National Conference on Child Protection 2022

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The Child Protection National Conference was held on 18-19 May 2022 as the culmination of the Down to Zero: Building Back Better program. In this activity initiated by ECPAT Indonesia collaborates with many organizations that concern with the issue of protecting children from exploitation (such as The Study Center and Child Protection (PKPA), JARAK Foundation, Compassion-First, Center for International Law Studies of University Indonesia, and other organizations) to strengthen the advocacy and lobby impact towards the government to eliminate the child exploitation issue in Indonesia.

This activity was also followed by a series of events such as a call for papers which produced 8 scientific journals and 31 papers that were published as national proceedings, capturing 3 main clusters of issues, namely sexual exploitation of children, online child exploitation, and economic exploitation of children. In addition, children and young people are also actively involved in providing recommendations to the government through child and youth consultations activity.

This conference resulted in several recommendations from 28 Panelists and approximately 200 participants. The panelists consisted of various elements, from the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture, Cybercrime Police Headquarters, Academics from several National Universities in Indonesia, the private sector related to digital such as Meta, and representatives of start-ups, Association of Indonesian Internet Service Providers (APPJI), representatives from children and young people and local to national NGO representatives who are concerned with the issue of child protection.

Some conclusions obtained from this conference are that 79% of children use gadgets for purposes other than education during the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a change in behavior in adolescents during this Covid-19 Pandemic. It was found that some of the pornography WhatsApp Group (WAG) fillers were teenagers with an age range of 12-19 years. This means that teenagers who are members of WAG Pornography are of school age and they enter WAG consciously. The more time teenagers spend staying involved in WAG Pornography, the more likely they are to become cyber victims or perpetrators.

The data on sexual violence that occurred in Islamic boarding schools is quite large, this was revealed by one of the speakers, in 2021. Of the 175 respondents, it turned out that 58.9% had experienced violence during their stay at the boarding school. During the pandemic period, the number of sexual violence was quite increased with a fairly wide area distribution.

In addition to the findings of the data on cases of child sexual exploitation above, it turns out that there are interesting findings from the results of the exposure of the Head of Technical Implementation Unit of the Integrated Service Center for the Empowerment of Women and Children DKI Jakarta. Before the pandemic, a lot of sexual exploitation was carried out in apartments, and at the beginning of 2020 before entering the pandemic they moved to cafes, hotels, and SPAs, but after entering the Covid-19 pandemic they moved to boarding houses because of the movement restriction and social distancing policy issued by the government, however, when the Covid-19 pandemic began to subside in 2021, they returned to apartments, hotels and some of them remained in boarding houses.

The key recommendations for the government produced at this conference include:

  • Collaboration is needed between all parties including the private sector to protect children at the village level
  • Encouraging Internet providers and social media platforms to strengthen their security systems in order to protect children in the digital world
  • The importance of research related to crime modes in the online realm for improving child protection policies in the online realm
  • Strict law enforcement for perpetrators of child grooming as a form of prevention of sexual exploitation of children
  • The need to strengthen preventive efforts at the grassroots (family), including through the use of parental control applications and counseling. These applications need to be able to facilitate parents to understand the language used by children in communication on social media.
  • Tourism companies need to actively contribute to child protection in tourism.
  • The interests of children and their rights must remain a priority for parents in the case of child influencers.

Writer: Esti Damayanti

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