ECPAT was born on 1 May 1990, when a few good people came together with a common concern for children caught in modern slavery. It was clear that there was a growing trend in the use of children for sex tourism – not a topic that many wanted to acknowledge, much less address, at that time. Over the next few years a committed few worked strenuously to break through the culture of silence and, as their voices were increasingly heard, groups from around the world joined, transforming ECPAT into a global network dedicated to ending all manifestations of commercial child sexual exploitation.
Today the ECPAT network includes 80 organisations in 74 countries – reflecting both the unfortunate breadth of the problem and the robust international response. Since 1990, many countries have passed legislation to increase child protection and a wide array of international, regional and local entities – both public and private – have emerged to join or partner with the ECPAT network. ECPAT has led global campaigns, co-organised three World Congresses against the sexual exploitation of children and been recognised on an international scale. Most importantly, ECPAT has actively promoted participation of children and youth, particularly child survivors and those most-at risk, through their involvement in research, advocacy and innovative child participation programmes.
More than two decades after its humble beginnings, despite facing increasingly widespread and complex challenges, ECPAT is still committed to combating modern slavery. Today we celebrate 24 years of fighting for the end of commercial sexual exploitation of children and thank the entire ECPAT network for fighting this fight with us.
Find out more about what we do here.