Children at a kindergarten in Vietnam (Photo: VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – The sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT) was high on the agenda at a media seminar held by the Secretariat of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in Jakarta on April 5.

Opening the event, AIPA Secretary-General Isra Sunthornvut said the organisation is a regional parliamentary network acting as a centre for connecting member parliaments of ASEAN nations. 

To bring ASEAN closer to people, AIPA is actively promoting good programmes and partnerships among networks, especially in seeking initiatives to enhance the legal framework for protecting children from sexual exploitation and seeking solutions to the SECTT, he noted.

At the seminar, representatives of press agencies from Indonesia and other countries shared the view that the sexual exploitation of children is currently a pressing issue that needs to be addressed thoroughly soon in all Southeast Asian countries.

They said aside from the huge profit generated by tourism, this industry has also created unwanted aspects threatening the future of younger generations. Criminals can take advantage of the facilitated travel to access vulnerable children while using legal loopholes to avoid being uncovered or prosecuted.

Therefore, it is necessary to have comprehensive response measures in law enforcement in each country as well as in regional cooperation. A comprehensive and strong enough legal framework is critical to ending this type of crime, they added.-VNA