SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

The Working Group Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children aims to promote the protection of children from sexual exploitation, abuse and violence as outlined in article 34 of the CRC. The Working Group plays an active role in advocating for these issues through various UN mechanisms (most notably the treaty body and special rapporteurs) and in close collaboration with other special interests groups.

Rio de Janeiro Declaration and Call for Action

The Call for Action provides a comprehensive framework for the protection of children and adolescents from all forms of sexual exploitation. It covers outstanding challenges, international and regional instruments, forms of sexual exploitation and its new scenarios, legal frameworks, cross-sector policies and national plans of actions, international cooperation, social responsibility iniatives, monitoring, and follow-up. It also includes an Adolescent Declaration to End Sexual Exploitation.

It is currently available in English and Portuguese, but will be translated in all the UN languages in coming months.

World Congress III against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents

Despite the many advances made following the First World Congress held in Stockholm (1996) and the one held in Yokohama (2001), criminal activities related to the sexual exploitation of children are on the rise. To mobilize key actors worldwide once again to protect children more effectively from sexual exploitation, official government delegations, the private sector, civil society and children gathered in Brazil for the third Congress against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents which was held on November 25-28 2008. The governments of Sweden and Japan provided support and advice for this third Congress that was built on the progress made in Stockholm and Yokohama.

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Through its active involvement in the three congresses and its close work with the Committee on the Rights of the Child, members of Child Rights Connect and in particular national coalitions of NGOs, Child Rights Connect provides a link to these key actors and the international treaty which focuses on the subject, namely the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (OPSC). For the third Congress, Child Rights Connect’s involvement included:

  • Coordinating and facilitating the participation of its member organizations
  • Contributing research to a thematic paper on legal frameworks
  • Co-organizing a regional consultation in Africa and supporting NGO input to other regional meetings
  • Utilizing the resources provided by the Working Group on Sexual Exploitation

More information on the history of the World Congresses can be found here.

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Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

The OPSC gives special emphasis to the criminalisation of serious violations of children’s rights. Its definitions of three violations of child’s rights, namely: the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography enhance international cooperation for their penalisation. Countries that ratify the OPSC agree to include the sale of children, illegal adoption, child prostitution and pornography in their criminal code. The OPSC also emphasizes the value of international cooperation and of public awareness, information and education campaigns to ensure the protection of children from sexual exploitation.

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With the adoption of the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (OPSC) in 2000, the international community finally obtained a legally binding instrument to complement the Agenda for Action. Its entry into force in 2002 marked a considerable advance since the last World Congress held in Yokohama. To date, it has been ratified by 128 States and 36 States have submitted initial reports tothe Committee on the Rights of the Child (the initial reports can be found on the OHCHR page looking at the countries listed).

Child Rights Connect has been supporting the work of the Committee and that of NGOs in monitoring the implementation of this legal instrument, particularly in the preparation of NGO reports to the Committee. Child Rights Connect Focal Point on Sexual Exploitation produced a Guide for NGOs Reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the implementation of the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (2006) aimed at supporting reporting and monitoring processes under the OPSC.

Reporting on OPSC and OPAC (2011) has replaced the old guide, and reflects latest official guidelines on OP reporting. It provides substantive analyses of the provisions under the two treaties, as well as information and advice to NGOs on how to participate effectively in this process.
Available in :English, Español, Français

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Sexual Exploitation and the UN Study on Violence against Children

As a contribution to the UN Study on Violence against Children, Child Rights Connect Focal Point on Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Abuse of Children conducted a review of 140 NGO reports submitted to the Committee between 1990 and 2005 in order to highlight what information on violence was available. The study Violence against Children: What do NGOs know? What NGOs say? provides a broad outline of how violence is reported in the different “settings” established by the UN Study on Violence against Children (home, school, institutions, community, and workplace) and according to regions. The study showed that NGO reports to the Committee contain more references to violations related to sexual exploitation of children than to the violation of any other right.

Awareness is not always followed by action however. In order to help NGOs to include comprehensive information on the incidence of violence in their reports to the Committee, the Working Group on Violence against Children has prepared guidelines for NGOs on Reporting on Violence against Children: A Thematic Guide for non-governmental organizations reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Guidelines aim to assist NGOs in ensuring that there is adequate discussion on and analysis of violence in the preparation of NGOs reports and that the concluding observations of the Committee reflect concerns about violence and represent a tool for follow-up at national level.

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Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

The Working Group monitors and actively supports the role of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur is to consider matters relating to the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, including the analysis of the root causes, new patterns, and identifying, exchanging and promoting best practices and measures to combat these specific violations of children’s rights.
More information on the scope of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, current and previous mandate holders, focus of reports and country visits can be found here.

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Publications

Contact details of the Working Group

Convenor: Catherine Mbengue, ECPAT
Email: catherinem@ecpat.net

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