On July 11 and 12, the premiers of the “Body of a Child”, a play produced by The COLISEUM Art Center to raise the awareness of the increasing risk of online child sexual exploitation, were held at “Gheorghe Asachi” High School in Chisinau. More than 120 adults and young people aged over 16 years attended the opening performances.
The play was created based on authentic online content and interviews with investigators, prosecutors, lawyers, judges, teachers, parents, traffickers, abusers and victims, and addressed several key issues including pedophilia, grooming, video chat and child pornography. Following each performance, audience members were invited to discuss the topics presented in the play and debate measures to prevent child online exploitation with specialists in the field. Entrance to the event was free.
OSCE Mission to Moldova funded the play, along with the US Embassy in Moldova, as part of OSCE’s efforts to raise awareness of online sexual exploitation, domestic violence and human trafficking.
Child exploitation remains a major issue in Moldova: a study by UNICEF in the Republic of Moldova reported that 10% of children are exposed to sexual abuse. Mihai Fusu, director of the Art Centre Coliseum, told the OSCE, “The play is intended to shed light on a difficult and largely invisible issue. With the support of professionals, we were able to study this topic in depth, in order to raise much-needed awareness about child sexual exploitation online.”
The project was supported by the General Police Inspectorate, the Center for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, the Center for Combating Cybercrime, the Department of Penitentiary Institutions, the General Prosecutor's Office, the Chisinau Court of Appeal, The International Centre for Women Rights Protection and Promotion “La Strada”, National Centre for Prevention of Child Abuse (CNPAC) and the Romanian-French Theoretical High School “Gheorghe Asachi”.
Five more performances are to be held across the country in 2017, with an estimated 600 people expected to attend.