The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA)’s Child Exploitation Online Protection (CEOP) Command ran a child protection workshop on 26 and 27 February which was hosted at the British School, New Delhi.
The workshop was held in collaboration with The British School and the British Council. Funded by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), this activity was designed to share knowledge and raise awareness of some of the emerging trends and key issues surrounding child protection. The project aimed to strengthen the UK’s relationship with India in mutually tackling the threat of online crime, particularly in the area of internet-enabled child sexual exploitation.
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CEOP’s child protection and education specialists delivered the course as a practical training to give participants both the background knowledge and access to resources to build into their own educational work. At the end of the training, participants came out equipped with an understanding of the context of child exploitation on and offline in India as well as to empower young people to stay safe.
Nicola Hawkins, International Partnerships Officer at NCA, conducted the workshop and said, ‘Child exploitation and abuse is an abhorrent crime which knows no borders and affects some of society’s most vulnerable people. As a command of NCA, we work to bring UK offenders to account, and also, through activity such as these workshops, are focused on helping more children and young people to stay safe online. We are very happy to have partnered with The British School to deliver training to over 100 teachers, NGOs and educators, who in turn pass on our abuse-prevention messages to young people across India.’
Vanita Uppal OBE, Secondary School Principal, The British School, said, ‘As adults and educators our focus is to keep our students safe from physical hazards, emotional trauma and in today’s world, more than ever before, from online and cyber abuse. It is a moral imperative for us to equip teachers and carers with strategies and information to play an active role in protecting children from abuse. Students need to be made aware about digital literacy and citizenship so that they use technology responsibly and remain safe from online manipulation and exploitation. CEOP provided us with the much needed opportunity to establish an inspirational and invigorating partnership with them towards creating safe environments for our children and making them responsible users of technology.’
At the opening of the event, Julian Evans, British Deputy High Commissioner to India, said, ‘Developments in technology have brought the world closer together and connected us in ways which we may never have imagined ten or even five years ago. Today, the internet is being used for good through the opportunities it provides young people, not least within the education sector, but it also carries many risks. The issue of exploitation over the internet is a growing threat to our children – in India, in the UK and across the world. None of us can fight this crime alone; we need to join together, as partners and advocates of child protection, and take a stand.’