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UNICEF in support of:
Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Report by the Inter-American Children's Institute
updated June 30, 2001
on the Situation Of Commercial Sexual Exploitation

of Children And Adolescents in the Americas

Dr. Ariel Gustavo Forselledo
Coordinator of the
Program on the Integral Promotion of Children's Rights

Introduction

In June 1999, the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), at its twenty-ninth regular session, held in Guatemala, adopted a resolution (AG3804/99) “to instruct the Inter-American Children’s Institute to deal systematically with the problem of the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in the region (...) in coordination with other organs, agencies, and entities of the United Nations system and other relevant organizations, in such a way as to propose the development of strategies and plans of action aimed at preventing and combating this scourge.”

The General Assembly also assigned the Inter-American Children's Institute (IIN) the preparation of an annual report to be presented to the Secretary General of the OAS, reporting the actions taken by the Member States to combat commercial and other sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.

In the year 2000, the IACI presented its first report to the Secretary General, which incorporated the opinions of the governments of the region and traced a panorama of the situation on this subject.

The present report is based on consultations at the governmental level about the actions taken by the Member States to follow up on the 1996 Stockholm Agenda for Action, in anticipation of the Second World Congress Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents, to be held in Yokohama, Japan, December 17-20, 2001.

Context

The issue of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in the Americas is a great challenge for the inter-American community, because it involves social, economic, political and cultural realities that are very dissimilar. Even so, and in all cases, this problem continues to be one of the most devastating of contemporary tragedies.

The invisibility and defenselessness of the victims, as well as the lack of public debate and responses from the State to commercial and non-commercial sexual exploitation of children as well as child pornography, are some of the most serious features of this present, inexplicable form of slavery.

In any case, we may affirm that the phenomenon exists in all countries of the inter-American system, although with differing intensity and characteristics. At the same time, trafficking of children for sexual purposes is also a compelling reality about which there is a lack of objective information.

The State and Civil Society have entered the new millennium with a lot of “good intentions” to attempt to combat a phenomenon that makes human beings into merchandise, specifically children and adolescents in circumstances of greater risk and vulnerability.

It is certain that an ethical-political movement was born with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but its greatest encouragement in the operative field comes from civil society organizations. This encouragement is transformed into a process that slowly but progressively reaches governmental levels and involves international organizations.

As mentioned earlier, the first sign that commercial and non-commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents is being recognized as a flagrant violation of their human rights, is the almost universal ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989.

More than a decade after the Convention was adopted, a second response emerged, with the intention of going from theory to practice. This was the World Congress held in Stockholm, Sweden in 1996, where the 122 participating countries agreed to establish national plans of action against sexual exploitation, with indicators of progress, adoption of measures and deadlines, and allotment of resources for the proper implementation of the measures.

In this context, the Inter-American Children's Institute (IIN), as a specialized organization of the Organization of American States (OAS) in child, adolescent and family affairs, gathered the interest and concern of its Member States about the problem of sexual exploitation of children, and, in 1998, became actively involved in addressing the problem.

The IIN's Integral Children's Rights Promotion Program, through its Area on Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents, has developed a Prototype of Targeted Public Policies and a corresponding Model Plan of Action to promote measures for the integral protection of children and adolescents against Commercial and Non-commercial Sexual Exploitation in the region. The Area also promotes projects in different fields, such as research, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, law enforcement, legal adjustment, and public awareness-raising.

This process has been made possible by the approval of the IIN Strategic Plan 2000-2004 by the Directing Council of the Institute, at its 75th meeting held in Ottawa, Canada, in June 2000.

One example of this is the progress that has been made in cooperation with some Latin American governments in the formulation and implementation of their Plans of Action, as well as the attempt to coordinate some activities with international organizations working on the issue of Sexual Exploitation in the region of the Americas. We should especially mention the cases of ECPAT and Focal Point, organizations with which the OAS, through the IIN, has established cooperation agreements that have been very valuable in giving continuity to the progress made in the struggle against the commercial and non-commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.

 

Development of an Instrument for Consultation

For the development of the present report, the IIN prepared a consultation for all of the Delegates of the OAS Member States to the Directing Council of the IIN, as well as the Directors of the countries' Governing Bodies on Child Affairs.

Following the criteria established in the Stockholm Agenda for Action, the following areas were considered:

I. Area of Coordination and Cooperation.

II. Area of Prevention.

III. Area of Protection.

IV. Area of Recovery and Reintegration.

V. Area of Participation.

We established a protocol of 42 questions that were sent by electronic mail and fax to the above-mentioned individuals. Of these questions, 41 were closed questions with space for optional comments, and one question was open-ended (a copy of the protocol of the survey is included in Appendix II).

