Public Opinion is Clear: Urgent Legislation Required to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation! Read the story


Cross-cutting ways to end the sexual exploitation of children

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In response to the needs of our global network members, we have continued to explore adaptive ways to continue to push for children’s rights, culminating in a new and ambitious Strategic Framework. Several of our current projects continue to tackle the cross-cutting theme of online sexual exploitation of children, including both Disrupting Harm, Project Beacon, and Survivors Perspectives.   

Thanks to the support of Bread for the World (Germany), the ECPAT Secretariat, together with our member organisations in Bolivia, Cambodia, Kenya, Moldova, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, and Uganda, have implemented phase 1 of the Access to Justice initiative. This project is aimed at assessing the barriers and opportunities in selected countries for child victims of sexual exploitation to access justice, and to advocate towards improved access to justice. During phase 1, ECPAT assessed the current legal response to child sexual exploitation in each of these countries and is currently preparing dedicated national stakeholder engagement workshops in all countries. Eventually, the project will deliver clear and targeted advocacy roadmaps, and a coordinated effort to empower civil society in these countries to implement those. 

Developing travel & tourism with child protection in focus for a sustainable post COVID-19 pandemic recovery 

ECPAT International is engaged in the Corona-Tourism-Package the German Federal Government has initiated to retain the structures of the tourism sector and to empower local actors. The project involves 10 countries: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Philippines and Vietnam, in cooperation with Germany to find sustainable ways out of this crisis while prioritising child protection. As part of this work, ECPAT International with its partners on the ground supported governments with a guidance and country legal analysis on how to protect children from sexual exploitation in the context of travel and tourism with its online elements, that resulted in development of standards for the industry and increased recognition of the problem. ECPAT engaged also business, including small and local enterprises, with an increasing number of travel and tourism companies taking action to identify and address the risk and impacts they may have on children (see the risk assessment tool) and incorporating child protection measures in their operations through The Code. With Germany being one of the most active travel nations, ECPAT conducted also a public poll to understand attitudes of travellers that clearly indicated that a proactive approach by governments and business to child protection is expected from customers. 

Ending trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children through sustainable travel & tourism recovery and development 

Various travel and tourism products that offer unregulated access to children, are not only detrimental to the development of children, but can also put them at risk of sexual exploitation. Although over the last years more and more companies have taken the initiative to transition away from offering visits to orphanages, a variety of voluntourism packages allowing un-vetted access to children, including in residential care facilities are still widespread among voluntourism products offered. To address the risk, ECPAT International with its partners on the ground supported governments and business to understand and address the risk of sexual exploitation of children in the context of voluntourism for which an Issues Paper and The Code Voluntourism policy were developed with clear recommendations for action, that resulted in policy developments initiated across Southeast Asia, South Asia, Africa and the Americas to attract positive travel and tourism development in destinations.