In 1990, a group of people and organisations were concerned about the increase in travelling child sex offenders coming to Thailand to exploit children. As a response, they started ECPAT International to campaign against it. Over 30 years, the campaign evolved into the biggest global civil society network solely dedicated to ending all forms of child sexual exploitation. Since then, we have made remarkable progress while gradually growing and now, ECPAT is present in over 100 countries worldwide.
Children are sexually abused and exploited all over the world, in many different ways. No country is immune to this crime, and to protect children, impactful and sustainable solutions are needed. As civil society, our job is to inform and empower governments, businesses and individuals on how they can help protect children from sexual exploitation.
The ECPAT network has a unique position in that we are supporting and coordinating the network’s collective efforts by advocating for change at the global level, and in very close collaboration with our members on the regional and national levels.
The ECPAT network has worked for ground-breaking reforms of laws, policies and child protection systems around the world.
The ECPAT network is collaborating with law enforcement agencies, building partnerships, governments, religious leaders, the tech companies, the travel industry and United Nations agencies to tackle this crime more effectively. We support the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and also advocate for better legislation to ensure that countries have laws that are in line with internationally agreed conventions. Through our research and reports, ECPAT helps governments in identifying gaps in their work to protect children, as well as suggesting solutions.
ECPAT’s success and strength is based on a strong and large membership. Not one member is the same; we have researchers, advocates, campaigners, service providers, survivor-led organisations all tackling the issue from different angles.
Building on their knowledge, expertise and roots in local communities, ECPAT has managed to initiate and maintain a global approach in the fight against child sexual exploitation. This has led to ground-breaking reforms of laws, policies and child protection systems around the world.
The ambition of ECPAT is to tackle child sexual exploitation everywhere, but we have always resisted growing too quickly. Quality has always been the most important thing, and we have only accepted new members following a comprehensive assessment of our membership criteria. This has helped us ensure that our network members are aligned and share the same common goal and vision: to end all forms of sexual exploitation of children.
We have reached 102 countries, a major milestone!
Today, our total membership count to 118 organisations in 102 countries, a major milestone for the ECPAT family! Recently, the ECPAT Board of Trustees welcomed five new members: Centro Integrado de Apoio Familiar from Portugal; Hintalovon from Hungary; Sana Sezim from Kazakhstan; Child’s Destiny and Development Organization from South Sudan; and Childline/Lifeline from Namibia. We are so happy to have you on board.
We approach the next 30 years with the same enthusiasm and determination. We will continue to build an even more influential network, carefully increase our reach and local expertise. We will build strong national coalitions to ensure we always respect the rights of every child, across the world.
With this strategy, ECPAT firmly believes that we can win the fight against the sexual exploitation of children.