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Empowering Yunitokers: Online Safety Workshop

On October 18, 2023, over 200 Yunitokers and representatives from relevant institutions gathered in Nairobi, Kenya for an online sexual exploitation workshop. The workshop was organized by Yunitok, UNICEF Child protection section, in partnership with the Kenya National Police Service (NPS) and the National Council for Children's Services (NCCS).

The workshop had a dual objective: to enhance young people's understanding of online sexual exploitation (OSE) and to provide them with the tools and know-how to safeguard themselves from potential harm. The comprehensive training delved into several key areas, encompassing the following aspects:

1. Defining OSE: Participants gained insight into what OSE is and the various manifestations it can take.

2. Recognizing OSE Indicators: The workshop provided guidance on identifying signs and signals associated with OSE, enabling young people to be more vigilant online.

3. Online Safety: Attendees learned valuable strategies for staying safe on the internet and preventing potential grooming or exploitation.

4. Reporting OSE: The workshop also emphasized the importance of reporting OSE incidents to the appropriate authorities, ensuring swift and effective action against perpetrators.

The workshop was interactive and engaging, with participants participating in group discussions and activities. Some of the key points of discussion included:

  • ·       The importance of parental supervision and open communication between parents and children about online safety. The need for more education and awareness about OSE, both among young people and adults. The importance of creating a safe and supportive environment for young people to come forward and report OSE.

The workshop delivered three essential messages to young people:

1. Online Sexual Exploitation Awareness: Young people grasped that online sexual exploitation is a real and grave concern, one that can affect anyone, irrespective of their age, gender, or social standing.

2. Empowerment for Protection: Workshop attendees learned that there are proactive steps they can take to shield themselves from online sexual exploitation. This includes recognizing the tell-tale signs of grooming, setting personal online boundaries, and having open conversations with a trusted adult whenever they feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

3. Support Network: The workshop emphasized that young people are not alone in the face of online sexual exploitation. In cases of victimization, there are resources and assistance available. Victims can report incidents to law enforcement or child protection organizations, and they can access counselling and support services to help them recover and heal.

    1. The workshop was a success, with participants expressing that they learned a lot and felt more empowered to protect themselves from online sexual exploitation. Yunitok is committed to continuing to raise awareness about OSE and provide young people with the resources they need to stay safe online.
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