PRESS RELEASE: 2 March 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gaps in Ecuador’s laws leave children vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse
The current situation places children at a disadvantage
ECUADOR—Children in Ecuador are vulnerable to sexual exploitation due to various root causes such as poverty, lack of access to education, as well as socio-cultural constructs which contribute to perpetuate gender and age stereotypes (machismo and adult centrism) and normalise violence against children.
“Ecuador has amended and adopted many laws to protect children from sexual exploitation. However, important gaps remain especially with regards to online child sexual exploitation and in the context of travel and tourism.”
Gabriela Kühn, Head of Programme Child Protection in Travel and Tourism, ECPAT International
In cooperation with Fundacion Quitu Raymi, ECPAT International is pleased to announce the launch of the Ecuador 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.
There is a lack of concise data on these issues
There are not enough data and statistics in Ecuador on the sexual exploitation of children. According to the members of the collective this is an important shortcoming which prevents the development of a proper national response. In terms of criminal data, these are not disaggregated by gender, age, etc.
Online child sexual exploitation and abuse
The definition of child sexual abuse material is not comprehensive as it does not include material which are not visual, in contrast with the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Similarly, the legal provision criminalising online grooming of children for sexual purposes only refers to cases where the sexual abuse following the grooming process is in-person and does not include online abuse or exploitation (as recommended by the Lanzarote Committee in its 2015 Opinion on the topic). In addition, there are no legal provisions in Ecuador making it mandatory for Internet service providers to block, filter and report child sexual abuse material found on their servers.
The sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism
Legally, the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism is considered an aggravated form of the crime of “sex tourism”. Ecuadorian legislation further requires tourism establishment to verify identity documents of children entering their premises. However, identity documents are rarely verified in small establishments or in rural areas nor by those who advertise accommodations independently online. Finally, there are no standards that regulate and supervise the use of volunteers (including “voluntourism”) in settings and activities that imply direct contact with children. Way forward: Establish control mechanisms to ensure age verification through check of ID documents for all people entering in a tourism establishment
The report outlines several recommendations to address these gaps, including:
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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.