I joined ECPAT in July 2018 and since then, I have been impressed with what I have seen. In the past year, ECPAT members in almost 100 countries investigated sexual exploitation of children of all genders, monitored countries’ legal and policy frameworks and brought different actors together at national, regional and global levels to improve the work to end sexual violence against children. We were part of huge advocacy efforts which have now resulted in concrete actions to protect children and we raised our voices to speak of the unspeakable.
Sometimes I feel our mission is overwhelming, as the task is too big. But on those days, my team reminds me that all things together do make a difference, even the small ones. It does not matter if you are a Member of Parliament, a business leader, a parent, a researcher or a child rights professional – we all have a role to play. One thing you can start with is reading this report.
It all starts with knowledge.
Robbert van den Berg, Executive Director at ECPAT International
As ECPAT’s global secretariat, we have the unique position in that we are working globally, but with the support from our network, we can also tackle the sexual exploitation of children at the country level.
We collaborate with law enforcement agencies, we are building partnerships with members, governments, religious leaders, the tech industry, businesses or companies and United Nations agencies to tackle 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.
In early 2019, ECPAT International was notified by ECPAT member MAITI Nepal, that four Nepali girls were trafficked and forced into posing as dancers in Malawi. As the secretariat, we connected multiple ECPAT members who then worked closely together to plan a rescue operation for the girls.
Two ECPAT members in Malawi, Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) and Eye of the Child were able to identify the girls and support the rescue operation. In cooperation with the authorities in Malawi, the girls were successfully repatriated to Nepal, where they received support to process their experience from MAITI Nepal. The traffickers were arrested and sent to court.
ECPAT International and our members are the only global network solely working to end the sexual exploitation of children. With 109 organisations in 96 countries*, we work to combat all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation of children.
Alongside our member organisations we work to:
* As at June 2019.
“We make a lot of important connections happen, and the spread of our network is remarkable in that sense.”
-Thomas Muller, Deputy Executive Director of Network Development at ECPAT International
In the last year, our network gained more members, and ultimately, more knowledge. Crimes are changing — especially as technology rapidly grows — and in order to be able to stop these new forms of exploitation, creating a strong and wide network of partners and information is key.
The ECPAT International team is made up of 24 dedicated researchers and practitioners based in Bangkok, Thailand. Team members come from all over the world and have different backgrounds and skill sets. We value diversity in all its forms, and strive for an open and inclusive work environment.
“ECPAT is not just a global movement working to end child sexual exploitation, but also a place that brings together passionate, intelligent and warm people who genuinely care about protecting some of the most vulnerable in our communities.”
-Supriya Kasaju, Executive Officer at ECPAT International
Our interns come from a diverse amount of backgrounds and interests, including human rights law, communications, fundraising and general programme support. The support and commitment of our interns have a direct and valuable impact on the range and breadth of the work of the secretariat.
“Being a part of ECPAT’s Internship Programme was a truly valuable experience. The six months were insightful, interesting and informative and has further cemented my passion to work in human rights. The ECPAT team were fabulous, friendly and always supportive. I was sad to leave but grateful for all I learnt and the wonderful friends I made.”
– Angharad Smith, Research Intern at ECPAT International
We are proud to report another year of strong support from our donors during the period under review, which enabled us to achieve a lot to protect children from sexual exploitation. Thank you.