Global Child Forum was recently in Johannesburg, South Africa as co-organiser of the business conference: “Building Partnerships for the Protection of Children.” Global Child Forum’s Jenny Fredby sat down with one of the conference speakers, Björn Sellström, Coordinator for Crimes Against Children team from Interpol, to find out more about Interpol’s fight against commercial sexual exploitation of children and what the corporate sector can do.
Q: What role do you see for the corporate sector in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation of children?
A: Although the issue is a concern to all parts of society, the business community has a special role, due to its power and ability to create long-lasting impact through its operations and ways of working. There are a number of concrete actions all companies can take. One such thing is to monitor employee’s usage of internet on corporate computers and within corporate intranets. About 1 in 1,000 employees use the office computer to access child abuse material.
In regards to sectors, the financial sector has the opportunity to create financial coalitions to track and end payment streams related to these crimes. The ICT industry has the possibility to limit the access to abuse materials online by blocking sites and taking content down, and with increased interaction with judicial systems.
Q: How do you hope companies act following the conference in Johannesburg?
A: Constituting a strong business community with wide reach, South African companies have the opportunity to pave the way in the region and inspire others to commit to end commercial sexual exploitation of children by showcasing best practice and concrete actions. By initiating cross sectoral working groups and involving stakeholders such as academia, civil society and state, the corporate sector has an opportunity to share and gain knowledge and expertise in order to fight this issue.
Q: Why is this issue of concern in the Southern Africa region?
A: It is certainly of concern in all parts of the world, but the ongoing and rapid development of the digital infrastructure in African countries creates new avenues and ways to access abuse material on children. By taking action against commercial sexual exploitation of children already now, the region can be better prepared to meet the challenges that comes with a more widespread internet usage, and be ahead of the curve of crime.
Under the theme Children’s Rights within the Corporate Sustainability Agenda, the Global Child Forum on South Africa gathered the 300 important and influential international decision makers from businesses, governments, civil society and academia for dialogue and thought leadership on the legal, moral and business case for investing in coming generations. The purpose was to work and collaborate for a better future for the world´s children. A special focus was on the benefits and values of cross sector partnerships between businesses, governments, civil society and academia. The Forum, with more than 30 prominent speakers and under the patronage and active participation of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden, showcased practical examples and created action-oriented tools for cross sectorial partnerships.
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In an effort to provide insights and guidance on how businesses protect – or fall short in protecting – children’s rights in South Africa, this report draws on one of Global Child Forum’s essential research products ‘The corporate sector and children’s rights benchmark’. More specifically, insights are provided across three areas where the corporate sector impacts children’s rights: The Workplace, The Marketplace, The Community and the Environment. In 2015, Global Child Forum, in partnership with Boston Consulting Group, published a benchmark study of the 271 largest companies in the region. This report is a follow-up to that study. An updated benchmark analysis has been conducted on 20 of the region’s largest companies.
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