 

Results Obtained

Of the 34 Member States of the OAS, 17 responded to the survey (50%) as shown in the Report submitted to OAS Secretary General  Dr. César Gaviria. After that date, the IIN received the answers of Jamaica and Bolivia, which are now incorporated into this revised version.  The survey results are presented below.

In the Area of Coordination and Cooperation of the Stockholm Agenda for Action

Existence of Plans of Action

Of all the countries that responded to the survey, 47.4% stated that they do have National Plans of Action Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents; 52.6% stated that they do not yet have Plans; 47.4% stated that they have defined objectives and timelines; and 36.8% stated that they have planned mechanisms for implementation, supervision and evaluation (figure 1).

 Figure 1
Percentage of countries with Plans of Action

 

For their part, 47.4% of the countries include the participation of civil society in their National Plans of Action: 36.8% in the area of planning, 47.4% in the area of execution, and 31.6% in the area of evaluation (figure 2).

Figure 2
Categories of civil society participation

Comments on Plans of Action

Below are the comments made by some of the countries that responded to the consultation, with respect to this information (sources are listed in Appendix I):

Argentina

The National Child and Family Council (CNMF) is working toward local and provincial adhesion to the National Plan of Action.

Bolivia

The Plan of Action is made up of the National Plan for the Eradication of Child Labor.

Brazil

The National Plan to Address Sexual Violence Against Children and Youth, coordinated by the Ministry of Justice/DCA, was prepared by a Committee made up of representatives of this agency, as well as four non-governmental organizations that are part of a network to address the problem, articulated by ECPAT Brazil and UNICEF, using the input of the network for a continual process of two years of work. This network is made up of public agencies from the three spheres and the three State branches, as well as non-governmental organizations working in the field. One hundred and thirty institutions from the network participated in the final discussion of the Plan, having also involved the most central international organizations and five youth representatives, including some who had experienced sexual violence.

Canada 

Although Canada does not have a NATIONAL PLAN OF ACTION AGAINST THE COMMERCIAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS, it does still support the principles of the Stockholm Agenda for Action.

Canada has an integrated strategy that it considers more suitable to the country's federal structure. Also, although legislation on child welfare is provincial, an interdepartmental federal group was created after the Stockholm Congress to monitor the issue.

Colombia

The policy of the current government includes several actions to address this problem: 1) Peace-Building and Family Living – “Haz Paz” (Make Peace) – with the components of Prevention, Detection and Care for family violence and child abuse; 2) Inter-institutional Committee to combat trafficking of women and children; and 3) Design and application of models of care for victims of sex crimes.

Colombia intends to articulate these plans of action. In 1997, a plan of action in favor of the rights of sexually exploited children and against sexual exploitation of children was designed; the results are currently being evaluated and consolidated.

Costa Rica

The PLAN OF IMMEDIATE ACTION AGAINST THE COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS was adopted in April 2000 by the National Child and Adolescent Council and is being executed by the non-governmental institutions and organizations that make up the National Commission Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents (CONACOES). They are currently in the process of defining priorities for the year 2001.

There is also a NATIONAL AGENDA FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS for the 2000-2001 period, which includes goals and commitments relative to "Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Minors.”

Dominican Republic

The national Plan was designed in 1999, but its implementation has not been made effective, due to a lack of mechanisms such as funding sources, inter-institutional coordination, and timelines for activities, among others.

El Salvador

The Salvadoran Institute for Child Protection (ISPM) has participated as a member of the ECPAT El Salvador Network Against the Commercial and Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents, through the Child Protection Agency and the Preventive Care Division, carrying out direct intervention in the population.

Guatemala

The PGN is currently coordinating a Commission to work on the design of a Plan of Action.

Guyana

The country does not have a Plan of Action, but does plan to implement one based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Nicaragua

The country has begun the process of preparing a Public Policy and a National Plan of Action. Representatives from civil society are participating in this process.

Peru

The country has a Board on Commercial and Non-Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

United States of America

The United States has a NATIONAL PLAN OF ACTION AGAINST THE COMMERCIAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS, with definite objectives and a timeline of activities.

As the country is a Federation of States, the State Department is only in the position to respond from the perspective of the federal government, and not from that of the individual states.

