‘Hands off our children’

2010-06-04 14:48

The Film and Publication Board (FPB) has established a hotline for

reporting sexual abuse of children during the Fifa World Cup.

“We believe the 2010 Fifa World Cup, as with the event in Germany

in 2006, will create conditions that provide opportunities for abusers,

exploiters, traffickers, collectors of child pornography and paedophiles to

abuse children,” FPB head Yoliswa Makhasi warned.

A survey by the FPB’s research unit last year found that almost

half of a sample of football fans polled during the Fifa Confederations Cup last

year agreed that some foreign visitors to South Africa during the World Cup

might exploit children.

“The risk of exposure to pornography and of children being lured

away with a promise of meeting their football heroes, only to be abused, is

real. Children and their guardians need to know this,” said Makhasi.

The FPB is intensifying its efforts to combat child pornography and

warn people of the likely increase in sexual exploitation of children over the

next few weeks.

Its latest campaign to protect South Africa’s children will be

kicked off in Soweto tomorrow by Home Affairs Deputy Minister Malusi Gigaba.

The event will be attended by 1 500 high school pupils who will be

educated about child pornography and abuse.

The campaign, which will continue after the World Cup has ended,

also aims to promote responsible cellphone and internet use by children.

A recent FPB investigation into non-contact sexual abuse of

children (10-15 years) via the internet and cellphones found that 22% of

children had viewed internet sexual content or nudity that had upset them or

made them feel uncomfortable.

A further 14% had been exposed to upsetting content in a “chat

room”.

“This was mostly girls taking part in chat-room discussions during

which unwanted approaches of a sexual nature were made,” Makhasi said.

Anecdotal evidence furthermore indicated an increase in the

incidence of children being abused or lured away by criminals using social-media

platforms such as Facebook.

The study found that 12% had seen distressing content of a sexual

nature on a cellphone.

The FPB campaign encouraged responsible behaviour and vigilance

among children, parents and care-givers to protect children from harmful

materials and possible abuse, Makhasi said.

Anyone wishing to report cases of abuse and/or child pornography

should contact 0800-148-148.

Information is also available at www.fpbprochild.org.za


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