Kampala, Uganda— The 5th South-South Institute on Sexual Violence Against Men and Boys (SSI) held in Kampala, Uganda from March 20 to 24 2023, featured the work of ECPAT International’s Global Boys Initiative (GBI). The conference aimed to promote cross-cultural dialogue and alliances between male survivor communities and movements, bringing together service providers, survivors of conflict-based sexual violence, international participants, and Ugandan government representatives under the theme “Building Common Ground.”
Francesco Cecon, Head of the Global Boys Initiative at ECPAT International, stressed the importance of collaborative spaces to address sexual violence against men and boys, and shared that the discussions at the conference would shape the way forward in preventing, responding to, and advocating on the issue.
He said: “these events are essential for us as a global community to ensure that this issue is visible, discussed, and is no longer a taboo.”
Sunhye Kang, Secretariat at SSI, who led the first-ever study on the sexual exploitation of boys in Korea, presented key findings from the South Korea Report and emphasised the need to develop gender-sensitive and accessible services for males, sharing promising practices related to engaging with boys and delivering tailored services.
Jarrett Davis, Research Lead at SSI, highlighted the importance of ethical and reflexive social research when seeking to uncover the hidden needs of marginalised populations. Alastair Hilton, Community Coordinator at SSI, shared emerging themes and promising practices from newly published ECPAT GBI case studies from Morocco, Namibia, Bolivia, Colombia, and the United Kingdom. Hilton stressed the importance of building services upon a foundation of empathy, trust-building with boys and community members, and addressing these issues through an inclusive gender lens’. Click here to read the multi-country case studies.
The conference underscored the importance of collaboration beyond borders, a goal that ECPAT International and the GBI are working hard to achieve. In June 2023, ECPAT International will host its first-ever Global Boys Summit in Morocco, a three-day workshop bringing together global practitioners who work with at-risk boys and survivors of sexual exploitation. The workshop will offer an opportunity to gather learnings on how to better support boys across various contexts and communities.
ABOUT THE GLOBAL BOYS INITIATIVE:
At the 2016 Global Survivors Forum organised by ECPAT International, male survivor-advocates of sexual exploitation explained that services for boys were extremely rare, and even where services may include boys in their work, there is limited focus on addressing the specific characteristics, experiences and supports required by boys.
In 2019 to delve into this, ECPAT co-authored an academic paper that looked at the global situation of sexual exploitation of boys. It showed that despite a growing global awareness that boys do experience sexual exploitation, and at greater rates than previously recognised, there is limited research available to fully tell this story.
As the programmatic responses to identify and meet the particular needs of boys are scarce, ECPAT International launched the Global Initiative to explore the sexual exploitation of boys which activates our global network of member organisations in a range of research and response activities.
Learn more about the Global Boys Initiative here.