Call for inputs on upcoming country visit to Montenegro
8 – 16 September 2021

At the invitation of the Government of Montenegro, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse material, Ms. Mama Fatima Singhateh, will conduct an official country visit to Montenegro from 8 to 16 September 2021.

Country visits are undertaken following an invitation by the Government and are prepared and conducted in close cooperation with the State concerned, in a spirit of cooperation and dialogue. The objective of the country visit is for the Special Rapporteur to gain first-hand understanding of issues related to her mandate, in particular measures taken to uphold and protect the human rights of child victims of sale and sexual exploitation. Following a country visit, the Special Rapporteur presents a report with her findings, conclusions and recommendations to the State concerned at the Human Rights Council session. The conclusions and recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur are a useful tool for States to improve measures to prevent and eliminate the sale and sexual exploitation of children, and to strengthen the national child protection systems. For more information about the objectives of country visits as well as the scope of the mandate and its working methods, please refer to Annex 1.

The Special Rapporteur will start and conclude her visit in Podgorica. She also intends to travel to other municipalities. During her visit, as part of gathering information from all relevant stakeholders, she intends to convene meetings with representatives of civil society working on child rights and protection issues, and with youth-led organizations and children. Additional information about the date and venue of these meetings will be shared in due course.

At the end of her mission on 16 September 2021, the Special Rapporteur will debrief the Government officials on her preliminary findings. In line with established practice, she will also hold a press conference at the end of her visit in order to share the preliminary findings with the broader public. Additional information on the time and the venue of the press conference will be shared in the coming weeks.

In preparation of the mission, the Special Rapporteur seeks relevant information from multiple stakeholders.

Call for Inputs

In preparation of the visit, the Special Rapporteur invites all interested individuals and organizations, including civil society organizations, activists, and academics, to provide input for the preparation of her visit. She would welcome information on issues related to the sale and sexual exploitation of children and violations having led to it, such as sale and trafficking; the sale of children for purposes of use in criminal activities, armed conflict, begging, forced labour, sports, adoption, marriage, transfer of organs, or other purposes; the exploitation of children for sexual purposes in travel and tourism; the possession, production and dissemination of child abuse material, which includes visual and non-visual depictions; the grooming or solicitation of a child, which involves conditioning a child to ensure he or she agrees to engage in sexual activity.

While all submissions are welcome and the questions below are not meant to be exhaustive, the Special Rapporteur would be grateful for comments that address topics such as:

  • The nature, scope and magnitude of sale and sexual exploitation of children;
  • The root causes and contributing factors of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, including demand for the sale and sexual exploitation of children;
  • Patterns of sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography;
  • The legislative, policy and institutional framework, including the legal framework and national strategies and mechanisms of cooperation to tackle the sale and sexual exploitation of children and provide assistance to victims;
  • Early support, including early identification and assistance provided to victims and survivors. Provision of comprehensive care, recovery and rehabilitation for child victims of sale and sexual exploitation;
  • Access to effective remedy, redress and in particular compensation to victims and other measures aiming at the social inclusion of survivors;
  • Investigation, prosecution and punishment of perpetrators and victims’ rights in criminal proceedings, including the non-criminalization principle of victims;
  • Measures aimed at prevention, interventions aimed at identified vulnerable groups; 
  • Cooperation and partnerships, especially regarding cross border cases but also partnerships and cooperation with other actors such as the private sector in countering this phenomenon including by businesses and supply chains;
  • Best practices on measures to combat the sale and sexual exploitation of children. Major challenges confronting the fight against sale and sexual exploitation of children;
  • Information and communication technologies facilitating the sale and sexual exploitation of children;
  • Sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism;
  • Surrogacy and sale of children;
  • Illegal adoptions.

Please send your input in Word format by email to srsaleofchildren@ohchr.org before 31 August 2021.

Please note that the Special Rapporteur is also open to receiving input via browser-based encrypted email. Please contact the Special Rapporteur and her team via srsaleofchildren@ohchr.org about how to further communicate via encrypted email. Please limit your submissions to a maximum of 2,500 words. Reports, academic studies and other types of background materials can be attached as an annex to the submission. All inputs will be treated confidentially by the Special Rapporteur and her team and for the sole purpose of preparing for the county visit. 

The Special Rapporteur greatly appreciates the effort that goes into making such contributions and looks forward to reading the submissions.

Annex 1

About the mandate and its methods of work

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council. The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 Member States responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.

Special Rapporteurs are selected on the basis of their expertise and experience in the area of their mandate, personal integrity, independence and impartiality and objectivity. They are not employed by the United Nations and receive no remuneration for their UN work.

Ms. Mama Fatima Singhateh (The Gambia) was appointed as the UN Special Rapporteur on sale and sexual exploitation of children by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2020. She started her mandate on 1 May 2020.

Ms. Singhateh is a trained lawyer with almost 20 years of experience, currently working as an international consultant on human rights and legal and institutional reforms. She holds a master’s degree in International Business Law from the University of Hull and has undergone numerous trainings in child rights programming, arbitration and mediation, and legislative drafting.  She speaks English.

The mandate of the Special Rapporteur is the only mandate of the UN Special procedures system with an exclusive focus on children.
to:

  • 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 primarily 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.

In the discharge of his/her mandate, the Special Rapporteur:

The purpose of country visit

Fact-finding missions or country visits are an opportunity for the Special Rapporteur to gain first-hand understanding of issues related to her mandate, in particular measures taken to uphold and protect the human rights of child victims of sale and sexual exploitation and the impact of national, regional and international measures on the human rights of victims, including efforts made and challenges encountered.

During a country visit, the Special Rapporteur will aim to meet all the concerned stakeholders ranging from national and local authorities, which include the executive, legislative and judicial branches; members of civil society; child rights and protection non-governmental organisations and experts; children; as well as the United Nations and other inter-governmental agencies. A country visit is always concluded by a press conference in order to present the preliminary findings of the mission. Country visits are undertaken following an invitation by the Government and are prepared and conducted in close cooperation with the State concerned. In preparation of the mission, the Special Rapporteur seeks relevant information from multiple stakeholders. The selection of countries for visits is based on a set of criteria, which are determined at the discretion of each mandate holder. 

These include indicators such as the prevalence of the phenomena of sale and sexual exploitation of children in the country, allegations of violations, implementation of effective programmes to prevent and combat the phenomena, information on whether visits have already been requested by previous mandate holders, follow-up to previous visits, communications sent by the mandate holder, ratification by States of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and their reporting status, and countries scheduled to undergo the next cycle of the Universal Periodic Review by the Human Rights Council. Invitations from States, as well as proposals from UN partners and nongovernmental organisations may also be at the origin of a visit. The selection of the countries to be visited also needs to reflect a geographical balance and tackle the transnational dimension of the phenomena. The conduct of a country visit is governed by the terms of reference for fact-finding missions, the code of conduct for Special Procedures mandate holders and the Manual of Operations of Special Procedures. These documents contain the key principles to ensure the independence of the fact-finding mission, the freedom of action of the Special Rapporteur, and the security and safety of his or her interlocutors. Following a country visit, the Special Rapporteur presents a report with her findings, conclusions and recommendations to the State concerned at the Human Rights Council session.

The conclusions and recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur are a particularly useful tool for States to improve measures to prevent and eliminate the sale and sexual exploitation of children, and to strengthen their national child protection systems.

Special Rapporteurs conduct two to three country visits per year, for a duration of generally one to two weeks. Information about countries visited by the Special Rapporteur can be seen at: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Children/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx