Last week it was announced that ECPAT International won the 2013 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize. At the announcement, ECPAT International’s Executive Director, Dorothy Rozga, took the opportunity to recognise the work done by ECPAT member groups all around the world. Representatives in attendance from the ECPAT network were invited onstage to share in the honour.
“In honouring ECPAT with this award, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and its Humanitarian Prize Jury are acknowledging more than 20 years of global activism in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children”, said Ms. Rozga. “They are honouring the commitment of so many dedicated individuals and organisations around the world that are within the ECPAT network, including those standing before you at this moment.”
Founded 20 years ago in response to the growing problem of child sex tourism in Asia, ECPAT is now an international network dedicated to protecting children from commercial sexual exploitation. The network is made up of 81 member organisations in 74 countries around the world.
The prize announcement took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at a Consultation organised by ECPAT to develop an action plan to combat commercial sexual exploitation of children in Africa. The event was attended by many child rights experts and leaders including the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid, Chairperson of the African Committee of Experts on the rights and welfare of the child, Dr. Benyam Dawit Mezmur and Hilton Prize juror and founder and chairperson of Econet Wireless, Strive Masiyiwa.
Despite the efforts of organisations like ECPAT, the commercial sexual exploitation of children continues to manifest itself. Ms. Rozga comments, “The support and recognition by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation will help ensure that the fight against these violations stays high on the public and political agenda.”