THE AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN AGAINST ONLINE CHILDREN SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE IN AFRICA (OCSEA:2020 – 2025
BACKGROUND AND RATIONAL FOR THE STRATEGY
Guided by Agenda 2063, the Africa Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) child under article 27 which protects children from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse and requires states to protect children from all forms of sexual abuse and put measures in place to end OCSEA and has basic principles of CRC articles 34 & 36.
The strategy is validated by the rapid Expansion of internet connectivity and use in Africa with half of the world’s entire population using the internet while by December 2018 in Africa , 24.4% of the population was using the Internet as of December 2018 compared to 2.1% in 2005. In addition a combination of factors has necessitated the need for a protective online strategy for children including : the rapidly increasing connectivity, limited regulation, COVID-19, limited awareness, and poverty together hold the potential for an explosive growth in OCSEA , lack of scientific evidence documenting OCSEA’s actual prevalence
- Seeks to build an Africa where children benefit fully of rights and welfare to make contribution to a peaceful and prosperous Africa.
- Promote and protect the rights and welfare of the child in a safe and secure online space for learning
- Inform child friendly laws, policies and practices, with children and parents empowered to keep governments accountable.
- To generate evidence to guide advocacy and programmatic response and Increase continental awareness, political support and investments to end OCSEA;
- Strengthen institutional frameworks and monitoring and accountability mechanisms
- Enhance Continental guidelines and technical assistance to catalyze policy, programmatic and advocacy actions
- Develop a stronger network and multi sectoral partnerships between the education sector and the ICT industry.
- A supportive reporting environment supported by research, monitoring and evaluation of programs on ending OCSEA;
- AU Member States implement coordinated cross-sectoral efforts backed by High level political commitment, Comprehensive legal, policy and programmatic frameworks to end OCSEA
- Engaged Media and enhance their involvement in raising awareness to the public and policy makers;
- Enhanced capacity of justice system for law enforcement and judicial officers to perform effective investigations, convictions and offender management;
- Victims of OCSEA are provided with integrated end-to-end services to help recover and cope with the immediate and long-term impact of the effects of the abuse;
- Engaged industry in developing and implementing solutions to prevent and tackle OCSEA.
- Programming reinforced to promote Reporting Hotline, Education programmes, Child Participation, Offender Support System and community involvement
- The Programmatic response builds on lessons as a result of the 2020, a 2 years program implementation funded by the UK Government grant;
- And is informed by the Model National Response (MNR) as the benchmark for accomplishments;
- In recognition that all capabilities can and need to complement each other and that Member States (MS) are at different levels of implementation;
- In consideration that all the capabilities are interlinked providing a better impact with collective actions from each capability.
Model National Response intends to help a country to:
- Evaluate its current response to Ending OCSEA and identify gaps;
- Ensure National Response Priorities Effort fil in the gaps;
- Enhance international cooperation.
Policy & Governance:
- Highest national commitment to prevention and response against OCSEA and R-Establishment of in country task force and focal person under the relevant ministry;
- Streamline report, online data repository, Management System reports, factual standpoint, use of the facts for advocacy, knowledge on model law, best practices
- Encourage ratification of the international treaties on child safety, the Malabo Convention and Enhance sectoral national laws to complement OCSEA laws;
- Strengthen capacity of the dedicated units to deal with ending OCSEA or Cybercrime, international organizations such as INTERPOL;
- Advocate for establishment of processes for an Africa of good governance, human rights, justice and the rule of law and enhance the quality of justice;
- Strengthen capacity for child sensitive and child involvement in proceedings;
- Build up the Database system for identification of victims and offenders, Signing INTERPOL International Child Sexual Exploitation database with Member States.
- Build capacities to provide integrated services, psychological rehabilitation, how to manage online abuse for child victim and promote effectiveness in investigations and prosecutions;
- Raise awareness on existence of operational helplines for access and use by children to report cases
- seeks to leverage the society efforts in preventing online child sexual exploitation and abuse;
- Guidelines & legislation that explicitly mandates internet service providers (ISPs) to mandatory reporting of child pornography and abuse materials to law enforcement;
- Mobilize Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to be part of the task force and decision makers; and encourage ratification of the Malabo convention;
- Mainstreaming of child safety into corporate policies, procedures of Internet Service Providers and promote Innovative solutions;
Media and Communication
- Increase awareness amongst the public, professionals and policy makers on issues related to OSCEA.
- Build Capacity of Media for ethical reporting on crimes against children and promote sensitive reporting that ensures victim’s dignity and rights.
THE WAY FORWARD
IMPLEMENTATION, MONITORING, EVALUATION FRAMEWORK
- Accelerate actions in addressing OCSEA focusing on prevention, protection and prosecution.
- Enhance capacity of regional and national institutions to implement Policies, laws and programs to end OCSEA.
- Leverage Political will and commitment for Adequate budgetary allocation; Effective programmatic frameworks; National data and Cross border coordination on ending OCSEA.
- Active participation of internet providers in ending OCSEA; developments of tools/solutions that can block and take down Child Sexual Abuse Materials (CSAM).
- Establish continental knowledge management hub on laws, policies, good practices and research and working networks with international organizations on Ending OCSEA.
STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP AND RESOURCE MOBILIZATION
- Strengthening existing partnerships and build new strategic partnerships to expand and widen the resource base in support continuity of ending OCSEA work in Africa.