Swedish Queen urges global effort to end child sexual abuse
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Swedish Queen urges global effort to end child sexual abuse

Big tech companies also have a role to play in curbing online harm, monarch says in Bangkok

Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden has told a summit in Bangkok that communities need to openly address the issue of child sexual abuse in order to best combat it.

“Child sexual abuse is difficult and unpleasant to speak about. It is so for me, too. As a woman, as a mother and grandmother and as a Queen. But silence does not make it go away. Silence only helps perpetrators,” she said at an event held at the at the UN Conference Centre on Thursday.

“Child sexual abuse happens everywhere and in every country of the world, every culture and every society.

“And if I do not speak up, we do not speak up, who will? To change something, awareness is first and necessary.

The Swedish queen was speaking at the Child Protection Summit Bangkok 2024, held by the World Childhood Foundation and SafeguardKids Foundation.

Queen Silvia pointed out that in 2015, when the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by the UN, governments of the world agreed that all forms of violence against children should be eliminated by 2030, yet there is still a long way to go.

For Thailand, she said that 2015 was a year of great progress, with the kingdom criminalising possession of child sexual abuse materials.

But new threats have arisen, such as online sexual abuse, she said.

As such, she said more should done with technology to protect children online, with parents also needing to be more proactive in this area.

“We need to show children we stand firmly on their side and show them we are ready to see, to risk and to believe in what they tell us. We also need to show the perpetrators that we see them and that they cannot hide,” she said.

“We need to do this together. Child sexual abuse is a serious crime. We need policies and lawmakers to set the rules.

“Child sexual abuse is a borderless crime, and we need to collaborate internationally and learn from one another and support one another in the fight.”

After the summit, Queen Silvia told the media more about her concerns.

She said experts had told her that computers should not be in children’s bedrooms but elsewhere in the house where parents could monitor what their children are doing online.

She also hoped that Big Tech companies would play a more responsible role on the issue.

“I hope that the big companies who have responsibility, that they find a way to control it. I know that there is a lot of money involved, unfortunately,” she said.

“But we have to find the way. We have to be good parents, but they have to be good companies too, and they have to take responsibility as well.”

Queen Silvia founded the World Childhood Foundation in 1999 with a vision that all children have the right to a childhood free from sexual abuse and exploitation.

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