Save the Children Denmark

Tackling Online Sexual Exploitation through a National Action Plan

In Sri Lanka, Internet connectivity has skyrocketed: over the past 10 years, the country has seen a 600 per cent increase in connections, representing more than 25 million mobile phones. Though rates of online child sexual exploitation and abuse have increased, Sri Lanka’s ability to handle the issue is limited.

To mitigate this problem, since March 2018, the Fund has supported Save the Children Denmark’s program to enhance national prevention and response mechanisms. The organisation is working with the Government of Sri Lanka to create a fully costed National Action Plan, the aim of which is to bring down rates of child sexual exploitation and abuse, prosecute perpetrators of such violence, and restore the rights of child victims. The programme is also strengthening and improving the national helpline facility and establishing a cybercrime unit at the National Child Protection Authority. As part of this work, the agency is developing a Victim Support Service that is linked to the helpline. This service provides psychosocial support to those affected and helps coordinate legal and law enforcement agencies. It also strengthens follow-up services for children and their families.

In addition, the program is working at the local level as well as the national one: through Fund support, Save the Children in creating a school-based Internet safety awareness program. By incorporating this program into the national education curricula (and developing relevant instructional materials), the organisation is ensuring that children in Sri Lanka have the information they need to protect themselves from online sexual exploitation and abuse.