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'Paedophilia big challenge in SAARC nations'
Saturday October 5, 2013 7:08 PM, IANS

Calling for cyber policing and monitoring initiatives, a top official of SAARC said Saturday that the menace of paedophilia poses a "bigger challenge" in controlling child trafficking in the nations of the region.

Speaking on cross-border trafficking in south Asia, Rinchen Chophel, director general, South Asia Initiative to End Violence against Children (SAIEVAC) - an inter-governmental apex body working for children's rights within nations of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) - highlighted the co-relation between increased digital access and child trafficking.

This link has strengthened even more, as there is near absence of cyber-policing among the SAARC countries of Sri Lanka, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the official said.

"With increasing mobile penetration and internet expansion, opportunities for paedophiles to have a wider network has significantly increased. And this poses a bigger challenge because the SAARC countries do not have cyber policing," Chophel told IANS.

"And traffickers, because of the economic opportunities in this area, are always up to date with such technologies," Chophel explained.

In response to international attention on member countries for cyber-monitoring, Chophel clarified that SAIEVAC has begun to bring communications between nations in the group under the scanner.

"Now there is increased attention on bringing our own communication technology under increased monitoring... that needs an urgent response... how we address the issue of cyber interventions is now in focus," Chophel said.

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