Tackling the demand for the sexual exploitation of children
During the 31st session of the Human Rights Council in March 2016, the Special Rapporteur Maud de Boer-Buquicchio presented her thematic report on tackling the demand for the sexual exploitation of children. Her statement, a summary in two parts of her interactive dialogue with Member States, and a summary of the side event organized on this subject are available through the relevant links.
Demand encompasses both the individual offenders who pay, financially or in kind, for sexual services involving children, and the social, cultural, gender and institutional constructs that create an environment in which the sexual exploitation of children is either ignored, tolerated or even accepted. Those who service the demand are intrinsically linked to the sexual exploitation of children and are thus included in the definition.
Key recommendations from her report
- Ratify all relevant regional and international instruments, and establish clear and comprehensive legal frameworks which specifically address the demand for child sexual exploitation by providing clear guidance on penalties that are commensurate with the gravity of the offence.
- Ensure the prosecution and conviction of all intermediaries, such as procurers, traffickers and facilitators in the tourism and entertainment industries, as well as financial and technology sector staff, at every level of the supply chain in order to effectively stem the sexual exploitation of children.
- Ensure that all the proceeds and assets derived from the sexual exploitation of children are effectively seized and confiscated in order to fund care, recovery and reintegration programmes, which should include compensatory measures for the victims.
- Ensure that national legislation does not criminalize child victims of sexual abuse and exploitation and ensure that children are not placed on sex offender registers.
- Ensure that children who are required to participate in criminal justice proceedings are given appropriate support and counselling to assist them at all stages of proceedings, and that they have access to a child-sensitive legal system to avoid their revictimization.
- Strengthening international cooperation in key areas, by sharing and updating information related to child victims and offenders to effectively investigate and prosecute perpetrators and criminal networks responsible for the sexual exploitation of children, and by promoting active membership of INTERPOL and partaking in and utilizing effectively the Green Notice system, particularly for the identification of travelling sex offenders.
- Conduct research to map all the levels of the demand factor in order to provide comprehensive and evidence-based data that will feed into comprehensive strategies to eradicate the sexual exploitation of children.
- Address the underlying causes of the demand factor through comprehensive awareness-raising and education of children, society at large and professionals working with children on gender equality, non-discrimination and the rights of the child.
- Enforcing and monitoring the compliance of the private sector with international guidelines such as the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism.
The Special Rapporteur is advocating for the implementation of these recommendations through her various activities and in particular through her work on the sexual exploitation of children through ICTs.