Friday 18 November marks the first World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence.
The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) commends the creation of the day as a significant step in addressing a horrific and growing global phenomenon that affects the world’s most vulnerable population.
“I welcome the General Assembly’s decision to create this new world day as it shines a spotlight on terrible crimes and creates opportunities for communities and governments to develop policies that promote the prosecution of perpetrators, vindicate children’s rights, and take important steps towards justice,” said Antonia Marie De Meo, Director of UNICRI.
“Beyond prevention, I am pleased that the new world day also focuses on healing so the survivors of child sexual exploitation and abuse, as well as other forms violence, can access services that will help them to recover from their traumatic experiences,” she added.
As a research and training institute for criminal justice and crime prevention, UNICRI is involved in initiatives that protect children, with particular focus on preventing online sexual exploitation and abuse. According to UNICEF, children and adolescents under 18 years account for about one in three internet users globally. This heightens children’s vulnerability to abuse as one in five girls and one in 13 boys globally are reportedly sexually exploited or abused by the age of 18, with online interactions featuring in some form in almost all cases of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
In 2020, UNICRI's Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics, with support from the Ministry of Interior of the United Arab Emirates, launched the AI for Safer Children initiative to help tackle child sexual exploitation and abuse online with the help of new technologies, specifically artificial intelligence (AI).
“The numbers we are talking about here are staggering, but sadly in a modern and connected world, the risk of children encountering a predator online is significantly elevated. This initiative helps us to use technology to curb child sexual exploitation and abuse,” said Irakli Beridze, Head of the UNICRI Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.
The ground-breaking initiative supports law enforcement agencies to tap into the potential of AI and includes the AI for Safer Children Global Hub – a unique centralized and secure platform containing extensive information on AI tools for use by law enforcement agencies. Through the Global Hub, law enforcement agencies can learn about how AI and related emerging technologies can help them investigate these crimes and how they can use them in their work in an ethical and human rights compliant manner. The Global Hub also serves as a platform for law enforcement agencies to share their own experiences in using these tools.
UNICRI is the United Nations research and training institute mandated in crime prevention and criminal justice. The Institute has been implementing projects related to AI and child protection for more than five years.
For more information, please contact: Ms. Matilda Moyo, Public Information Officer, UNICRI. Tel: +39 333 121 0235. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Ms. Marina Mazzini, Associate Public Information Officer, UNICRI. Tel: +39 338 140 2834. Email: email@example.com