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Children will learn how to protect themselves against tourists’ sexual abuse

Update: July, 18/2016 - 09:00
Children are naive: Nguyễn Văn Công, the project’s founder, and director of Wellbeing social enterprise, talks about the project at the launching ceremony. — Photo courtesy of the organising committee
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI A new project has been launched to teach Vietnamese ethnic minority children how to protect themselves against sexual harassment and assault by strangers in such tourist hotspots as Sa Pa.

A group of 20 volunteers travelled to Na Hang District of mountainous Tuyên Quang Province to teach 170 children from among 15 ethnic groups studying at the Na Hang secondary school.

The one- year project, entitled Lớn Lên An Toàn (Growing up in a Safe Environment), will include lessons about reproductive health and equip them with other skills to protect themselves from sexual assaults risks.

In addition, communication campaigns will be launched to raise awareness about the need to protect children, in particular ethnic minority children working in the tourism sector.

“Children, in particular, ethnic minority children, are often very innocent and have to face many risks, in particular the risk of sexual assault. To reduce those risks, we will teach them the necessary skills to help them protect themselves,” said doctor Đỗ Việt Dũng, the project’s adviser. 

The project is the idea of students taking part in the Autumn School of Development, which was organised by the Institute of Sociology, Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE).

ISEE’s director Lương Minh Ngọc said this project had a significant importantce as not many children and adolescents in Việt Nam know much about reproductive health.

“In many families, parents still hesitate to talk with their children about reproductive health. This remains a taboo. Many children are not ready to share with their parents their intimate stories,” she said.

“During the first year, we focus only on important tourist sites. After this year, the project will be expanded to other regions of Việt Nam,” said Nguyễn Văn Công, the project’s founder and director of Wellbeing social enterprise.

Last year, the country welcomed 8 million foreign tourists, said the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism.

From 2011 to 2015, 8,200 cases of sexual assault of children were detected, affecting 10,000 victims, an increase of 258 in comparison to the five previous years.

Those statistics were presented at a recent seminar about child protection in the digital environment, which was organised in March this year by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and UNICEF East and Pacific regional office. VNS

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