KUALA LUMPUR: Over 600 sexual crimes against children below 18 were linked to interactions on social media and messaging apps, the Parliament was told.
"Based on the Sexual, Women and Child Investigation Division in Bukit Aman, as of Sept 18 this year, a total of 354 sexual crimes involving children below 18 were related to the use of the popular messaging app, WhatsApp.
"Another 322 cases were said to be linked to the use of social media platforms," Datuk Seri Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong) said in Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (Oct 5).
He noted that police records showed that some 30% out of 1,160 sexual crimes in 2017 were linked to the use of social media and messaging apps.
Shamsul said this when raising a question on sexual exploitation of children in cyberspace through online apps.
In response, Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Datuk Siti Zailah Yusof said that various campaigns and awareness programmes were implemented to educate children and the community on the possible dangers of online sexual crimes.
"Apart from such programmes, the police and the Multimedia and Communications Commission (MCMC) have blocked access to some 400 paedophile and child pornography websites as of August this year," she added.
She added that another initiative was the Campaign Against Online Sexual Crimes Towards Children, which was launched on Sept 4 this year.
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She said the campaign was held at the ministry's headquarters in Putrajaya, Selangor, Melaka, Kelantan and Kedah, which saw some 2,500 participants attending.
Siti Zailah noted that sexual crimes against children was a serious issue which required attention by all parties.
She said that the responsibility to protect children should not solely be on the shoulders of her ministries and related agencies.
"This responsibility should begin at home with the parents and community," she added.