Thank you for airing a program that brings to light child sex tourism and exploitation in SE Asia. It is essential that the public is made aware of these issues, but not at the expense of the dignity and worth of children effected by sexual abuse.
In the Nightline program “Tracking a Suspected American Pedophile,” your reporter asks a 14-year-old girl if Michael Dodd had in fact “sexually abused her.” The girl lowers her head and replies “yes.” The manner in which this young girl was interviewed demonstrated no regard for her emotional and psychological state. Her face was shown without any censoring. Revealing the girl’s identity in this way not only adds to her trauma and shame, it increases existing prejudice and violence from family and community members.
Our organization, Love146, works in SE Asia to prevent child sex trafficking/exploitation and we provide aftercare for survivors. In order for these children to move forward in the recovery process their privacy, dignity and safety must be maintained.
We ask that you remove the program from your website and edit the video in such a way that conceals this child’s identity before reposting it online and airing again on TV. This would certainly demonstrate your commitment to recognizing the dignity and worth of the children whose stories you report.
Below is a link with more information on journalistic guidelines for reporting on issues involving children. http://csecworldcongress.org/PDF/en/Yokohama/Press_materials/Media%20guidelines_EN.pdf