British child-protection agency offers Pattaya officials online training

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A British organization that works worldwide to prevent children from being exploited on the Internet trained Pattaya social-welfare officials Pattaya officials in its abuse-prevention methods.

British Ambassador Asif Ahmad, Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, and British Chamber of Commerce in Thailand Executive Director Greg Watkins were on hand as the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre’s International Child Protection Network (ICPN) coordinator Tim Gerrish led the Oct. 26 workshop at Pattaya City Hall.

(L to R) Tim Gerrish, Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, British Ambassador Asif Ahmad, and BCCT Executive Director Greg Watkins unite in their fight against child abuse.(L to R) Tim Gerrish, Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, British Ambassador Asif Ahmad, and BCCT Executive Director Greg Watkins unite in their fight against child abuse.

The seminar covered how to protect and care for people who use the Internet, offering practical exercises in searching for and identifying harmful websites and information. The organization follows up initial training three and six months afterward and previously provided its expertise to officials in Bangkok.

“If there is no education or online protection, you may never know if tourists entering the city pose a threat or have ever sexually abused a child,” Gerrish said. “This workshop is considered a benefit for all trainees in learning and understanding online networks and how they relate to children.”

The CEOP is responsible for the investigation, prevention and suppression of violence and abuse against children through online media. It is also responsible for providing knowledge and training to staff members who work with children. Similar workshops have been run in countries throughout Southeast Asia and, Gerrish said, last year’s Bangkok seminar trained 400 social workers who have passed on their knowledge to create a child-protection network of 4,000 people.

In addition to practical exercises on searching for information and using multimedia equipment, the workshop offered lectures on child protection and how to integrate their new knowledge into everyday business operations.