The mechanisms for ensuring implementation, supervision and evaluation are carried out through annual reports and the vigilance of Congress.

Although civil society participation is included, it is not in conjunction with the State per se; however, it is through public opinion.

Venezuela

Commercial and Non-commercial Sexual Exploitation is part of the National Plan for the Protection of Children and Adolescents. There is no specific plan on the issue.

 

Studies and Databases

In terms of studies on the issue, 89.51% of the countries that responded stated that they have studied the problem significantly. Of these, 63.5% place an emphasis on sexual abuse, 84.2% emphasize sexual exploitation, and 63.1% focus on sexual violence (figure 3). Also, 84.2% stated that they have made the results public, although only 36.8% of them have databases.

Figure 3
Percentage of countries where studies were done,
and the thematic emphasis of those studies

Comments on Studies and Databases

Argentina

In the year 2001, a database will be created within the Child and Adolescent Social Observatory (a project being run under the CNMF jointly with PROAME, SIEMPRO and UNESCO) and will include the problem of sexual exploitation as one of its indicators.

Brazil

A specialized national database has been developed jointly by the Ministry of Justice, UNICEF and CECRIA, and may be consulted on the Internet at www.mi.gov.br/cecria or www.cecria.org.br. A National Network of Information on Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents has been established as a decentralized space for the articulation of databases. Until April 2001, information will be fed into this network in a decentralized manner in the five geographic regions of Brazil.

Canada

In terms of databases on Sexual Exploitation, Canada stated that it has not created a specific database on this issue. Different levels of government, as well as universities and institutes, are carrying out research on the issue. For example:

The study of the impact of child abuse and neglect also covers sexual abuse as one of the forms of abuse. The data in this study are compiled in the Health Canada database. 

There is also a gender analysis of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, also available from Health Canada.

A book on the Best Practices in Sex Education, for educators and public health professionals, has been developed as a resource for officers working in programs to combat sexual exploitation, among others. This document was produced by “Status of Women Canada.”

Justice Canada and Health Canada have also produced studies. One example is the preliminary estimate of the costs of sexual abuse in Canada.

Colombia

In terms of studies on commercial and non-commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, there is an information system that includes all of the situations in which children's rights are threatened, including sexual abuse. The results of the execution of the 1997 plan have not yet been evaluated and systematized.

Costa Rica

The country is currently in the process of collecting information in order to create a database on the subject. CONACOES has already prepared and approved an instrument for compiling this information. 

Dominican Republic

The country is in the process of installing databases on the issue.

El Salvador

Information is processed manually and individually by each institution, although efforts are being made to build a single protocol for care.

Guyana

The country has not yet considered doing studies on the issue, as there have not been a significant number of cases reported.

Panama    

A study has been done on institutional experiences with respect to sexual and other abuse of children.

Peru

Materials have been produced for fathers and mothers who have been sexually abused.

United States of America

The results of the studies on Commercial and Non-commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents have not been made public, but the projects are in the process of execution. These research projects are carried out through grants from the Office of Justice Programs (the National Institute of Justice, the Violence Against Women Office, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention).

No specific databases have been created on the issue or by case. Databases and files on child abuse and abandonment are available through the Government's National Criminal Justice Research Service.

Venezuela

The National Council for Rights, an entity that includes the State and Civil Society, is finalizing the Strategic Plan 2001, containing a study and databases.

 

Allotment of Resources for Plans of Action

The allotment of resources seems to be a weak point. Only 42.1% of the countries that responded to the survey stated that they have allotted additional resources for the National Plan of Action; 36.8% have not allotted any resources at all, and 10.5% do not have information on this particular question. Also, only 5.3% of the countries stated that they consider these allotted resources to be sufficient, and 31.6% stated that they are in fact not sufficient.

Comments on Allotment of Resources

Brazil

When the Plan was launched, the Child and Adolescent Department's Multi-annual Plan for 2000-2003 had already been designed by the National Plan's coordinating entity, with additional funds.

Canada

Although there is no specific plan of action, Canada has allotted special funds for the above-mentioned studies, as well as for the prevention of related criminal activities and citizen security. In June 1998, Justice Canada and Canada's Solicitor General launched the second phase of the National Strategy for Community Security and Crime Prevention, providing $32 million a year for five years to develop community-based prevention projects. Justice Canada will also provide $20 million in the next four years towards federal initiatives and programs for victims.

Costa Rica

The country is currently in the process of defining the budget, which will include items for specific projects.

