As countries such as the USA mark Human Trafficking Awareness day activists around the world are continuing their fight to ensure that these crimes stop. For the ECPAT International team, today is another day working to end the sex trafficking of children, by supporting our global network of grassroots organisations, monitoring governments and building awareness amongst those responsible for the protection of children.
ECPAT International’s team of child-rights researchers and legal experts are continuing their analysis of action to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children around the world, compiling data for ECPAT’s 2nd edition Country Monitoring Reports. The report for Colombia, for example, will be published shortly having just been reviewed by local experts in Colombia. As the only country specific reports produced on this issue, ECPAT’s Country Monitoring Report on the Status of Action against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of children will be used to raise awareness about child sex trafficking in Colombia and what needs to be done to improve prevention, protection and recover measures. The report will also serve as a baseline of information by ECPAT network members, UN agencies and NGOs to encourage the Colombian government to harmonise their national trafficking laws with the international Trafficking Protocol by amendment of laws and the development of National Plans of Action to protect children from trafficking. Ultimately, the report will contribute to building a safer environment for children in Colombia.
In supporting local civil society action ECPAT’s East Asia & Pacific team is analysing and writing a follow-up report on training recently held in Thailand. ECPAT International with the cooperation of ECPAT Foundation Thailand, launched a capacity-building programme for social workers to strengthen their psycho-social support for child victims of trafficking. ECPAT International expects that this programme will enhance local expertise and, in particular, build child rights-based treatment and rehabilitation which encourages and supports the reintegration of child survivors into society.
Despite the efforts of organisations like ECPAT, global child trafficking is on the rise. According to the UNODC, 27% of all trafficking victims worldwide are believed to be children. This figure is 7% higher than that of 2006. A recent report also states that trafficking for sexual exploitation accounts for 58% of all trafficking cases detected worldwide. It is time to be fully aware that the trafficking of children for commercial sexual exploitation is a real problem and take action!