Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Review Tuesday: ECPAT International

ECPAT International is a global network of organisations and individuals working together for the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. It seeks to encourage the world community to ensure that children everywhere enjoy their fundamental rights free and secure from all forms of commercial sexual exploitation.

The ECPAT network is composed of ECPAT groups based all over the world; the International Board, elected by the International Assembly; and the International Secretariat. In 1996, the network consisted of 17 groups. By 1999, it had grown to 53 groups and, in 2007, there are over 80 groups in more than 70 countries. ECPAT groups are very diverse: some are large coalitions of NGOs; some are small groups composed of individuals. Some groups have activities covering a wide range of CSEC issues while others concentrate on only one aspect.

At ECPAT International, in addition to working with and supporting network members, the anti-CST programme works with governments, national tourism authorities, the tourism and travel industry, other child-rights organisations, international organisations, NGOs and local grassroots groups on various initiatives.  They vary from advocacy, specifically creating policies and legislations, to creating awareness-raising campaigns and conducting training for relevant stakeholders.  

 At a local level, ECPAT aims to strengthen and improve the capacities of grassroots organisations to reflect rights-based practices in the care and support of children. This is pursued with support for integration of care standards and child protection policies in care programs to ensure quality of services for the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration (or social integration) of children who have been commercially sexually exploited

Preventing Exploitation of Children
ECPAT works to ensure that the benefits of the Internet and new technologies are not compromised by those that seek to use it for the sexual exploitation of children. ECPAT works with governments, law enforcement, the technology industry and other NGOs to develop protocols for reporting and responding to such crimes, through awareness and education, reporting hotlines and other measures to help identify and assist the child victims. It also advocates and works for development of comprehensive national child pornography laws to protect children.

Strong laws, together with effective enforcement procedures which are child-friendly, are important to protect children from commercial sexual exploitation. Yet most countries still lack a comprehensive legal framework for deterring crimes, managing investigations, prosecuting perpetrators and protecting and assisting children in their recovery.

Get Involved!
Human trafficking is the third largest and fastest growing criminal activity in the world. It is estimated that approximately 1.2 million children are trafficked domestically or across borders each year.  In order to end this serious crime and abuse of children and young people, ECPAT and The Body Shop have formed a partnership to create and implement the global “STOP Sex Trafficking of Children & Young People Campaign.” For more information or to join the campaign, click here.

Speak Out!
It's important to talk about it. You raise awareness. But you can also prevent child abuse by not letting it be a secret.

Stay Informed!
Connect with ECPAT International by following online, where you can get the latest news, join campaigns and help spread the word to help protect children from sexual exploitation. Follow ECPAT online by clicking on any of the following icons :

"In my view, there is nothing more vicious and outrageous than the abuse, exploitation and harm of the most vulnerable members of our society, and I firmly believe that our nation's laws and resources need to reflect the seriousness of these terrible crimes."
--Bob Ney

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