Prevention and protection against Online Child Exploitation

Series 1

Thelma Anwatu
April 14, 2018.

As we witness the ever-changing world, technology provides more tools but also presents new risks. Ever wondered the activities and behaviours of our young kids in the digitally advanced age? Ever imagined the increased vulnerability in the ever-evolving world?

With the above brought to light, new forms of abuse are emerging and with them the need for new and accurate information on how to create awareness on the dangers of child exploitation.

Crimes which are committed online transcend borders. Unfortunately, not much attention has been given to this form of exploitation in Nigeria. Combating cyber crimes requires the cooperation of all.  To understand the real nature of the problem, let’s look into the following:


Child:   a young human being below the age of puberty or below the legal age of majority.

Age of consent: legally the age below which it is prohibited to engage in sexual activities with a child. (ECPAT) Although this varies from country to country hence no international treaty establishes the legal age for sexual activities. Many set the age of sexual consent at between 14 and 16 years of age and 18 years in Nigeria.

Child sexual abuse: is defined as engaging in sexual activities with a child who according to the relevant provisions of national law, has not reached the legal age of sexual activities with a child where: use is made of coercion, force or threats: or abuse is made of a recognized position of trust, authority or influence over the child, including within the family: or abuse is made of a particularly vulnerable situation of a child, notably because of mental or physical disability or a situation of dependence. Article 18(1) of the Council of Europe convention on the protection of children against sexual Exploitation and Sexual abuse (Lanzarote Convention)


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is an international treaty that legally obligates nations to protect children's rights. Articles 34 and 35 of the CRC require states to protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. This includes outlawing the coercion of a child to perform sexual activity, the prostitution of children, and the exploitation of children in creating pornography. Every state is also required to prevent the abduction, sale, or trafficking of children.

Child sexual exploitation (CSE): a type of sexual abuse when a child is a victim of sexual exploitation when he/she takes part in a sexual activity in exchange for something (gain, benefit or even promise of such) from a third party, the perpetrator, or by the child her/himself. Therefore, what distinguishes the concept of child exploitation from other forms of child abuse is the underlying notion of exchange.

It is important to make distinctions as to child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation. Child sexual abuse may involve some kind of benefits to the child or exchange often to win trust or ensure silence usually non-tangible benefits, for instance, attention or affection.

Exploitation is applicable to all victims of abuse in the sense of exploiting the vulnerability of a child.