Online persecution, threats, and blackmail against children and young people increased six-fold in Albania!

Online persecution, threats, and blackmail against children and young people increased six-fold in Albania!

CRCA/ECPAT Albania: 2nd National Safer Internet Report, an alarm bell for the Parliament and law enforcement agencies.

Tirana, 7 February 2020 - The 2nd National Report on Safer Internet in Albania, released by CRCA / ECPAT Albania experts, during the 5th National Safer Internet Forum, shared some disturbing facts on the online incidents reported by children and youth during 2019. According to the findings of the Report, cases of online threats, persecution and blackmail against children and young people increased six-fold compared to the previous year.

Key data from the Report titled: "Online Hate against Children and Youth in Albania" show that while in 2018, threats, blackmail and prosecution accounted for only 2% of incidents, in 2019, they increased to almost 12%. Such incidents were reported not only by children aged 15-17 years, that constitute the main age group reporting online incidents, but also other ages.

The Executive Director of CRCA/ECPAT Albania, Altin Hazizaj, underlined the fact that: “The lack of convictions and the delay of trials on cases of online violence and sexual harassment, show that the law enforcement institutions are not equipped with the latest technologies, that would enable them to protect children and youth in Albania. Shortcomings in the criminal legislation cause confusion among law enforcement institutions that are faced daily with violations of child rights.”

Online hate speech constitutes the most reported incident, both in 2018 and 2019. One striking finding during 2019 regarding hate speech is that both sexes have reported incidents to an almost equal extent compared to 2018, where the main complaints came generally from girls.

The report states that every three days there is at least one online incident reported in Albania, referring to the number of cases reported to the www.ISIGURT.al Platform and the National Child HelpLine (ALO 116111), which for 2019 they reached the figure of 104 online incidents.

Social networks are the main platforms where children and young people report the highest number of online incidents. For 2019, Instagram is the main platform where most of the reports on violence, bullying, abuse, profile theft, pornography, nudity or hate speech happened, with almost 68% of the complaints, followed by YouTube (17%) and Facebook (4 %).

Another worrying finding according to the report, is the lack of a code of ethics and the continuous violation of the rights of the child by the online media platforms and portals in Albanian language, that often are found to post inappropriate materials widely accessible to children and young people.

The 2nd National Report, "Hate against Children and Youth on the Internet", drafted by the Albanian National Center for Safer Internet and CRCA/ECPAT Albania, raises serious concerns about institutions apathy to prosecute cases of online sexual predators.

CRCA/ECPAT Albania has been engaged in protecting children and young people online for the past 15 years. Over the past two years, it has also implemented agreements with the two global platforms: Facebook and Google, enabling children and young people to be protected from sexual violence, bullying and other online crimes.

The Report was made public at the launch of the campaign and the International Safer Internet Day, a global event attended by over 150 countries around the world. In this context, our main call for children, young people, parents and anyone is: REPORT online incidents to the National Platform www.ISIGURT.al or the Albanian National Child Helpline, by calling the number 116-111.

For more information, contact:

Albanian National Center for Safe Internet

CRCA / ECPAT Albania

E-mail: isigurt@isigurt.al

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