Tag Archives: Sex Crimes

An Australian coronavirus outbreak raises concerns over online child sex abuse | Instant News


KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Australian police on Tuesday warned of “bad” online predators targeting new child victims after a surge in corona virus infection that put the country’s second largest city under partial locking.

The Australian health authority said it would take weeks to tame the COVID-19 outbreak after hundreds of new cases were reported in the state of Victoria, whose capital Melbourne was partially locked.

The steps encourage Australian federal police to urge parents to ensure their children are not victims of “dangerous online predators”, after cases of abuse surged during national lockdown in March.

Traffic to websites containing online child sexual abuse content skyrocketed during previous lockouts and such material posted on the dark web doubled, police said.

“We suspect that the perpetrators will use the second wave of COVID-19 as an opportunity to find more potential child victims, because young people spend more time online with limited adult supervision,” said police commander Jamie Strauss.

“Our message to online criminals has not changed – if you obtain, access and send child abuse material, you will be found, arrested and prosecuted,” he added in a statement.

From Europe to Asia, cases of child sexual abuse online have surged during coronavirus locking because children spend more time online, making them more vulnerable to abusers.

In Australia, child exploitation has increased in recent years. Nearly 22,000 cases were reported between July 2019 and June 2020, up nearly 50% from last year, official figures show.

“Sex offenders are always online, that’s their playground,” said Karen Flanagan, head of Australian child protection at the charity Save the Children.

“But COVID-19 might give them access to new groups of children who previously did not spend much time online,” he said last week, urging more parental supervision.

State authorities in Victoria reported on Tuesday 374 new COVID-19 cases, up from 275 on Monday, reducing hopes of slowing infection two weeks after nearly 5 million people were told to stay at home except for important reasons.

Australia has recorded around 12,000 cases of the corona virus and more than 125 deaths.

Reporting by Beh Lih Yi @behlihyi; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Thomson Reuters charity branch, which covers the lives of people throughout the world who are struggling to live free or just. Visit http://news.trust.org

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Britain has 100,000 modern slaves but most are undetected, the study said | Instant News


LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Britain is home to at least 100,000 modern slaves according to a new study, 10 times more than the official estimate, because activists warn 90% of victims may be undetected.

Anti-slavery charities, Justice and Care, and the think tank Center for Social Justice say the actual number could be higher, and warned that a coronavirus pandemic is likely to push more people into forced labor in car washes and brothels.

The study came after media reports and campaigners that online fashion supplier Boohoo was a supplier of low-paid garment workers in Leicester, central England, and failed to protect them from COVID-19. Boohoo said last week he was investigating.

Justice and Care said political leadership to tackle modern slavery had diminished in recent years, and that the 2015 anti-slavery law might have created a “false sense of security”.

“While Britain has made progress in combating modern slavery, the Modern Slavery Act is no exception five years ago, so much work is needed to combat this problem,” the charity’s chief executive, Christian Guy, said in a statement.

The first law in the world has been reviewed after being criticized that it was not used fully to imprison human smugglers, encourage companies to handle forced labor, or help enough victims.

“Ninety percent of the victims may go undetected and thousands of traffickers are rioting,” Guy added.

A record 10,627 of alleged victims were identified last year in the UK – up 52% ​​from 2018. Most were victims of labor abuse and many came from countries such as Albania, Nigeria and Vietnam.

GOVERNMENT ‘JUST STARTED’

The British interior minister (home minister) Priti Patel said his department would closely watch the report’s findings.

“While the Modern Slavery Act is a breakthrough in dealing with this heinous crime, we have only just begun in the struggle to get rid of this crime from Britain,” Patel said.

Government research in 2018 said the crime brought Britain back to 4.3 billion pounds ($ 5.6 billion) per year, based on previous estimates of 10,000 – 13,000 slaves living in the country.

Charities and think tanks say the government needs to update its estimates, and the costs of crime, to taxpayers.

The study reached an estimated 100,000 by taking police statistics from one area of ​​the UK – West Midlands – which estimated the number of victims locally using a new artificial intelligence model, and extrapolated the data nationally.

Academics at the University of Nottingham’s Rights Laboratory, the world’s first large-scale research platform on slavery, said the research offered “a very interesting and new way” to measure problems.

“It is very difficult to estimate the size of the hidden population and this report has the potential to provide a new piece of anti-slavery measurement device,” Zoe Trodd, director of the Rights Lab, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation via email.

The 2018 Global Slavery Index by the Walk Free Foundation says the number of slaves in Britain is 136,000, and 40.3 million globally. But this methodology has been widely questioned and criticized by several activists and academics in the field.

Reported by Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please give credit to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charity branch of Thomson Reuters, which covers the lives of people throughout the world who are struggling to live free or just. Visit http://news.trust.org

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