PRESS RELEASE: 3 March 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CÔTE D’IVOIRE—High rates of child labour and school dropouts have been found to increase children’s vulnerability to sexual exploitation.
ECPAT’s research outlines the need for stronger child protection laws and more resources to support victims of child sexual exploitation.
In cooperation with SOS Violences Sexuelles, ECPAT International is pleased to announce the launch of the Côte d’Ivoire Country Overview. The report sheds light on the scale, scope, and context of the sexual exploitation of children, and suggests concrete actions to put an end to this crime in the country.
Côte d’Ivoire has introduced laws against trafficking, cybercrime, child marriage, and the worst forms of child labour. However, many gaps still exist in child protection legislation, data collection, and response services.
Willy Buloso, Regional Coordinator for Africa, ECPAT International
Gaps in legal framework addressing child sexual exploitation
The spread of technology and social media has resulted in new forms of online child sexual exploitation and abuse emerging. Ivorian law urgently needs to be amended to criminalise new manifestations, such as sexual blackmail of minors and online grooming.
While the law includes provisions criminalising child sexual abuse material, it fails to cover non-visual materials, digitally-generated materials, or materials featuring persons appearing as children. Accessing child sexual abuse material through an information system or computer data storage medium is also not criminalised.
Data collection on the sexual exploitation of children
Côte d’Ivoire does not publish crime statistics for offences related to the sexual exploitation of children. Such data could be used to better understand the prevalence of the phenomenon, identify vulnerable populations, and plan and implement prevention programmes to respond to the needs of victims.
Insufficient law enforcement resources and training
Due to a lack of resources and training of law enforcement officers, investigations regarding sexual violence of children are generally ineffective. In many cases, law enforcement agents may ask the victims’ families to conduct their own research on the offender or to cover the expenses linked to the investigation. This often leads to cases of acquittance due to a lack of evidence brought in court by the police.
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About ECPAT Country Overviews:
ECPAT Country Overviews comprehensively present all existing research and publicly available data on the sexual exploitation of children in a given country. These also include a detailed analysis of the legal framework and existing policies applied to address such crimes. These reports provide an evaluation of the achievements and challenges achieved thanks to the implementation, the existing neutraliasation actions and, in turn, they suggest concrete priority actions to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children in the country.
About ECPAT International:
ECPAT International is a global network of more than 122 civil society organisations, in more than 100 countries, working towards the vision of ending the sexual exploitation of children. With over 30 years of experience in engaging and managing multi-stakeholder processes and partnerships at the national, regional and global levels, ECPAT works to end the sexual exploitation of children.
About SOS Violences Sexuelles:
The NGO SOS Violences Sexuelles is a member of 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 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.