Drive to end child sexual crimes gets global nod


Good job: (From left) Unicef Malaysia representative Marianne Clark-Hattingh, Digi’s principal of communication and sustainability Philip Ling, MCMC director of advocacy development Elvira Shamsuddin and R.AGE deputy executive editor and producer Ian Yee at a Unicef townhall to launch the report in Petaling Jaya.

PETALING JAYA: The story of Malaysia’s war against child sexual crimes has gained worldwide recognition, thanks to a global report by Unicef.

Its annual State of the World’s Children (SOWC) flagship report highlighted R.AGE’s Predator In My Phone campaign and the Government passing new laws against child sexual crimes last year.

The Sexual Offences Against Children Act (SOAC) 2017 was passed after a taskforce led by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said brought various stakeholders together to tackle child sexual crimes.

“It’s not common to see government agencies, NGOs, celebrities and the media coming together for the same goal, but we saw that in Malaysia last year,” said Unicef Malaysia chief of communications Laurent Duvillier.

“It was an amazing experience and we hope other countries can learn from it.”

The 2017 SOWC report explores how digital technology is affecting children’s lives and life chances.

“For better or for worse, digital technology is now an irreversible fact of our lives,” Unicef executive director Anthony Lake said in a statement.

“In a digital world, our dual challenge is how to mitigate the harms while maximising the benefits of the Internet for every child.”

The report was released globally alongside a highlight video on the Predator In My Phone investigative documentary series on child sex groomers.

The video (uploaded to Unicef’s global social media accounts) went viral, with over 1.7 million views on Facebook, 3,200 retweets on Twitter, and many positive comments from users around the world.

One Facebook user wrote: “This law (SOAC 2017) should be implemented all throughout the world. Thank you Unicef.”

Another Facebook user added: “Well done R.AGE! Especially with the advancements of IT and electronic gadgets amongst kids these days, kids need to be protected against horrible predators like this!”

Aside from Malaysia, this year’s SOWC features case studies from three other countries. It has been translated into multiple languages and disseminated around the world.

“(Malaysia’s inclusion) is an acknowledgement of the progress made by Malaysia to protect children online.

“We hope it can show all other countries looking for innovative experiences how we can achieve legislative changes through campaigning,” added Duvillier.

To read Unicef’s State of the World’s Children 2017 report, go to www.unicef.org/sowc2017.

To watch R.AGE Predator In My Phone undercover documentary series, go to www.predator.my.

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