“Teach Children to See Lies” Warns Belarus Campaign

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 Jul 24, 2019

“Teach children to see lies” is the slogan of a new campaign being launched next week in Belarus by IOM and Unicef, aimed at prevention of child sexual exploitation and sexual abuse as its root cause.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, up to 15 per cent of victims of human trafficking are children who suffer from sexual exploitation or abuse each year.

Victims can fall prey to trafficking in into pornography, prostitution or other forms of abuse, and the Ministry warns that number of victims may grow if preventive action is not undertaken.

The campaign appeals to parents and encourages them to be attentive to their children, talk with them and build trust to prevent then being tricked by traffickers and abusers.

Parents ought to look out for any changes in their children’s behavior that may signal potential abuse and exploitation. Sexual abuse or exploitation traumatize children and lead to severe psychological consequences that can appear immediately or in the future.

The campaign is rooted in the fact that there’s no universal or typical portrait of an abuser: they can be anyone regardless age, sex, social status or profession, especially online where it’s so easy for abusers to disguise themselves and “click” with their potential victim. It’s crucial to teach children to see lies and not trust everyone, especially if people are unfamiliar to them, say the campaign’s promoters.

“Unfortunately, traffickers and abusers adapt technologies, use darknet portals or other special channels or networks to stay unnoticed and unpunished. Thus, it’s crucial that we raise this problem and be very vocal”, says Tatiana Verigo, Head of the Counter Trafficking Unit in IOM Belarus.

“We are proud to run this campaign together with the Ministry of the Interior of Belarus and UNICEF and we hope that our efforts will strengthen preventive measures, raising awareness of this dimension of human trafficking among parents. We are confident that our campaign will contribute to decrease number of sexual exploitation and abuse cases”.

The campaign kicks off with a launch in the capital Minsk on 30 of July, World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.  Parents attending will be offered a number of activities to participate with their children and check their knowledge on the problem, learn about their children’s behaviour, get tips through a thematic escape room, interactive tests and more. Throughout the campaign posters and leaflets with useful information and tips for parents will be disseminated throughout the country.

The campaign is carried out with the financial support of the Norwegian Ministryof Foreign Affairs, USAID, and Polish Aid.

For more information please contact Olga Borzenkova at IOM Belarus, Tel: +375 17 2882742. Email: oborzenkova@iom.int