Dominican Republic

The country is currently in a period of change and funds have not been allotted for the Plan. There is a willingness to contemplate investing in support for social policies, although through individual, non-articulated actions.

Guatemala

Resources have not yet been allotted because the Plan of Action has not yet been defined.

United States of America

Additional resources have been defined to give sustainability to the Plan of Action. These resources are sufficient for the federal research and training agencies. 

Venezuela

The Child Protection Plan receives financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank.

 

Adjustment of National Legislation

Of the countries that responded, 47.4% stated that their national legislation has been adjusted to incorporate the Plan of Action, and 63.1% stated that new legislation has been created on the subject.

Comments

Argentina

Argentina's Criminal Code includes several provisions on this issue. Section 3, titled "Crimes Against Sexual Integrity,” in accordance with part 2 of the international agreement, establishes that these offenses will be punished by reclusion or prison for a period of six months to four years. When the duration or circumstances of the abuse have resulted in a particularly harmful degradation of the victim, the sentence will be from four to ten years of reclusion or prison. This crime may also be aggravated, which would increase the sentence
to eight to twenty years of reclusion or prison, if the abuse resulted in serious damage to the physical or mental health o the victim. There are also aggravating factors for this sentence (article 120), when the offenses are committed against a person under the age of sixteen. Article 125 makes specific reference to the corruption of minors under the age of eighteen years: the article states that, even with the consent of the victim, the crime would be punishable by three to ten years of reclusion or prison. The sentence will be from six to fifteen years of reclusion or prison if the victim is under thirteen years of age.

Chapter 3 is more specific in terms of sentences for behavior described by the agreements, such as:

1-       Corruption of Minors.

2-       Prostitution of Minors.

3-       Trafficking of Persons for the Purpose of Prostitution.

Then, there are the provisions of Section 5, titled “Crimes Against Freedom,” which refer to crimes against individual freedom, in agreement with Part 1 of Convention 182.

Article 129 states that the obscene exhibition of minors will be punished with a sentence of six months to four years in prison.

Canada

National legislation has been adjusted to incorporate the above-mentioned strategies, through the following changes:

Bill C-7 is an amendment to the Criminal Records Act that received Royal Assent on March 30, 2000, and which provides for the automatic revocation of pardon upon subsequent conviction.

Bill C-27 is an amendment to the Criminal Code (including child prostitution, sex tourism, criminal harassment and female genital mutilation), which entered into force on May 26, 1997. This Bill is especially aimed at sex tourism, and includes criminal proceedings against Canadian citizens who have engaged in sexual activities with children while abroad.

Bill C-51 is another amendment to the Criminal Code that permits the Police to use electronic means to investigate organized prostitution telephone lines, and also extends the powers of Justice to forbid accused persons from having contact with the victims or witnesses.

Bill C-40 is related to extradition, amending the Canada Evidence Act, the Criminal Code, the Immigration Act, and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act. This Bill makes the process of extradition more accessible for other countries and allows the use of video and audio technology to provide testimonies by witnesses both in Canada and abroad.

Other changes are in the process of being made. For example, Justice Canada has published a document titled “Child Victims and the Criminal Justice System” as part of its project on the victimization of children.

Colombia

Colombia's legislation has been adjusted to incorporate the Plan of Action on the issue. To this end, sentences for this crime have been extended, laws 294/96, 360/97 and 575/99 have been processed, and there is currently discussion about protocols to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking of women and children and to combat transnational organized crime.

New legislation on the subject is represented by the Reform to the Colombian Criminal Code and the International Agreements that strive to fight this scourge, as well as proposals for the modification of existing laws.

Costa Rica

Significant changes have been made to the existing criminal code, including the creation of new penalties. There are also other bills relative to the issue.

Dominican Republic

In terms of the adjustment of legislation, when the Plan of Action was prepared, a legal framework was already in place: Laws 14-94 and 24-97.

El Salvador

The country maintains that there is a need to carry out sensitization work at decision-making levels in order to incorporate the Plan of Action. Bills of law have been prepared with respect to the penalization of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents.

Guyana

Legislative action will be taken in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant child-related laws.

Mexico

At the Federal level, adjustment of legislation has been partial; at the State level, it has not yet been done.

Panama

Law 27 of 1995 has been created, and on February 7, 2001, it was subject to a first debate on reform in Parliament.

United States of America

The adjustment of national legislation to incorporate the Plan of Action is under constant review and amendment processes. The United States has created new legislation on the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, through the continuous procedures of reviewing the lines taken by statutory and case law on the issue. 

The Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice is the entity responsible for handling the issue of sexual exploitation for the country.

Uruguay

In terms of adjustment of national legislation to incorporate the Plan of Action, the House of Representatives Commission on Constitution, Legislation and Codes is currently discussing a bill on the issue.

With respect to new legislation on children, the new Child and Adolescent Code is pending approval.

Venezuela

The Charter on the Protection of Children and Adolescents (LOPNA) includes the issue.


Coordination of International Cooperation

Of the countries that responded to the survey, 42.1% stated that there has been greater and better coordination of international cooperation in the use of resources for the Plan of Action; 21% claimed the contrary, and 15.8% did not have information on the question.

Comments

Brazil

The National Plan to Address Sexual Violence is a reference for all. This Plan has already been discussed at a National Forum (and also in State fora) for the Eradication of Child Labor, with the participation of UNICEF, the ILO and USAID/Pommar, as well as UNIFEM (through representation of the Ministry of Justice, which, under a cooperation agreement with UNIFEM, develops its work of advocacy for the rights of young women in situations of sexual abuse and exploitation).

El Salvador

Different international organizations have made proposals to support the effort made by the Plan, in an inter-institutional manner.

Jamaica

Coordinates actions with UNICEF, which is the agency supporting sexual exploitation actions in the country.

Peru

International cooperation institutions are part of the Board on Sexual Exploitation. 

 

Allotment of More Resources for the Plan of Action

Of the countries that responded to the survey, 63.1% stated that, in the past year, they have assigned more resources for the Plan; 31.6% have not.

Comments

Brazil

The Government of Brazil has established the Program to Prevent and Combat Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children and Adolescents for the 2000-2003 period. In the year 2000, mindful of the already-launched National Plan, the resources were supplemented by the Secretariat of State for Social Assistance.

El Salvador

Work has been done to integrate inter-institutional resources to better take advantage of them and to achieve better results together.

Guatemala

Resources have been allotted through international cooperation channels such as IPEC/ILO and Radda Barnen of Sweden.

Jamaica

More national and international resources have been allotted to address this subject last year.

Peru

The ILO's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) has been supporting a Project to Care for Victims of Sexual Exploitation in coordination with the National Institute for Family Welfare (INABIF).

Uruguay

International cooperation resources for work on this issue have been given directly to NGOs and not to the National Institute for Minors. 

 

Existence of a Specific Entity or Program on the Issue

Of the countries that responded, 73.7% stated that their governing bodies on child affairs have a specific entity or program on the problem of sexual exploitation.

Comments

Argentina

The National Child and Family Council (CNMF) has training, sensitization and information courses on commercial and sexual exploitation targeted at professionals and workers in the field of children.

Bolivia

There is a bureau and a national sub-commission to address the subject.

Brazil

Brazil does not have an executive agency that coordinates comprehensive child care. The National Council for Child and Adolescent Rights is a deliberative body responsible for formulating the guidelines for national policies and controlling the work at all levels. As mentioned above, the government of Brazil established the Program to Prevent and Combat Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children and Adolescents for the 2000-2003 period. In the year 2000, mindful of the already- launched National Plan, the resources were supplemented by others from the Program for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor (PETI), under the management of the Secretariat of State for Social Assistance.

Canada

In terms of the existence of a Department or Program to handle the issue of Sexual Exploitation in the governing body on child affairs, Canada has an Interdepartmental Committee that examines the activities and programs being run throughout the country to combat the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents and the sex trade. Presiding over the Committee is Senator Landon Pearson, in her role as advisor on Children's Rights to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Costa Rica

The governing body on child and adolescent affairs is the NATIONAL CHILD COUNCIL. This institution includes various entities that handle the issue directly: the Technical Secretariat for Protection, which supervises, advises and gives technical orientations to the Non-governmental Organizations under contract to care for persons affected by Commercial Sexual Exploitation. Also, the Local Office in San José was created to care for children at social risk. The Promotion Area is in charge of advisory services and administration of the Child and Adolescent Protection Councils. The National Child Council coordinates the Executing Agency of the Costa Rican National Commission Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents (CONACOES), which is an entity that proposes, plans and monitors national activities included in the Plan of Action.

Dominican Republic

There is a governing body on child affairs in the country, but the work done in the field of sexual exploitation is neither continuous nor articulated.

El Salvador

The Salvadoran Institute for Child Protection (ISPM), the governing body on child and adolescent affairs, runs preventive and care programs relative to Sexual Exploitation.

