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About the mandate

Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children

The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the sale, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children was created in 1990 by the Commission on Human Rights, pursuant to resolution 1990/68 .

In 2023, in its resolution 52/26, the Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further period of three years, in accordance with Human Rights Council resolutions 7/13, 34/16 and 43/22. At the same time, the mandate was renamed to: Special Rapporteur on the sale, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children.

The mandate 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 25 May 2000. The Convention has been ratified by 196 States and the Optional Protocol by 176 states.

Main functions

The main functions of the Special Rapporteur are:

  • To support States in developing legal and policy frameworks and child protection strategies through a child- and gender-responsive, disability-inclusive, victim-centred and trauma-informed approach and in a child-friendly manner to effectively prevent and eradicate new and emerging forms of the online and offline sale and sexual exploitation and abuse of children, in accordance with international human rights law;
  • To continue to report annually on the implementation of the mandate to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, in accordance with their respective programmes of work, making suggestions and recommendations on the prevention and elimination of all forms of sale and sexual exploitation and abuse of children and on the protection, rehabilitation, recovery, reintegration and access to justice of children who are victims and survivors, in a gender-responsive, disability-inclusive, victim-centred, trauma-informed, child-friendly and child rights-based manner, including on how to advance the protection capacities of communities and families, with the best interests of the child as a primary consideration;
  • To continue to cooperate with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children and other relevant mandate holders;
  • To seek views and contributions from States and other relevant stakeholders, including international organizations, national human rights institutions, civil society and children.

In the discharge of these functions:

  • The Special Rapporteur acts on information submitted to her regarding alleged sale, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children by sending urgent appeals and communications to concerned Governments and stakeholders to clarify and/or bring to their attention these cases. See Communications.
  • The Special Rapporteur conducts country visits upon the invitation of the Government, in order to examine the state of protection of the human rights of children in the given country. The Special Rapporteur submits a report of the visit to the Human Rights Council, presenting her findings, conclusions and recommendations. See Country Visits.
  • The Special Rapporteur participates in conferences, seminars and panels on issues relating to the sale, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children as well as issues press releases.
  • Annually, the Special Rapporteur reports to the Human Rights Council about the global state of the sale, sexual abuse and exploitation of children, her main concerns, and the promising practices observed. In her report, the Special Rapporteur informs the Council of all the communications she has sent, and the replies received from Governments. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur formulates specific recommendations with a view to enhancing the protection of the human rights of children. The Special Rapporteur also reports to the General Assembly. See Annual Reports.
  • The Special Rapporteur also contributes through amicus curiae, third-party interventions and expert opinions before domestic, regional and international courts in cases relating to the sale, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children.

Information for children on the mandate’s work is available in the child-friendly booklet and child-friendly factsheet