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2016
Child online protection in the MENA region

Patrick, B., Monica, B., Davidson, J., Ali, M., Davison, P., Day, E., DeMarco, J., Rasul, M., Razai, S., Scally, M. and Wex, B., 2016. Child online protection in the MENA region.

Abstract

This report addresses the current state of protection against online child sexual exploitation in the region of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)—focusing on the four target countries of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco. This research is a synthesis of a broad international literature review with data collected through in-country visits; it relies on an international child protection framework derived from the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the conventions of the Council of Europe (COE), and the recent framework proposed by the #WeProtect Global Alliance to end the sexual exploitation of children online. Our findings indicate that each country among the target nations have their own challenges with the new requirements of child protection. Widespread cultural sensitivities, particularly relating to discussions around sex, make it difficult to assess or move public opinion on, or gauge actual experiences of, online sexual exploitation of children. The newness of online technologies results in the piecemeal application of laws written for offline crimes. And perhaps most notable for the future of child protection work, the lack of national coordination mechanisms means a general lack of clear data on the prevalence of online crime, the effectiveness of current protection efforts, and the true nature of ICT use by children. Furthermore, given that the internet knows no national borders, it is becoming increasingly important for international coordination mechanisms to be put in place to allow for investigation of transnational crimes, and for national laws to be made as consistent as possible in line with international legal benchmarks. The research was led by Patrick Burton , Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention , South Africa . The project Co- investigators were : Professor Julia Davidson, Middlesex University London and Dr Monica Bulger, Data Crime Prevention Society Research Institute, US.