Jamaica

The country has an entity in the Governing Body , although not exclusively dedicated to Sexual Exploitation.

Peru

The Ministry for the Promotion of Women and Human Development (PROMUDEH) is the governing body on child and adolescent affairs, and has a normative organ and an Office of the Manager of Promotion of Children and Adolescents, as well as an executing organ, the INABIF, which is responsible for the issue of Sexual Exploitation.

Uruguay

A Working Group, with both State and Civil Society participation, has been planned to address the issue of Sexual Exploitation.

 

In the Area of Prevention

Prevention Campaigns

With respect to the Area of Prevention, 68.4% of the countries stated that they have developed preventive information campaigns aimed at increasing public understanding of the issue, while 26.3% have not.

Comments on the Approaches Taken by Prevention Campaigns

Argentina

Only the contents of the campaigns have been designed; the country hopes to implement them during the year 2001, in an inter-sectoral manner at the governmental level.

Brazil

Two permanent national campaigns have been carried out. The first campaign is especially focused on the area of sexual abuse and exploitation of children and adolescents, articulated by a National System of Receipt, Treatment, Accompaniment, Monitoring and Evaluation of Reports of Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents. This operates a national confidential reporting line, which is toll-free at 0800 99 0500. This System, part of the Ministry of Justice, is operated jointly with a specialized NGO called “Abrapia.” The campaign is supported by videos, audio tapes, posters and brochures. The second campaign is developed by the Brazilian Pediatric Society and focuses on violence against children and adolescents. It is targeted more toward health and legal professionals. Also, various regional campaigns have been carried out in the five geographic regions of Brazil.

Canada

Preventive work has been done with the financial support of “Status of Women Canada,” aimed at developing public awareness on the issue. Educational campaigns have also been developed on issues related to life on the streets, business and sexual exploitation, as well as violence against women.

Canada is making efforts to increase awareness among diplomatic personnel stationed abroad about the country's extraterritorial laws.

One of the objectives of the international cooperation effort involved in “Out of the Shadows, Into the Light” is to increase knowledge about the scope and scale of sexual exploitation of children, and to change public attitudes about the acceptability and inevitability of children and adolescents involved in the Canadian sex market.

The approach and materials used for prevention include:

-         Press reports.

-         Press conferences.

-         Pamphlets.

-         The above-mentioned book for educators and public health professionals.

-         Training sessions for youth agencies and service providers.

-         Sensitization of politicians and government representatives about the issue.

-         Workshops with street children.

-         Educational videos.

-         Posters.

Colombia

Preventive actions used an educational approach, aimed at encouraging cultural change through the sensitization of students, community leaders, the national police force, and employees of State entities and community organizations.

Costa Rica

The approach has been one of restitution and validation of the rights of children and adolescents, using a preventive approach in the affected population; using a sensitizing approach in the population in general, visualizing commercial sexual exploitation as one of the worst forms of slavery in contemporary times, which violates rights; and using a repressive approach with exploiters and procurers.

Materials include posters, diverse signs, audiovisual material, radio and television publicity, signs, images, press conferences, information on the Internet, etc.

Dominican Republic

In terms of educational campaigns, the media (radio, television and newspapers) were used to reach the population of NNA community leaders, teachers, and the community in general. Signs were put up, notices were targeted to tourists, and there was an effort to sensitize the population. Also, the month of April was declared “National Child Abuse Prevention Month.”

El Salvador

The approach has been educational, informative and focused on reporting offenses. There have been posters, workshops, fora, panels, training and conferences on the issue.

Guatemala

The Children's Defender and the Attorney for Human Rights, as well as PRONICE (NGOs) have developed activities and posters for public information and sensitization.

Guyana

Campaigns have been, and continue to be, carried out to raise public awareness about Children's Rights.

Jamaica

By means of a Child Support Unit prevention campaigns were carried out . The Ministry of Health has available radio programs to this purpose , although they are neither sustained nor intensive.

Honduras

Isolated efforts have been made by non-governmental institutions and organizations, using the radio and print media.

Mexico

The issue has been made public through the use of signs, brochures and radio programs. The focus has been to sensitize the population about the existence of this social problem.

Panama

The approach has focused on the dissemination of educational modules and the preparation of the Manual of Norms and Procedures for Comprehensive Care. Various documents have also been printed.

