22 MAY 2014; BANGKOK, THAILAND: In recent talks with ECPAT International, Ms. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography declared, "Implementation of child protection mechanisms requires strong collaboration between all stakeholders".
The new appointee said, “I’m proud of my new mandate but at the same time humbled because I know it is a very difficult job, a very daunting task”. The demands of her mandate, she explains, cover many complex and interrelated issues. Ms. de Boer-Buquicchio mentioned that she is eager to start her work and pointed out that achieving tangible results is, of course, the obvious purpose of her mandate. She wants to make a difference for children.
Recognising the alarming spread of online child sexual abuse materials Ms. de Boer-Buquicchio stressed that the removal of these materials is important, particularly at the source. However, she acknowledges that this requires cooperation from internet service providers and, in some instances, blocking content is the only option.
According to Ms. de Boer-Buquicchio, improving cooperation between stakeholders is necessary if we want results. Given the number of universal and regional legal provisions and benchmarks that we have for the protection of the rights of children against sexual exploitation, she explains, “What really matters is the implementation”. Implementation of existing legal frameworks and standards requires cooperation between stakeholders, as well as more awareness and education about this issue.
In some cases, child commercial sexual exploitation is triggered by economic factors and children are unwillingly lured or coerced into providing sex for payment. The Special Rapporteur believes that education can help combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Education can help families out of poverty and, in turn, help pave the way to a better and safer world for children, she explains.
Ms. de Boer-Buquicchio applauded ECPAT International’s global contribution in combating the commercial sexual exploitation of children. She explained, “I am very grateful and indebted to the work of ECPAT International because what ECPAT has done is absolutely crucial, mainly to raise awareness and also to denounce situations which are terribly wrong, and call for relevant legislations to be amended”.
Early in her mandate, the Special Rapporteur would like to sit around the table with key stakeholders, including ECPAT, and identify priorities. One of the issues, high on her list of priorities to address, is the physical and psychological consequences of sexual abuse and exploitation. Ms. de Boer-Buquicchio also acknowledges she is just beginning, “I need to learn. I want to hear from international civil society organisations about what according to them are the priority areas”.
About Ms. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio:
Ms. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio is a Dutch jurist. Having joined the Council of Europe in 1969, she spent a substantial part of her career in the control mechanism set up under the European Convention on Human Rights. She was appointed Deputy Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights in 1998 and elected Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe in 2002, serving in that capacity for two successive mandates until September 2012. Currently she is the President of Missing Children Europe. She was appointed as the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography on 8th May 2014.
By: Amanuel Teferi Mamo
Communications and Advocacy Manager