BANGKOK, Thailand—ECPAT International, a global network of organisations dedicated to ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children, published a country monitoring report today, outlining the status of action against the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in Ivory Coast.
The report is one of a series of reports examining countries around the world and their policies and laws to protect against CSEC. ECPAT’s Ivory Coast monitoring report looks at all of the manifestations of CSEC within the country, including child prostitution, child sexual abuse materials (child pornography) and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes.
In 2012, Ivory Coast ratified the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, which represented a major advancement in the fight against CSEC in the country. Despite this step forward, child prostitution is neither prohibited nor defined by the law, and offenders can only be prosecuted for “encouraging or forcing prostitution” or for the trafficking of children for the purpose of prostitution.
Lack of research on CSEC in Ivory Coast is a cause for concern. For example, it is suspected that sexual violence is occurring in schools and teachers and administrators are coercing children into sex through promise of rewards or threats of physical violence. Military conflicts, as experienced by Ivory Coast, often contribute to the rate of sexual violence against children as a result of abuses perpetrated by armed forces. Although data on these crimes is difficult to gather, it is important that these issues are adequately investigated.
Population movements and insecurity following a period of political instability are also thought to play a role in the number of children exploited through prostitution. There are reports of both local and foreign born children, often from Nigeria, visibly being exploited in brothels in large cities.
ECPAT encourages the Government of Ivory Coast and other stakeholders to investigate these issues and implement steps to eliminate CSEC within the country. ECPAT believes that more can be done to protect children in Ivory Coast from commercial sexual exploitation and this report suggests priority actions urgently needed to proactively advance the national fight against CSEC.
Dr. Ossei Kouakou comments on behalf of ECPAT affiliate in Ivory Coast, SOS Violences Sexuelles, “SOS Violences Sexuelles encourages the government of Ivory Coast to act on the recommendations provided in this report in order to better protect children from commercial sexual exploitation”.
The full report on the status of action against commercial sexual exploitation of children in Ivory Coast is available here.
About SOS Violences Sexuelles: The NGO SOS Violences Sexuelles is a member of the Ivorian Network of NGOs fighting against the sexual violence of women and children (in short BANKS). SOS Violences Sexuelles is a member of ECPAT International’s global network and a partner of Save the Children. SOS Violences Sexuelles responds to sexual violence by conducting prevention activities and providing psychological support for victims of sexual violence.