United States of America

Preventive work to increase public understanding of the issue has been done through Internet security campaigns aimed at schools and parents' organizations. There are also programs being implemented to establish a public anti-trafficking service and assistance to NGOs for the development of information brochures.

Uruguay

In terms of measures to assist children who are vulnerable or at greater risk, the country has developed specific programs for street children.

 

Economic and Social Measures to Help Children at Social Risk

Of the countries that responded, 73.7% have developed economic and social programs or measures to help children in situations of greater vulnerability or social risk, and the other 26.3% have not.

Comments

Argentina

The country has established measures through the Program for the Strengthening of Family Ties.

Dominican Republic

The country has implemented economic measures, but they are not sufficient.

El Salvador

The measures taken in this country are aimed at the protection of children and adolescents who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

Guatemala

Several NGOs, such as “Madres Oblatas” and “Casa Alianza,” have developed programs to help children who are vulnerable or at higher risk.

Jamaica

There is a Program for Children at risk.

Panama

The Ministry of Youth, Women, Children and the Family (MINJUMNFA) and its different Offices have developed measures for the most vulnerable children.

Peru

The country has developed a national proposal for street educators who work with children in high-risk circumstances.

United States of America

The economic and social measures implemented to help children and adolescents in situations of vulnerability or higher

risk are part of the assistance provided by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Uruguay

The INAME has a series of care programs for street children.

Venezuela

In the tourist zones of Puerto La Cruz and Margarita, measures have been implemented, but they are not permanent and do not exist in the rest of the country.

 

Legal Norms to Prevent Sexual Exploitation

In terms of laws to prevent sexual exploitation, 63.1% of countries indicated that they have developed resources that are appropriate for this goal. Of all the countries, 78.9% have mobilized the media, 52.6% have mobilized the private sector, and 42.1% have also involved the tourism industry (figure 4).

Figure 4
Percentage of countries that developed laws for
prevention and the mobilization of prevention sectors

Comments on Legal Norms

Bolivia

The new Code for Children and Adolescents of Bolivia includes provisions addressed to preventing all kinds of ill-treatment, abuse and exploitation.

Costa Rica

This country has a legal framework that includes the activities of the Commission and the different levels working on behalf of children and adolescents. This includes:

Y      The Political Constitution of the Republic.

Y      The Convention on the Rights of the Child, Law 7184.

Y      The Child and Adolescent Code, Law 7739.

Y      The Charter of the National Child Board, Law 7648.

Y      The Juvenile Criminal Law Act, Law 7576.

Y      The Family Code, Law 5456.

Y      The Law Against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace and in the Teaching Environment, Law 7476.

Y      The Law Against Domestic Violence, Law 7586.

Y      Reforms to the Criminal Code: The Law Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Minors, Law 7899.

Dominican Republic

In terms of legal norms to prevent Sexual Exploitation, the country has the above-mentioned laws 14-94 and 24-97.

El Salvador

Proposals have been aimed at stricter penalization of exploiters and procurers.

Comments on the Sectors Mobilized

Canada

The media, the private sector and the tourism industry have been mobilized. Information on sex tourism involving children has been prepared by Justice Canada and put on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade – one of the websites most frequently visited by Canadian travelers.

Dominican Republic

In terms of mobilization of social actors for prevention, the National Police Force, the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic, the Universities, Civil Society and a 24-hour Help Line are all working partially.

Panama

Scholarship programs to raise awareness on the subject have been developed for the tourism industry.

United States of America

The following social actors have been mobilized for prevention:

-         The media, through the “1998 Internet Summit.”

-         The private sector, working in partnership with NGOs and the ISP reports on child pornography.

-         The tourism industry, through information brochures against sex tourism, as well as through meetings with travel groups.

In the Area of Protection

With respect to the Area of Protection, 100% of the countries that responded to the consultation stated that they have appropriate legislation to criminalize those who are directly responsible for exploitation.

It is interesting to note that 78.9% of the countries stated that they are applying existing legislation, while 10.5% confessed that it is not being applied, and 5.3% stated that they do not have information (see figure 5).

Figure 5
Legislation and its application

Of the countries, 84.2% criminalize service providers, clients and intermediaries; 63.1% penalize possession of child pornography; and 26.3% do not. For their part, 78.9% of the countries penalize the national or international trafficking of children, and 15.8% do not. As well, 26.3% include extradition in their legal framework (see figure 6).

Figure 6
Measures of legal protection

Comments 

Argentina

In the framework of MERCOSUR, the Ministry of the Interior is in charge of the issue of Trafficking and Sale of Children.

