A DFID and Interpol pilot to help stop sexual predators from moving between aid agencies, and a passport system to prove aid workers’ identities will be announced at today’s International Safeguarding Summit.
The Summit takes place in London today (18 October), and will see International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt call on the global aid community to take action to clamp down on sexual predators.
Named Operation Soteria after the Greek goddess of safety, the Interpol pilot will be led by Interpol, ACRO (The Association of Chief Police Officers’ Criminal Records Office) and Save the Children, which is coordinating the NGOs participating in the project.
It will include deploying teams of specialists to two regional hubs in Africa and Asia to strengthen criminal record checks and information sharing between all 192 member countries of Interpol, including high-risk countries, and help provide a more robust law enforcement response against individuals.
There will also be a new platform, including access to specialist investigators to help NGOs, particularly small organisations, strengthen their systems and processes.
In addition, a new aid worker passport system is to be tested that will help to prove individuals’ identity, and provide background information and vetting status. This is aimed at making it easier for employers to gather up to date information on applicants.
This is a £10 million, five-year project with an initial one-year phase focused on testing the online platform, which will build on existing Interpol systems. The UK will commit £2 million, subject to approvals for the inception phase.
DFID will also support the UN Victims’ Rights Advocate to establish a Victims Statement of Rights, which will provide guidance to organisations on how to improve support for victims and survivors.
Ahead of the Summit, Mordaunt said:
“This is a pivotal moment. The entire international aid community is in one place, as it looks to change for the better the way the aid sector works. Our message to sexual predators using the sector as a cover for their crimes is ‘Your time is up’.
“This summit will consolidate the work we have done to date to tackle exploitation and abuse and we will be announcing concrete practical actions and new law enforcement tools, which will bring about significant changes. We are demanding tough commitments from donors, NGOs and other aid organisations.”
Image: Penny Mordaunt speaking at March’s Safeguarding Summit. Credit: Jo Harrison/ DFID
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