Specialist child protection workers and law enforcement officers working to tackle sexual abuse will be attending a two-day Regional Advisory Panel workshop hosted by the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre and the British Embassy, which will include the launch of the International Child Protection Certificate.
CEOP’s International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) is a new police check for UK nationals who are travelling and working overseas and will help identify and screen out those who are unsuitable to be working with children. CEOP has found that some international schools, charities and other agencies overseas do not currently have access to the same level of police checks available to organisations in the UK, sometimes enabling sex offenders to gain positions of trust with children.
CEOP is the UK’s national law enforcement agency dedicated to protecting children from abuse. The certificate has been designed to help prevent known child sex offenders from gaining inappropriate roles in other countries.
The regional advisory panel workshop highlights the continuation of the work of CEOP’s International Child Protection Network (ICPN) and is supported by funding from the British Embassy Bangkok. Through collaboration and partnerships with national and international law enforcement agencies, non-government organisations (NGOs), industry and governments, the CEOP Centre is successfully stopping the activities of would be sex offenders travelling to Thailand , as well as raising awareness among young people about the risks these individuals pose.
The British Chamber of Commerce Thailand made a commitment to play its part in tackling the exploitation of children by signing a Memorandum of Understanding in March 2010 with CEOP. Since then, many companies with interests in Thailand have signed an International Corporate Child Protection Charter to promote child protection through their workforce.
Signatories so far include the Property Care Services (PCS), GlaxoSmithKline (Thailand) Ltd, HSBC, British Airways, the Shell Company of Thailand Ltd, Manpower, Grand Hyatt, Standard Chartered Bank (Thailand), Mackenzie Smith. The full list is available on the BCCT website.
Peter Davies, Chief Executive of CEOP, said:
There is clear evidence to suggest that serious sex offenders who are known to authorities in the UK will often seek out opportunities to work or volunteer abroad. In many instances this will be through teaching roles but could equally be through other occupations such as a charity worker, an orphanage worker or as a children’s home worker. The International Child Protection Certificate is intended to be a world-wide safeguard which will give employers and voluntary organisations reassurance that applicants have no convictions in the UK which would make them unsuitable to work with children.
It’s the only UK police check for UK nationals and residents working overseas for some organisations overseas so it’s an essential pre-employment or placement check to protect children.
Mark Kent, British Ambassador to Thailand said:
The promotion and protection of human rights is at the heart of UK foreign policy. The British Embassy in Thailand has worked together with the CEOP to protect children from abuse, to take action to deter travelling sex offenders and to contribute to the development of the International Child Protection Network (ICPN). We also cooperate with CEOP to identify potential child sex offenders and implement intervention activity at the UK border as appropriate and develop awareness campaigns around child protection and trafficking from Thailand. The International Child Protection Certificate is part of a programme of ongoing collaboration to strengthen child protection in both our countries.
We believe that our responsibility to protect children from abuse does not stop at the borders of the United Kingdom. Safety and child protection is fundamental to this collaboration. We want to ensure that we do everything that we can so the children study in the safest environment.
Greg Watkins, Executive Director of British Chamber of Commerce Thailand continues:
BCCT recognises that companies can play a key role in child protection by promoting awareness among their employees and customers and by educating the communities in which they operate. The International Child Protection Certificate will give companies and organisations such as international schools a means to check that possible future employees have no relevant convictions in the UK.