NAIROBI: THE United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA), in conjunction with the British High Commission, is launching a new initiative to combat the sexual exploitation and abuse of children in Kenya by traveling British child sexual offenders.
The International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) has been developed to target British nationals and residents who may be seeking to travel and work overseas in order to sexually abuse children.
An ICPC can only be issued following checks made against police information and intelligence databases. It aims to provide reassurance that staff employed in schools and voluntary organisations do not have a UK criminal record that makes them unsuitable to work with children.
The launch of the ICPC in Kenya represents the culmination of many months of close co-operation between the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and Kenyan partners, officials said.
The certificate is already being used in 73 countries worldwide and has been officially launched in Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia, Ukraine, Spain and Poland.
The introduction of the ICPC in Kenya comes shortly after the conviction of UK national Simon Harris, a prolific child abuser who posed as a volunteer charity worker to groom and sexually exploit vulnerable street children in the town of Gilgil.
Kelvin Lay of the NCA’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP) said Harris demonstrated how calculating and manipulative child sexual abusers can be, and the lengths to which they will go to present an appearance of respectability.
“The ICPC puts that respectability under the spotlight. It is running successfully in other countries around the world, creating a huge barrier for sex offenders who think it will be easier to commit their crimes abroad. Introducing it to Kenya is an important step forward.
I look forward to continuing to work with the British High Commission and schools in the area to expand and enhance this vital work, providing a united front against those with a sexual interest in children.” British High Commissioner to Kenya, Dr Christian Turner, said they believed their responsibility to protect children from abuse does not stop at the borders of the UK.
“I applaud the pivotal role of the NCA in working with national and international law enforcement agencies to pursue British suspects, wherever they are located, to safeguard children and prosecute offenders.
We must continue working together to ensure all our children are given the same chance to learn and grow in the safest environment possible,” Turner said.
SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY