Economist Intelligence Unit’s new report Out of the shadows – Shining light on the response to child sexual abuse and exploitation says that in much of the world, weak laws and a poor commitment to tackling the problem of child sexual abuse and exploitation is making it difficult to fight this crime.
The report and its index, which was globally launched this week, is an important step in assessing and mapping governments’ responses to combatting child sexual abuse and exploitation and how it is prioritised at a national level. The 40-country benchmarking index explores legal frameworks, the safety and stability in the country, governments’ commitment and capacity and the engagement of the travel, tourism and tech industries as well as civil society and media. Marie-Laure Lemineur, ECPAT Deputy Executive Director for Programmes, says:
“We congratulate the EIU for taking this step in highlighting existing gaps and challenges in terms of capacity and engagement to better tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation. A project of this scale involves a lot of complex data and methodological hurdles. The ECPAT network looks forward to working with the EIU to continue to fill the gaps in knowledge, improve accuracy, conduct further research and keep advocating for stronger legal frameworks and a better protection of children worldwide.”
The report stresses that the sexual abuse and exploitation of children is a pressing concern for both wealthy and less developed countries, which is why it is so important to throw more light on this issue across regions. Even those countries that rank high in the index are not necessarily less problematic. For example, the US is ranked fifth and yet according to INHOPE research, it still hosts the largest amount of online child sexual abuse material in the world.