Public Opinion is Clear: Urgent Legislation Required to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation! Read the story

Around this World Day Against Child Labour the Down to Zero Alliance calls upon the ENTERTAINMENT sector to end the worst forms of child labour!

Posted on Jun 13, 2024

Observed on June 12th, the World Day Against Child Labour is an opportunity to catalyse the growing worldwide movement to protect children from all forms of exploitation. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, which comprises ending trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. 

What is the issue? 

Sexual exploitation of children in the entertainment industry, in formal and informal sectors, is prevalent in various settings and contexts. It is an issue relevant to the countries where the Down to Zero Alliance partners operate¹. In Nepal, over 250 cases of children exploited in the entertainment industry were reported in the last three months. In Indonesia and other countries in the region, many children work in informal sectors like spas, guesthouses, restaurants, souvenir shops, and entertainment venues, where they are exposed to the risks of sexual exploitation. 

“A significant number of cases of sexual abuse and or exploitation of children within the entertainment industry remain under-reported, primarily due to the prevailing power dynamics, fear of retaliation and loss of opportunities, including threats to careers or personal safety, insecurity, intimidation, discrimination, stigmatisation, and secondary victimisation²”

Mama Fatima Singhateh, UN Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children

Children oftentimes are approached by perpetrators through social media, they are groomed and trafficked domestically or to other countries. Within the entertainment sector, they may be involved in local or community initiatives, tourism or hospitality, commercial casting, auditions, filming, the music sector, or social media. The scope of the entertainment sector can also be informal and unregulated, drawing the workforce from children vulnerable to economic incentives, and children in street situations where ample risks exist for abuse or exploitation. 

“Some television stations involve children as actors, putting them in situations of economic exploitation, where children have to follow long shooting schedules including overnight working times, and the industry lacks child safeguarding policies”

– Oviani Fathul Jannah, ECPAT Indonesia

This issue has been addressed in the UN Special Rapporteur’s report on the topic of the sexual exploitation of children in the entertainment industry which was presented in March 2024 to the Human Rights Council³. The report outlined recommendations for action on national, regional, and global levels.

CWIN – Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre, together with the Down to Zero Partners, on 16th  May, organised an advocacy event during which the authorities and businesses committed to regulating the entertainment industry to better protect children in Nepal. 

Ms. Lily Thapa, the Honourable Member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) from Nepal expressed commitment to “implement the recommendations from the UN Special Rapporteur’s report and incorporate safeguarding policies for children into NHRC’s Business and Human Rights Monitoring Guidelines by conducting inspections, monitoring and reporting on the state’s work towards eliminating child labour”. 

The Down to Zero Alliance also held a dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, to elevate the voices of children on the issue of child protection needs in the entertainment sector to influence change in Southeast and South Asia. 

Call for Action from the Down to Zero Alliance 

For governments to: 

  • Demonstrate the political will by regulating the entertainment industry to ensure that children are protected from all forms of exploitation, including the sexual exploitation of children. 
  • Regulate social media to address the technology-facilitated sexual exploitation of children in the context of the entertainment industry. 
  • Address the issue in the countries where the special economic zones exist, and where a high concentration of tourism, casinos and the entertainment industry increase the vulnerability of children to sexual exploitation. 
  • Introduce laws, policies, and regulations for the entertainment industry requiring the sector to conduct due diligence processes and respect of children’s rights.
  • Engage with informal sector actors to prevent all forms of child labour and children’s rights violations within this unregulated sector. 
  • Work with the financial authorities, banks, and institutions to monitor transactions, or e-wallet transactions that can facilitate sexual exploitation of children in these settings.
  • Work with education institutions, including tourism vocational schools, so they become part of the child protection system and empower young people. 
  • Improve reporting mechanisms to ensure these are more proactive in reaching out to the children, so they can trust in the system. 

For businesses to: 

  • Stop hiring and engaging children in the entertainment industry and ensure safe working conditions for adolescents and youth within the minimum age to work
  • Implement and enforce codes of conduct and procedures guided by the due diligence process based on the UN Business and Human Rights Principles and Children’s Rights and Business Principles, including with informal actors of the entertainment sector. 
  • Identify risks and impacts to children throughout the supply chains, including of multinational companies operating in Asia, considering the interlinkages with the informal sector operating locally to prevent the sexual exploitation of children within the entertainment industry. 

Let’s act on our commitment: End Child Labour & Step Up the Fight Against Sexual Exploitation of Children!


  1.  A world where children in all their diversity can live free from sexual exploitation, both online and offline: that is the mission of Down to Zero. Together with local partners who best understand the complexity of sexual exploitation and know the local context, the alliance works in twelve countries in Asia and Latin America. The Down to Zero alliance consists of Terre des Hommes Netherlands, Child Rights Coalition Asia, Conexión, Defence for Children – ECPAT, Free a Girl and Plan International, in partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. More at: ECPAT International is a technical implementing partner for the Lobby & Advocacy component for the Down to Zero Alliance. 
  2.  Zero tolerance for sexual exploitation of child performers, read more here
  3.  A/HRC/55/55: Study on the sexual abuse and exploitation of children in the entertainment industry read here