Background to the mandate
In 1990, international awareness about the commercial sexual exploitation and the sale of children led to the appointment of a United Nations Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography through resolution 1990/68 of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. It mandated the Special Rapporteur to investigate the exploitation of children around the world and to submit reports to the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights, making recommendations for the protection of the rights of the children concerned.
The mandate on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography has been regularly renewed since then. It is the only mandate of the UN Special procedures system with an exclusive focus on children.
In its resolution 7/13, the Human Rights Council mandated the Special Rapporteur, in particular through visits and exchange of communications with Governments, to, inter alia:
- analyse the root causes of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography;
- address all the contributing factors, including demand;
- identify new patterns of sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography;
- identify, exchange and promote best practices on measures to combat the sale and sexual exploitation of children;
- promote comprehensive strategies and measures to prevent the sale and sexual exploitation of children;
- make recommendations on the promotion and protection of human rights of children, actual or potential victims, as well as on the rehabilitation of child victims of sale and sexual exploitation;
- integrate a gender perspective throughout the work of the mandate.
The mandate on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography is also guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted on 20 November 1989, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography which was adopted on May 25 2000. The Convention is now ratified by 194 States and the Optional Protocol by 169 states.
The mandate examines issues, trends and effects relating to the sexual exploitation of children online; sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism, including in the context of major sports events; child prostitution, child pornography and child trafficking for sale and sexual exploitation; and sale of children for the purpose of illegal adoption, transfer of organs, child marriage and forced labour. The recommendations of the Special Rapporteur are targeted primarily at Governments, United Nations bodies, the business sector and non-governmental organizations.
The current Special Rapporteur, Ms. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, was appointed in March 2014 by Human Rights Council resolution 25/6, for a three-year period. Upon her taking up functions as the fifth Special Rapporteur on the mandate, she expressed her intention to ensure the continuity of the work of her predecessors and to explore new directions to tackle new and persisting issues of concern which fall within the scope of her mandate. Most importantly, she intends to enhance the involvement of children in the work of her mandate to ensure that their voices are heard and taken into consideration in the design and implementation of measures to combat the sale and sexual exploitation of children and to better promote their rights and well-being.