Individual complaints and online form

The Special Rapporteur acts upon information received with regard to cases of child rights violations or legislation, policies, programmes or other measures which affect or may affect child rights. Complaints can be sent by victims, their representatives, NGOs or other stakeholders claiming to have knowledge of such violations based on direct or reliable information.

To submit a complaint, please complete the online form.

Communications can also be submitted by email to urgent-action@ohchr.org or by postal mail to:
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10

General Information 

The Special Rapporteur can send communications to all States, regardless of their status of ratification of international human rights treaties. There is no requirement to exhaust domestic remedies prior to submitting a complaint to the Special Rapporteur.

Through these communications, the Special Rapporteur seeks to obtain further clarification on the allegations, requests an ongoing violation to be halted, encourages accountability of perpetrators and calls for redress for victims.

The Special Rapporteur prioritises safety and confidentiality in order to protect children and their representatives from any risk of reprisal. Communications are confidential until their publication in the Communications Reports of Special Procedures. The sources of the information are never disclosed by the Special Rapporteur. If the victim is under 18 years old, his or her name is made known in the confidential letter to the Government but it is not published in the Communications Reports.

The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure is an alternative avenue for addressing child rights violations. This complaint mechanism is quasi-judicial and decisions are taken by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. It can be pursued in parallel to a complaint sent to the Special Rapporteur, after domestic remedies have been exhausted.

Cases covered by the mandate

The Special Rapporteur undertakes action in the following cases:

  • sale of children: "any act or transaction whereby a child is transferred by any person or group of persons to another for remuneration or any other consideration" (Sale of children could be for purposes of i.e, sexual exploitation, use in criminal activities, begging, use in armed conflict, for sports, forced labour, for adoption, for marriage, for the use of their organs, or for other purposes);
  • sexual exploitation/child prostitution: "the use of a child in sexual activities for remuneration or any other form of consideration";
  • child sexual abuse material/child pornography: "any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes";
  • grooming or solicitation of a child, which involves conditioning a child to ensure he or she agrees to engage in sexual activity;
  • trafficking of children for the purposes outlined above;
  • sexual abuse against children when there are allegations of trafficking;
  • where a child is at serious risk of being victim of such offences.

In this section
Issues in focus

Related and external links

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Contact us

Ms. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio
Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations at Geneva
814 ave de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10
Fax: (+41 22) 917 90 06

Email: srsaleofchildren@ohchr.org