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Panel discussions

20th Anniversary of the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale and sexual exploitation of children


23 March 2022


08:00 NYC, 13:00 Geneva, 21:00 Tokyo


Virtual event (by Zoom) - register at the bottom of this page


OPSC 20th Anniversary Webinar

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989, and its Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (OPSC) of 2002, are the most comprehensive international legal instruments that promote and safeguard the rights of the child and protect children from sale, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. Together, these treaties represent the commitment of the international community to address the factors which contribute to such criminal acts against children. As of June 2021, the number of States parties to the OPSC stands at 177.

In 2022, the Committee on the Rights of the Child celebrates the 20th anniversary of the coming into force of the OPSC, which took place on 18 January 2002. To celebrate this historic event, the Committee, in collaboration with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children, the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Child Rights Connect and ECPAT, is convening a panel discussion to support States parties’ implementation of and reporting on their commitments under the OPSC, and to encourage ratification by States which are not yet a party.

The panel discussion will also highlight the continued relevance of the OPSC to current realities, including its use in combatting the sale and sexual exploitation of children in the digital environment, as well as the context of travel and tourism and of the COVID-19 pandemic, subjects which have received close treatment by the Committee.


The Committee, in collaboration with the Special Rapporteur, Special Representative of the Secretary General, the Slavery Fund, Child Rights Connect and ECPAT, is convening a public online celebration that brings together children, members of the Committee, States, NGOs, National Human Rights Institutions, professionals working on children’s rights and other interested stakeholders, to reflect on the achievements of the OPSC in the past 20 years, and what is needed to secure its implementation within the current context, both with respect to digital advances, travel and tourism, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sale and sexual exploitation of children. The ninety-minute event will follow the format of:

  1. "20 Years of the OPSC” – Screening (5 minutes)
    The screening of a video from the Voices of Survivors project, showcasing the recommendations and powerful quotes of the survivors of online sexual exploitation.
  2. “Moving from ratification to implementation in the digital age” – Roundtable discussion (75 minutes)
    In a roundtable moderated by 2 co-facilitators, a conversation will take place between the speakers, alternating between adults and child advocates. Emphasizing concrete examples of good practices, the discussion will include emerging forms of exploitation due to the digital environment and within the context of travel and tourism, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on increasing children’s risk to sale and sexual exploitation, the heightened risk faced by particular groups of children, including migrant, refugee and displaced children, the gender dimensions of sexual offences against children, access to complaint mechanisms and remedy, including direct relief provided by the Slavery Fund, and the establishment of continuous child participation processes in the development of prevention, protection and rehabilitation measures.
  3. Q & A, interactive session with the audience (10 minutes)

Simultaneous interpretation into English, French and Spanish, generously financed by the Government of Japan.

List of speakers

For more information

For further information on the event, please contact: [email protected]

On child safeguarding issues for the event, please contact: [email protected]

Please register here