End Child Prostitution and Trafficking
|Carol Bellamy (Chair)|
ECPAT International is a global network of civil society organisations that works to end the sexual exploitation of children. It focuses on halting the online sexual exploitation of children, the trafficking of children for sexual purposes and the sexual exploitation of children in the travel and tourism industry.
The ECPAT International network consists of 104 member organisations in 93 countries. Its secretariat is based in Bangkok, Thailand, providing technical support to member groups, coordinating research, and managing international advocacy campaigns.
In 1990, researchers and activists helped to establish ECPAT as a three-year campaign to end "sex tourism," with an initial focus on Asia. (The name originally stood for “End Child Prostitution and Trafficking,” but this full title is no-longer utilized as the term "child prostitution" is no longer used in the sector. Today the organization goes by its initials ECPAT.)
In 1996, in partnership with UNICEF and the NGO Group for the Rights of the Child (now known as Child Rights Connect), ECPAT International co-organised a global world congress against the 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 other governments. As a result, ECPAT grew from a regional campaign into a global non-governmental organization.
Between 2009 and 2012, ECPAT, in partnership with The Body Shop, helped run the Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign, which called on governments to safeguard the rights of children and adolescents to protect them from trafficking for sexual purposes. More than 7 million petition signatures were collected worldwide and presented to government officials around the world and to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Research and human rights reporting
ECPAT International produces a variety of research and resources for use by its network members, other NGOs, UN agencies, and researchers. These include regular country reports, regional reports and studies on specific forms of child sexual exploitation, such as the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism, and the online sexual exploitation of children.
ECPAT is mandated to monitor the commitments of governments around the world and their legal obligations to protect children from sexual exploitation. ECPAT produces regular country monitoring reports that are presented to the United Nations in Geneva, to follow up implementation of the Stockholm Agenda for Action (Stockholm, 1996).
The ECPAT network currently consists of 104 member organisations in 93 countries. These include independent civil society organisations, grassroots NGOs and coalitions of NGOs focused on a range of child rights violations.
The code of conduct for the protection of children from sexual exploitation in travel and tourism
The Code is a set of protocols that tourism operators may sign up to, in order to ensure that their businesses do not facilitate or encourage the sexual exploitation of children by travelers and tourists. The Code was developed by ECPAT Sweden in 1996 and is promoted through the international ECPAT network. Today, more than 1,300 tour operators, hotels, airlines and other travel businesses across 42 countries have signed up.
Protecting children online
ECPAT International works with law enforcement partners, such as INTERPOL, to prevent the online sexual exploitation of children. It engages with other child rights organisations, for example, through the Internet Governance Forum and is a member of the Virtual Global Taskforce and the European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online. ECPAT is also part of the International Telecommunication Union´s Child Online Protection initiative. ECPAT has signed agreements with the International Association of Internet Hotlines, the Internet Watch Foundation and Child Helpline International.
ECPAT advocates for the ratification of international and regional legal instruments such as the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote convention).
- 2017 the INTERPOL Crimes Against Children Award
- 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
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