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The San José Dialogue: Collective Action to End Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children in the Americas

3th to 7th June 2024 in San José, Costa Rica

Welcome to the San José Dialogue: Collective Action to End Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children in the Americas page. Here, you will find all the necessary information and documents to effectively take part in the workshop.   

If you have any issues navigating or accessing documents, please feel free to email:


Costa Rica, the meeting’s host country, is one of the world’s pathfinders in promoting holistic sustainability. ECPAT is honoring the country’s lead on environmental conservation by hosting a zero-paper event. We won’t be providing hard copies of materials, so please utilize the website to access documents and materials instead. 

Access the Agenda in English


The COVID era changed the way perpetrators operate, children are victimised, and authorities act to address the situation. Recent studies have re-enforced that the pandemic has changed how cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation are detected, and how the victims access justice. This significant change has impacted the way governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and public actors coordinate efforts to address sexual exploitation of children in the Americas.  

A common understanding on how sexual exploitation and abuse is taking place in the diverse manifestations is still missing. This is leading to a lack of coordination, efforts taking place in silos and often not preceded by an adequate understanding of sexual exploitation and abuse and its manifestations and interactions. 

The five-day San José Dialogue will contribute towards a shared understanding of the current trends and dynamics of sexual exploitation and abuse of children in the Americas, by fostering a space to share readings of the problem from the perspectives of different countries and sub-regions, civil society, governments and thematic groups.  

ECPAT is achieving a significant milestone by convening for the first time in its history representatives from North America, South America, and the Caribbean regions in a joint conversation around the issue of sexual exploitation of children, from a civil society perspective. This unprecedented meeting underscores the organization’s commitment to fostering intersectional dialogues and mobilizing efforts to protect children from exploitation and abuse. 

 The San José Dialogue is the fourth of a series which started in Nairobi, Kenya in May 2023, followed by regional events in Bangkok, Thailand in March 2024, and in Saly, Senegal in May 2024. 

Access the Agenda in English

Workshop Goals

The San José Dialogue, aimed at building shared consensus on the understanding on how sexual exploitation and abuse of children evolve in the region and about the short and mid-term measures to be implemented. This consensus is expected to be reached through guided plenary discussions and work in cross-sector working groups. Furthermore, there will be separate spaces dedicated to specific group meetings, as well as a day open to a broader audience with presentations and panel discussions. 

The series of sessions in the San José Dialogue aims at qualifying the decision-making capacity of the diverse sectors working to end sexual exploitation and abuse of children, by taking stock at the regional dynamics and opportunities to address them. The specific objectives of the sessions are:

  • To distil a regional analysis about common trends, challenges, opportunities and lessons learned in facilitating greater access to justice for child victims of sexual exploitation and protection of children on the move, and see how this can feed into the regional advocacy strategies;
  • To ensure strategies against sexual exploitation of children remain up-to-date, relevant and tailored to the regional contexts and needs by harvesting analysis from civil society movements regarding latest developments, trends and challenges in the region;  
  • To take stock at national and regional advocacy based on evidence that has taken place in recent years to analyse learning and results, and extrapolate how the common results can be better used;  
  • To build capacities of civil society movements to take on-board expanding manifestations of sexual exploitation of children that affect the region but appear to be underestimated, neglected or undocumented, like sexual extortion, harmful behaviours among and between children, sexual exploitation in humanitarian crisis and migration, sexual exploitation of boys or the role of the private sector (technologies, transport industry, travel and tourism) in fuelling or curbing sexual exploitation of children;  
  • To support civil society organisations in their ability to strengthen their culture of safeguarding and proactively ensure that children at least are not harmed by their actions. 

All participating stakeholders are expected to leave the workshop with a better understanding and a coordinated regional advocacy plan to adequately address identified challenges in the short and mid-term. 

The Cross-Sector Dialogue on Child Protection from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism

On Tuesday, 4th June, there will be an open session aimed at fostering a dialogue among specialized civil society organizations, international agencies, governmental delegates and private sector, around the issue of sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism and how to address it from a cross-sector perspective. This day is co-organized with Costa Rica’s Tourism authority (Instituto Costarricense de Turismo-ICT), in its capacity of host of the 2024 GARA meeting. ECPAT is pleased to welcome tourism ministry officials from GARA to this dialogue. 

The dialogue of the day, builds over the reports submitted by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence Against Children (UNSRSG-VAC), as well as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Sexual Exploitation and Sale of Children before the UN General Assembly in 2023 on the status and challenges to address sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism.  

Access Agenda of Day2 in English

The World Cafè – June 5 and 6, 4:30pm

The World Café consists of several rounds of short presentations and discussions, where participants rotate the presenters’ tables to cross-pollinate ideas and delve deeper into the selected topics.  For any assistance regarding digital access, Martina is available to support you at the venue and at 

World Café Guidelines

About Technology Facilitated Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

Between November 2023 and February 2024, ECPAT held online consultations in Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, México, Perú, República Dominicana, and Uruguay. It emerged that the lack of comprehensive data and inconsistent information about child sexual abuse online pose obstacles to effective intervention in the region. Coupled with a general lack of awareness and acknowledgment of the problem, this creates a challenging environment. Further complicating matters are social factors, including contentious discussions around sexual education, which hinder prevention efforts.  

To tackle these challenges, collaborative regional efforts are needed. These efforts aim to understand how technology facilitates transnational crimes such as human and child trafficking and advocate for preventive measures to protect vulnerable children and enhance online safety.  

About Child Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism

As more and more crimes of child sexual abuse and exploitation are happening through short-term rental properties, regulating home-sharing digital platforms that are used for travel and tourism purposes is a critical challenge for the region to effectively protect children. Beyond these, it is necessary to establish safeguards for children in the digital platforms linked to travel and tourism. The prevention of sexual exploitation of children in the context of travel and tourism requires innovative strategies and actions, the involvement of national tourism authorities, and the active participation of the private sector.

It is crucial to better recognize their key role in preventing these crimes in both the formal and informal sectors, especially in a region with a high rate of labor informality. These goals, among others, are pursued by the Down to Zero project currently implemented in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic. 

About Humanitarian Migration and Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

In recent years, there has been a considerable increase in migratory flows globally. Among the most significant migratory movements is Venezuelan migration, classified as one of the largest migration crises in recent years. The most vulnerable groups include unaccompanied, separated, or migrant children with irregular legal status. There is a notable lack of registration and documentation of these cases, due to deficiencies in protection systems as well as fears of reprisals and legal issues due to the victims’ immigration status. Despite regional and national efforts to address this situation, numerous challenges remain in providing effective and sensitive assistance. 

This rapid literature review focuses on the sexual exploitation of Venezuelan migrant children in Peru and Colombia, two of the main host countries for Venezuelan migrants. It analyses the prevalence and risk factors associated with this issue in each country, as well as the existing mechanisms and challenges to ensure prevention and adequate support for migrant children.  

Workshop Documents



                                               ECPAT recognises the generous organisational support from our core donors Sida and Oak Foundation.