Kailash Satyarthi, the Nobel laureate and advocate for children’s rights, has called for the adoption of a legally-binding international convention outlawing online child sex abuse and pornography, an evil that has proliferated into a $8 billion curse of the digital age.
"We are demanding an international convention against child sex abuse, and online pronography that should be supported by a new global task force — an inter-agency, inter-governmental task force — to combat child trafficking, child pronography, online child pornography and sexual abuse," he said in an interview to media.
Child pornography and sexual abuse using digital technology are growing unchecked without such an UN convention into a $8 billion-industry, he said.
When governments shut down such websites, they sprout elsewhere because there is no international regime to control them effectively, he said.
He also demanded the creation of an international database and registry of child traffickers that would be hosted by Interpol and connect national and international law enforcement enabling access to comprehensive and timely information to crack down on traffickers and networks.
"It’s very sad and rather strange that in spite of all the technological advancement the world has been able to make and make so fast, we are not able to control the organised crime of human trafficking and that has become a $150 billion industry," he said.
"The traffickers move around and they use some of the most modern equipment and they are so fast", while "the police in most countries are still using some of the old methodologies in tracing them", he said.
These were among the demands made by a group known as Laureates and Leaders for Children that comprises of eminent global citizens, Satyarthi said.
At their summit in Jordan in March they adopted the "Dead Sea Declaration" which includes these demands, as well as others to protect children.
Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela, who is a member of the group, presented the demands to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday, Satyarthi said.
Satyarthi, who founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan, a movement against child labour, shared the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani advocate for girls’ education.
There are still about 152 million child labourers around the world, Satyarthi said.
"It is not true to say it is only a problem in developing countries, it is very much here," and to say otherwise "would be a hypocrisy", he added.
In the US, where he said he has been working with anti-child labour groups for more than 15 years, there is no law against children being made to work in agriculture, he said.
Children, including many of Latino ethnicity, work on tobacco farms in the US because of the lack of legal protection for them, he said.
There has been remarkable progress though against child labour in India, he said. According to government statistics, the number of child labourers has gone down from 12.3 million 15 years ago to 4.3 million now, he said.>