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ECPAT hosts Regional Consultation in South Asia

Posted on Sep 9, 2014

MEDIA RELEASE

08 SEPTEMBER 2014; KATHMANDU, NEPAL/BANGKOK, THAILAND: Child rights experts convened in Kathmandu today for a Regional Consultation on Action to Stop the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in South Asia.

The three-day consultation, hosted by ECPAT member organisations, CWIN Nepal, Maiti Nepal and supported by ECPAT Luxembourg, brings together ECPAT members in the region, along with other child rights experts to discuss the situation of the commercial sexual exploitation of children in South Asia.

Honourable Neelam KC, Minister of Women, Children and Social Affairs of the Government of Nepal, addressed the participants during the official opening session of the consultation chaired by Ms. Sumnima Tuladhar, South Asia Representative to the Board of ECPAT International and CWIN Executive Coordinator.

Although some measures have been taken by states and civil society organisations against the commercial sexual exploitation of children, research demonstrates that it continues to be a pervasive problem in South Asia, affecting millions of girls and boys. The abuse of children’s rights through child pornography, child prostitution and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes calls for a systematic and sustained response.

Ms. Tuladhar called upon participants to respond to the commercial sexual exploitation of children saying, “We need to remember that children cannot wait while they are already at risk – and there is no future without them. This issue needs our urgent action”.

Ms. Dorothy Rozga, Executive Director of ECPAT International, said in her opening speech that ECPAT is spearheading efforts to revitalise and expand effective action to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children in South Asia.

There are indications that the nature of the commercial sexual exploitation of children is changing, due in part to emerging trends such as increased accessibility to children through online mechanisms and ease of travel for sex offenders. Different forms of violence and child abuse, including child marriage and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes are prevalent in the region.

“It is an appropriate time for ECPAT, civic society organisations, governments and all relevant stakeholders to join hands and take effective and appropriate actions to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children in South Asia” Ms. Rozga said.

Distinguished guests, including Ms. Katlijn Declercq, Vice Chair of the ECPAT International Board of Trustees; H.E. Arjun Bahadur Thapa, Secretary General, South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC); Mr. Thomas Kauffmann, Executive Director of ECPAT Luxembourg; and representatives of ECPAT member organisations and other civic society organisations attended the opening session.

The ECPAT Network in South Asia consists of ten local civic society organisations in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and efforts are underway to expand membership in the region.

About ECPAT International

ECPAT is a global network of 80 organisations working together in 74 countries for the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. ECPAT seeks to ensure that children everywhere enjoy their fundamental rights free and secure from all forms of commercial sexual exploitation. For more information, please visit www.ecpat.net

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For more information, please contact:

Dorothy Rozga,                                                                   Amanuel Teferi  
Executive Director                                                               Communications and Advocacy Manager
ECPAT International                                                             ECPAT International
Tel: + 66 (0) 2 215 3388                                                     Tel: +66 (0) 2 215 3388
Bangkok, Thailand                                                               Bangkok, Thailand

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