Unisa YRU@BMR Seminar SeriesLOOKING BENEATH THE SURFACE OF CHILD COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
YRU@BMR Seminar Series 2019 :
This year the Unisa Youth Research Unit at the Bureau of Market Research (YRU@BMR) presented a Seminar Series on the commercial sexual exploitation of children and school-based violence.
Cause for Justice (CFJ) made use of this valuable opportunity to connect and engage with academic researchers and organisations who work hard to prevent and eradicate sexual exploitation. Our legal advisor, Liesl Stander, attended the seminar held in Cape Town.
In this blog we will give focus on four FACTORS that put children at risk of being victims of sexual exploitation and practical protective steps you can take to keep your child safe (as gleaned from the various presentations).
LOOKING BENEATH :
#RISK FACTOR 1: Lack of knowledge and understanding
The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a complex phenomenon. Our ability to effectively protect children from being sexually exploited, is limited to the extent that we are unaware of and/or fail to properly understand CSEC. We cannot successfully address a problem that we don’t fully understand (and even less if we are unaware of the problem’s existence in the first place!).
TAKE ACTION! Educate yourself – and raise awareness – about the commercial sexual exploitation of children in South Africa.
- Subscribe to CFJ’s newsletter, check our website (cause page and blog page) or follow our social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to keep informed of updates on CSEC and related causes.
- All the organisations who presented at the seminar, hold regular information sessions and/or training opportunities. Have a look at their websites and subscribe to their newsletters.
#RISK FACTOR 2: Dysfunctional homes endanger children
According to the YRU@BMR’s research findings, children from dysfunctional families – characterised by lack of care and stability – are more vulnerable to and face an increased risk of sexual exploitation.
TAKE ACTION! Create and maintain stable home environments
Stable homes help keep children safe. Think about what you can do to maximize the stability and security of your own home environment, or whether you can reach out to lend a helping hand to others in your family and/or get involved in a community project that assists families in need.
TAKE ACTION! Cultivate your relationship with your child
The YRU@BMR’s research shows that a child’s relationship with his/her parents is of crucial importance. When a child feels comfortable to speak with his/her parents – i.e. not feeling fearful, but safe and able to trust them – much harm can be avoided. It is also important that a child who has suffered harm, feels able to turn to his/her parents for help immediately.
#RISK FACTOR 3: Pornography is prevalent
Delegates’ attention was drawn to the increasing prevalence of pornography in child sexual exploitation cases. Sadly, this does not come as a surprise to CFJ.
We have looked at numerous academic research studies which prove that pornography creates and sustains the demand for sexual exploitation. Based on scientific evidence of its effects on the brain – leading to a variety of detrimental and disturbing anti-social behaviours – pornography has been rightly recognised as a public health crisis.
- TAKE ACTION! Say NO! to pornography
Join us in taking a stand against pornography! From its inception, CFJ has done and continues to do significant work to raise awareness of the devastating harms of pornography use and to ensure that South African laws and policies protect the public from pornography (and other harmful and inappropriate adult material).
This year (blog post to follow), CFJ delivered substantive written submissions to the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) in respect of its Discussion Paper on Sexual Offences (Pornography and Children) and also participated in the workshop series on the Discussion Paper. The SALRC is in the process of reviewing the legal framework that applies to pornography and children in South Africa.
IF YOU BELIEVE that:
- Pornography is harmful and exploitative; and
- All forms of sexual exploitation should be eradicated;
PLEASE JOIN US AS IN TAKING UP THIS IMPORTANT CAUSE BY SUPPORTING OUR WORK.
#RISK FACTOR 4: Pornography is addictive
According to the YRU@BMR’s research findings, after only one exposure to pornography (irrespective of whether the initial exposure was accidental or intentional) almost 50% of children will intentionally seek out pornography again. This finding emphasises the importance of preventing children being exposed to any pornographic material at all (not even once!).
Parents need to know how to effectively protect their child in both the online and offline environment.
- TAKE ACTION! Prevention! Prevention! Prevention!
- Some seemingly innocent looking apps are potentially harmful to your child: Protect your child by familiarising yourself with online risks.
- Install protective software (such as MeetIris) or a parental control app (such as Qustodio) on your child’s mobile device.
- TAKE ACTION! Educate, Equip and Empower!
Have a look our #ParentTalk on The Unspoken Epidemic of Children and Pornography programme. It was developed to educate, equip and empower parents to protect their child. Our Interactive Flyer is a quick and easy guide to many helpful resources.
LOOKING AHEAD :
The commercial sexual exploitation of children is a complex phenomenon. The 2019 Unisa YRU@BMR Seminar Series is but one example of the collaborative efforts needed to successfully address CSEC.
It is encouraging to see (and be part of) a growing movement of committed and hopeful individuals and organisations who work passionately and diligently to prevent and eradicate all forms sexual exploitation in South Africa.
A sexual exploitation free South Africa. Together.
OVERVIEW OF SPEAKERS & PRESENTATIONS :
- Dr Antoinette Basson (YRU@BMR, Unisa)
An overview of the YRU@BMR research findings on the sexual of children in South Africa.
School-based violence (focussing on learners, teachers and principals).
- Professor Shanaaz Matthews (Children Institute, UCT)
Violence in the lives of South African children.
- Ms Nicole Bartels (STOP Trafficking of People)
The challenge of prevention.
- Ms Katie Modrau (A21)
Can you see me? The power of the public.
- Ms Chantelle Blokdyk (Original Design)
Why pornography is the greatest threat to the sexual safety of children and how to effectively protect children from it.
- Mr Oscar Apollis (Western Cape Education Department)
School-based crime prevention.