The Child Protection Research Centre (CPRC) is an independent, international children’s rights NGO based in the Netherlands. We protect vulnerable children by fighting child (sexual) exploitation and abuse through comprehensive and thorough civilian research both online and on location. Our unique investigation and intervention tools and techniques identify, frustrate and stop predators such as child sexual exploiters and their customers and travelling child sex offenders in order to free the victims and to protect vulnerable children who might become victim. And we fight against impunity on behalf of the children. Whenever our research reveals criminal activities the law enforcement agencies will be warned and asked for help to rescue any child in danger and punish the perpetrator(s). Information will only be exchanged with trusted law enforcement officers.
Fear for the police
CPRC works from the "citizen participation" perspective, helping governments to fulfill their international duty to protect children. To protect children and to rescue child victims we are researching cases brought to us by civilians who seek help or who want to act as a witness without interference of the police. Out of fear or for other reasons. If they want we guarantee these ‘sources’ anonymity. In most countries, including the Netherlands, victims, their families or witnesses do not dare to talk about child sexual exploitation or abuse with the police, let alone report it. People are afraid of retaliation of the exploiters or abusers, interference of governmental child protection agencies, appearing in court and in many countries there is also fear of corrupt police officers on the payroll of the exploiters. It is also not uncommon that victims or their families or representatives feel they are not being taken seriously by the authorities or that cases are not dealt with correctly because they landed on the desk of the wrong police department. The law enforcement agencies also often struggle with insufficient capacity, other political priorities, lack of financial resources or inadequate knowledge to tackle (online) child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Furthermore, the police does not act on "gut feelings" of e.g. worried parents or guardians, which is necessary if you want to help ending a threatening situation that might end up in child sexual exploitation or abuse. We call this early detection and early intervention. Police officers usually only act once a criminal offense is taking or has already taken place. CPRC considers early detection and early intervention important to prevent realization of exploitation and/or abuse.
CPRC and its NGO partners in other parts of the world do proactive research and make use of hotlines where victims, their families or witnesses can safely report without direct involvement of a government. Reports or requests for help/research might come from victims, their worried friends, families or guardians, witnesses (e.g. hotel personnel, taxi drivers and even clients of pimps), social workers, youth care professionals, et cetera. Such hotlines can lead us to thousands of cases that will otherwise never be reported to the law enforcement agencies. Next, we look at how the exploitation or abuse can be prevented or stopped, which parties could provide rehabilitation services to the victim(s) and their families and how (if a criminal act is taking or has taken place) the police can be called in, without exposing the ones who wish to stay anonymous. If necessary, CPRC and/or its NGO partners are prepared to act as witnesses in a possible criminal case.
Child sex tourism
Child sex tourism is an important issue for CPRC. CPRC knows e.g. that the Dutch government is not always willing to use its clear jurisdiction when a Dutch citizen abuses children abroad. Only when such a child sex tourist is a “big fish”, which means e.g. also participating in an international network of travelling child sex offenders producing and distributing child pornography, the Dutch law enforcement agencies (an the same goes for other “home countries” of child sex tourists) are willing to use their prosecution power. They just don’t want to spend money and capacity on a single travelling child sex offender. They do sometimes cooperate with law enforcement agencies in “destination countries” if simple exchange of information could lead to successful prosecution and punishment within the destination country. But when such a destination country uses harsh punishments or the death penalty for child sexual abuse, than law enforcement agencies often refrain from cooperation, which in fact means impunity for the (single) travelling child sex offender, even if he makes twenty victims during a single trip.
CPRC monitors travelling child sex offenders internationally and warns local “boots on the ground” in destination countries to catch the abusers red handed. We also warn service providers (visa suppliers, embassies of destination countries, hotel chains, airlines, credit card companies) in the home country and ask them to refuse their services to the travelling child sex offender in order to put up barriers for him to reach his prey and also to save him from committing his criminal activities.
CPRC also fight production and distribution of child pornography. We search for the producers, the locations where the child exploitation has taken place and the identity of the victim(s). Also we try to disrupt the online meeting places of child pornography distributors and pedophiles. If we discover any criminal activity we provide law enforcement agencies anywhere in the world with sound files, on which they can start their own intervention and criminal investigation.