children exploited or sexually abused online contacted the police or support hotlines, and most incidents are not reported to caregivers.

According to the National Hotline on Child Protection 111, calls for advice and support regarding cyberspace have recently increased.

In particular, there were 422 calls last year. Meanwhile the center received 268 calls in the first seven months of 2022, with three major problem groups related to counseling on child sexual abuse in the online environment (31%); problems on how to use the internet safely (31.3%); and counseling issues when children are seduced or solicited online (over 7%).

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