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Type NGO
Founded 1990
  • Phayathai Road, Rachathewi, Bangkok, Thailand 10400.
Area served Global
Mission Realisation of the right of all children to live free of child prostitution, child pornography and child trafficking for sexual purposes. ECPAT 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.

ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) is a non-governmental organization and the only global network of civil society organizations exclusively dedicated to ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). ECPAT undertakes essential work to ensure the protection of children worldwide. It contributes substantially to the prevention and the fight against all forms of sexual exploitation. It focuses on ending four main manifestations of CSEC: child pornography (child sex abuse materials), the exploitation of children in prostitution, the trafficking of children for sexual purposes and the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism.

The ECPAT International network consists of a Secretariat, together with 81 national 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 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, a conference sponsored by the Ecumenical Coalition on Third world Tourism exposed the degree to which the prostitution of children was growing in parts of Asia. The consultation ended with a commitment to 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 hosted by 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).[1]


The commercial sexual exploitation of children is a fundamental violation of human rights and children’s rights. The key elements that this violation of children and their rights arises through a commercial transaction of some sort. That is, there is an exchange in which one or more parties gain a benefit – cash, goods or in-kind – from the exploitation for sexual purposes of someone under the age of 18.

The significance of defining in-kind transactions as commercial in nature should not be underestimated, not only because they are very common, but also because there is a tendency to view some such transactions as entailing consent on the part of a child. This includes cases where sexual exploitation occurs in exchange for protection, a place to sleep, or access to higher grades and/or promotion. The sexual exploitation of the child may profit a much wider range of people than the immediate beneficiary of the transaction. The remuneration factor distinguishes the concept of commercial sexual exploitation of children from the sexual abuse of a child where commercial gain is apparently absent, although sexual exploitation is also abuse. At the same time, it must be noted that there is a clear link between noncommercial sexual abuse of a child and the increased vulnerability of an abused child to commercial sexual exploitation.


End child prostitution[edit]

Child Prostitution occurs when someone benefits from a commercial transaction in which a child is made available for sexual purposes. Children are also involved in prostitution when they engage in sex in return for basic needs such as food, shelter or safety, or pocket money to purchase consumer goods. A child cannot consent to being prostituted and in all instances, abusers are exploiting the vulnerabilities of the child for their own gratification.

End trafficking of children for sexual purposes[edit]

The trafficking of children for sexual purposes refers to the cross-border or internal, recruitment, transportation, harbouring, transfer or receipt of children for the purpose of sexual exploitation. This crime happens in every country in the world and affects children from walks of life . ECPAT works to stop child sex trafficking.

End child pornography[edit]

Child pornography means any representation of a child engaged in real or simulated sexual activities or any representation of a child for primarily sexual purposes. Since the rise of the Internet, the sheer scale of child pornography online has become overwhelming. ECPAT wants to eliminate child pornography and the exploitation of children online.

End the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism[edit]

Children are the victims of traveler and tourists, either within their own country or internationally, who seek out and engages in sexual acts with them. Some offenders engage in sexual acts with children out of experimentation often fuelled by opportunity or a feeling of anonymity as a result of being away from their home.

Agenda for Action country reports[edit]

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.[2]

Network membership[edit]

The ECPAT network currently consists 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.[3]

ECPAT holds anInternational Assembly every three years to strengthen solidarity within thenetwork, share good practices and recent developments in the fight to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and to explore further opportunities for collaboration.[4]

The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from SexualExploitation in Travel and Tourism[edit]

The Code was developed by ECPAT Sweden after the First World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in 1996. It was implemented 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.[5]

Protecting children online[edit]

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are now an integral and positive component of modern life. They are as important to the educational and social development of children and young people as they are to the overall global economy. Yet their emergence as mass consumer products has also generated a number of unforeseen and unintended consequences. ICTs are enabling and promoting new forms of violence againstchildren and young people.

Around the world the rapidly expanding Internet space is making more children vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse. As Internet up-take rates climb in many parts of the developing world, the potential negative impact of ICTs on children could be disproportionately severe because: (i) parents, policymakers and children have less awareness of the related risks, and (ii) laws, law enforcement and social services may be lacking or scarce in comparison to more developed countries. Moreover the nature of the Internet means that a growth in online child sexual abuse material (CSAM) anywhere can have an impact everywhere. All countries thus have a stake in controlling this spread.

ECPAT International has identified, and is working to address, the following threats facilitated by ICT expansion and innovations: • Greater circulation of child pornography, increasingly through peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing platforms • Increased use of mobile devices by child predators • Use of cloud-based services to store and share Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) • Increase in lives streaming of child sexual abuse • Growth in the production of self-generated (“sexting” and “sextortion”) child sexual abuse materials • Growing trend in sexual abuse materials of young children, including infants • Use of the virtual currency Bitcoins to purchase CSAM

ECPAT International works with a wide range of partners to prevent the exploitation of children through the misuse of the Internet and information and communication technologies (ICTs). In addition to relying on the work in the field done by some of the members of its network, the Secretariat contributes and engages with other child rights organisations, for example, through it involvement at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and also collaborates with international law enforcement agencies. Its active participation as a member of the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) is an illustration of it. Mid-2014, ECPAT has been formally accepted as a member of the European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online (EFC) that brings together key actors from law enforcement, the private sector and civil society in Europe with the common goal of fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of children online by joining forces to take action on the payment and ICT systems that are used to run these illegal operations. It is also part of the International Telecommunication Union´s (ITU) Child Online Protection initiative (COP). ECPAT has signed agreements with major players such as the International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE), the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and Child Helpline International (CHI). It also articulates specific initiatives with industry partners ranging from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to online game providers, content and cloud providers, seeking to promote the development and the use of technological tools that will disrupt or reduce the availability of images of sexual abuse online.

ECPAT actively advocates at national, regional and global levels for the ratification of international and regional legal instruments such as the Optional Protocol to the Convention of the rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (Lanzarote convention), in addition to the harmonisation of national laws with these instruments.


The Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign, launched by ECPATInternational and The Body Shop (2009–2012), engaged the public as advocates and called 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.[6]


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.[7]



  1. ^ "ECPAT International". Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  2. ^ "EI/index_A4A". Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "ECPAT International". Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  5. ^ Ms. Anne van der TuukAbang Africa Travel (2013-11-21). "History". The Code. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ "EI/EI_publications". Retrieved 2014-01-31. 

External links[edit]