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ECPAT (known in Canada as Beyond Borders) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) and global network of organizations dedicated to ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). It primarily focused on stopping three main forms of sexual exploitation: child pornography, child prostitution and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. The network consists of an International Secretariat based in Thailand, together with 81local member organisations in 74 countries. The Bangkok based International Secretariat, provides technical support to member groups and coordinates research, advocacy and action to protect the rights of all children to live free from commercial sexual exploitation.
ECPAT International 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.
In 1990, researchers at a tourism consultation in Thailand first exposed the degree to which the prostitution of children was growing in parts of Asia. The consultation ended with a commitmentto take action and ECPAT was established as a three-year campaign focused on ending the ‘commercial’ aspect of child sexual exploitation. In 1996, in partnership with UNICEF and the NGO Group for the Rights of the Child (now known as Child Rights Connect), ECPAT co-organised the First World Congress against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Stockholm, Sweden. The Congress was hostedby the Government of Sweden, which also played a major role in attracting support and participation from concerned governments all over the world. It was clear that the commercial sexual exploitation of children was growing in other regions of the world. As a result of the Congress, ECPAT grew from a regional campaign into a global non-governmental organisation (NGO). ECPAT is mandated to monitor the commitments of governments around the world in their legal obligations to protect children from sexual exploitation. ECPAT has since been the central force behind the Second and Third World Congresses against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Yokohama, Japan – 2001, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 2008). http://www.ecpat.net/EI/Ecpat_history.asp
Agenda for Action country reports
ECPAT produces its Agenda for Action monitoring reports to examine countries around the world and their policies and laws to protect against the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Currently in their 2nd edition, these are the only country specific reports produced on action to stopthe commercial sexual exploitation of children.http://www.ecpat.net/EI/index_A4A.asp
The ECPAT network currentlyconsists of 81 member groups in 75 countries. These member groups (National andAffiliate) are independent civil society organisations consisting of grassrootsNGOs and coalitions of NGOs focused on a range of child rights violations. http://www.ecpat.net/EI/Publications/Annual_Reports/ECPAT_Annual_Report12011-2012.pdf
ECPAT holds anInternational Assembly every three years to strengthen solidarity within thenetwork, share good practices and recent developments in the fight to end thecommercial sexual exploitation of children, and to explore furtheropportunities for collaboration. http://www.ecpat.net/EI/Ecpat_intAssembly.asp
The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from SexualExploitation in Travel and Tourism
The Code was developed by ECPAT Sweden after the First World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in 1996. It wasimplemented for the first time in 1998 by the three principal tour operators in Sweden with much success. This led to the initiative being adopted by the international ECPAT network resulting in reaching over 1,300 signatories across 42 countries around the world. Since 2004, The Code has operated as an independent non-profit organisation. With board members coming from the tourism industry and non-industry sectors, the organisation is guided by a group of diverse, committed leaders. Today, The Code has become an essential responsible tourism tool for the industry to integrate child protection into its corporate social responsibility or sustainable tourism initiatives. http://www.thecode.org/about/history/
Protecting children online
ECPAT International works with industry partners to prevent the exploitation of children through misuse of the internet and information and communication technologies (ICTs). ECPAT International contributes and engages with other child rights organisations at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and collaborates with international law enforcement agencies within the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) of which ECPAT is a member. ECPAT is also a member of the ITU Child Online Project (COP) where ECPAT provides inputs and technical support for developing national strategy guidelines and also supports in the development of tools and resources for child online protection. ECPAT encourages Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to develop codes of conduct and include child-friendly information to prevent the criminal use of ICTs by those seeking to exploit children.
The Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign, launched by ECPATInternational and The Body Shop (2009–2012), engaged the public as advocates andcalled on governments to safeguard the rights of children and adolescents to protect them from sex trafficking. During the three-year campaign 7,044,278 petition signatures were collected worldwide. The petitions were presented to government officials around the world and to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in September 2012. http://www.ecpat.net/EI/Publications/Trafficking/Creating%20Change%20Throught%20Partnership_FINAL.pdf
ECPAT International produces a variety of research publications, resources and manuals for use by its network members, other NGOs, UN agencies, and researchers. These include studies on specific forms of commercial sexual exploitation, good practice models, and journals. http://www.ecpat.net/EI/EI_publications.asp
2013 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize
2012 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award
2012 Gold Standard Award for NGO engagement for the Stop Sex Trafficking of Children campaign
1998 Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize for Human Rights
- "About". ECPAT. Retrieved November 14, 2013.