16 January 2015
The National Crime Agency (NCA), in conjunction with the British High Commission, is launching a new weapon to combat the sexual exploitation and abuse of children in Kenya by travelling 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.
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 demonstrates 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.”
Speaking at the launch, the British High Commissioner to Kenya, Dr. Christian Turner, said:
“We believe that our responsibility to protect children from abuse does not stop at the borders of the United Kingdom.
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”.
Earlier in the week, officers from the NCA’s CEOP also held a one-day awareness-raising workshop, supported by the British High Commission Nairobi and funded by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The aim was to raise awareness and share knowledge and best practice on key subject areas within the ‘Offender’ and ‘Victim’ perspectives of Child Protection.
This ongoing engagement and training builds on partnership work to date in the region, and in particular the work of the International Child Protection Network (ICPN). The network, which includes advisory panels of specialists from law enforcement, education, children’s charities and NGOs, shares understanding and best practice to help minimise the risks posed to children by adults with a sexual interest in them.