Psychologist about how to recognize a sexually exploited child

If the child starts to keep secret what he/she does online, aims to be online all the time or is furious if his/her access to the Internet is banned, a parent should be concerned. Such behavior can be a sign that the child is the victim of online sexual exploitation. The parent should be concerned when the child is phoned by unknown persons and makes phone calls to unfamiliar persons, when this received presents, messages from individuals, when they distance themselves from the family and parents or turn off the computer when a grownup enters the room, psychologist Tatiana Buyanina warned in the “Anti-Trafficking Hackathon” organized by NIKA Generation and “Yep!Moldova” in partnership with the OSCE Mission to Moldova, IPN reports.

The expert also enumerated the risky online behaviors, such as posting of personal information, interaction with strangers, acceptance of unknowns into the list of friends, visiting of banned websites and discussions about sex with foreigners.

As to how the abusers look and who they are, Tatiana Buyanina said the online abuser has a social life, is well integrated, is usually neat, is a law abiding citizen. This is aged 22 to 35, primarily male, and uses the social position to eliminate any suspicions. This can obtain high-ranking posts in society. While working, the person follows the children and often becomes involved in occupations that imply interaction with children.

Ana Revenco, head of the International Center “La Strada”, presented two cases of sexual exploitation of children of the tens of cases that were dealt with by the Center’s team during the past 12 months. In the first case, a girl who hasn’t yet turned 15 got acquainted on Facebook with a boy who hasn’t turned 18. After two weeks of active communication, they exchanged pictures. Later, he asked her to send photos of her partially naked and she did this. Later the boy insisted to communicate through video, but the girl refused and was threatened that her photos would be sent to her friends. She was told that if she wanted to be left alone, she must have sex with him. To avoid this, the girl accepted a live session and then the second. Pressed by the situation, the girl wrote to a consultant of the Center and accepted assistance.

In another case, a girl aged 8 was told by her father that they will have a special, secret game and he will teach her how to grow up a beautiful and wanted woman. The sexual activity continued up to the age of 13 when the father got angry because she went on a date with a boy. The girl started to put herself questions. In a year, her father was arrested for making and distributing child pornography.

Artur Degtearyov, head of Section No. 3 of the Cybercrime Division of the National Investigation Inspectorate, said there are three tendencies in child pornography and child sexual exploitation online. The minors are lured for sexual purposes, especially through social networking sites and chat applications. The abusers become friends with children in order to obtain videos with them or face-to-face meetings. Sexual harassment online is another tendency. The offenders obtain photos or videos with the minor victims by manipulation and then force them to
become involved in actions of a sexual character. The last tendency is the spread of child pornography through social networking sites and file sharing networks. The child should be taught about online safety and solutions should be found for safe navigation of websites intended for children and for parental control.

“Anti-Trafficking Hackathon” has been staged by NIKA Generation and “Yep!Moldova”, in partnership with the OSCE Mission to Moldova, on November 6-8, 2020. This is a regional premiere aimed at providing innovatory instruments for preventing and fighting child sexual exploitation. Those interested can take part in the final session to present developed solutions on November 8, starting at 3pm.

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