Internet fueling child abuse: Police 

Source: Internet fueling child abuse: Police –Newsday Zimbabwe

Police Commissioner Godwin Matanga

POLICE Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga has lamented the increase in child abuse cases, saying this can be attributed to the internet, which gives cyber criminals added sophistry to commit “wicked crimes” against children.

Speaking at the official opening of the Victim Identification Task Force Africa event in Harare yesterday, Matanga said training of the police force was vital in the face of various forms of abuse of children as cyberspace has added to their vulnerability.

“Crimes of child abuse and exploitation have grown at a rapid pace owing to the utility of the internet which has also made them transnational. Given this challenge, an internationally co-ordinated and targeted training has become essential as it enhances the law enforcement capabilities in different jurisdictions to deal with the despicable phenomenon,” Matanga said.

He said victim vulnerability training programmes were bound to enable collaboration between different police services across the region and globally, thereby giving impetus to efforts to thwart crime.

“It is disheartening to note that criminals have chosen to take advantage of our children’s presence on the internet to prey on them when such presence online has become a necessity. While the cyberspace has given criminals added sophistry, this training programme seeks to derive maximum utility on the same tools to curtail the wicked malady of crimes against children. The use of the International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) database that is going to be covered by this training will make our efforts as law enforcement agents efficient, and able to match the criminals’ sophistication,” he said.

Of late, Zimbabwe has been experiencing an upsurge in cases of child rape, as well as drug and substance abuse by young people, among other ills.

Matanga said law enforcement agents should be capacitated to deal with one of the most sophisticated crimes — cybercrime.

The End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) organisation results of extensive research conducted by ECPAT International, Interpol and Unicef Innocenti across southeast Asia and southern and eastern Africa reveal that between 1% and 20% of children were subjected to online child sexual exploitation and abuse in the past year.