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2019 International Conference on the Ethical Considerations in Research on Sexual Exploitation Involving Children

International Conference on the Ethical Consideration in Research on Sexual Exploitation Involving Children held in GIS NTU Convention Center in Taipei on 25th September, 2019. This conference is co-organized by ECPAT Taiwan, ECPAT International and National Chung Cheng University under a joint project of Ethical Considerations in Research on Sexual Exploitation involving Children. This conference invited the experts of research ethics and the field workers from child protection field, including Australia, India, Netherlands, Pakistan, Taiwan, U.K, and Zimbabwe. This conference aims to provide the core concept of ethics in research on sexual exploitation of children (SEC) to NGOs, social workers and researchers.

Dr. Mark Capaldi, the lecturer of Mahidol University, provided the important concept of research ethics of vulnerable children and ethical challenges that NGOs face nowadays. He mentioned that lacks of the knowledge of research ethics and review process are the challenges when NGOs carry out SEC research. Prof. Amy Huey-ling Shee, the director of the Center for Human Research Ethics, Chung Cheng University suggested that NGO should set networks of ombudspersons which can secure child participants in SEC research.

This conference, moreover, presented draft guidelines for Ethical Research on Sexual Exploitation Involving Children. It includes crucial ethics tasks, such as child participating, confidentiality, disclosure and harm and benefit analysis in the guidelines. It aims to assist field workers and researchers to understand which ethical tasks they should consider. The presenters from Zimbabwe, India and Taiwan in the field-tested session mentioned that draft guidelines are the useful tool that it leads them to identify which potential harm may occur and how to mitigate these potential harms during the research. Chia-Wei Lin, the project coordinator from ECPAT Taiwan mentioned that researchers not only review the guidelines first, but also need to provide to reviewers or experts to evaluate research proposal. Therefore, based on these steps, it could mitigate potential harm on SEC research. Dr. Mark Kavenagh, head of Research and Policy, ECPAT International mentioned that the guidelines will be easily accessible for different type of groups, including field workers and academic researchers.

The feedbacks and comments which collect from this conference will be used to improve the Guidelines. The final version of Guidelines for Ethical Research on Sexual Exploitation Involving Children will be released at the end of this year.

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