Bolivia

There are difficulties in the applicability of the legislation in force, while humanitarian aspects are disregarded.

Canada

The country has the above-mentioned Bills C-27 and C-51, although legislation varies in the different provinces.

With respect to possession of child pornography, after the appeal of a court decision on the issue, the Canadian Supreme Court decided to maintain the prohibition of the production and distribution of pornographic material, indicating that the benefits of prohibiting the possession of child pornography are more important than the moral effect on the right to freedom of expression.

In terms of national and international trafficking of children, Section 280-283 of Canada's Criminal Code penalizes this offense. On April 26, 2000, the Human Rights Commission approved the text of the Draft Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, developed in light of growing concern about the significantly growing problem of child trafficking for the purposes of sale, prostitution and pornography.

With respect to extradition, Canada has the above-mentioned Bill C-40.

In terms of the application of current laws, the efforts to apply them against child pornography have sometimes been impeded by claims from some sectors that civil liberties and individual privacy rights are being violated.

Costa Rica

Extradition is possible for other kinds of offenses, but not for sex crimes with the specificity of Sexual Exploitation. The country is in the process of deciding how to classify “cyber crimes,” an issue addressed by the Ministers of Justice at the 3rd Meeting of the Americas and the Caribbean.

Dominican Republic

In the future, the country plans to establish tougher sentences for crimes associated with sexual exploitation, pornography and trafficking.

Mexico

The country's legislation was recently created, and research is required to see if it is being applied correctly.

In terms of the treatment of children and adolescents affected by sexual exploitation, 68.4% of the countries stated that these children receive humanitarian treatment and are considered victims, and 52.6% stated that they guarantee support services for victims.

Comments

Argentina

The country does not have enough specialized officers to carry out the care and support work.

Brazil

There are various care and support services in the country, but it has not been possible to guarantee these services for all child victims.

Canada

Canada does not guarantee support services for victims, although there are various support services, shelters, counseling, community centers, etc. which are available to children and adolescents if they choose.

Colombia

We may affirm that, in the case of children, support services for victims are guaranteed. This is not the case for women who are victims of sexual exploitation.

Costa Rica

There are clear instructions that must be considered in the humanitarian treatment of children affected by sexual exploitation. These instructions precisely emphasize humanitarian treatment. However, within the institutional framework, there is a need for even more sensitization and training work to overcome social and individual myths.

There are support programs for victims. There is a need for greater maturity of the process in order to achieve this guarantee.

Dominican Republic

In terms of legislation, the country is in the process of re-ordering the institutions so that they may better apply the Law.

Efforts are also being made to strengthen all of the lines of support for victims.

El Salvador

The country tries to guarantee support services for victims through protection, health and insertion into the education system and/or technical learning activities.

United States of America

In terms of the guarantee of support services for victims, in most circumstances and for a limited period of time, the term “guaranteed” could be difficult for executing actions.

 

In the Area of Recovery and Rehabilitation

With respect to the Area of Recovery and Rehabilitation, 73.7% of the countries have adopted a non-punitive approach to victims, while 21% have not. Also, 68.4% of the countries provide comprehensive care to victims in legal proceedings and 47.4% have developed measures to train those who work with victims. Of all the countries that responded, 52.6% have implemented measures to eliminate social stigmatization and 47.4% stated that they have effective measures to facilitate recovery and reintegration of victims into their families and the community (see figure 7).

Figure 7
Measures for Recovery and Reintegration

Comments

Argentina

Measures are starting to be implemented in this area, but are not sufficient; the training of professionals in this issue must be strengthened.

Canada

There is no definite non-punitive approach. Some consider “safehouses” to be punitive. For example, “John schools” are an attempt to change the perception of the consumer.

Canadian courts provide comprehensive care to victims through legal assistance services, as well as support for victims and witnesses.

In terms of training of personnel who work with victims, these workers have been sensitized through public education campaigns. Also, training materials have

been developed, and, more and more, young people who have participated in the sex trade are becoming involved in victim support work. 

In order to eliminate the social stigmatization of victims, awareness-raising campaigns are currently being carried out, although other educational measures are required as well. Sexual exploitation is considered “child abuse.”

In terms of recovery and reintegration of victims into their families and communities, these are done only when they apply to the case. As mentioned above, early life skills and vocational training is offered to foster community reintegration.

Costa Rica

Measures to train those who work with victims constitute intense work that is still not complete. Paradigm changes do not happen immediately.

In terms of the elimination of social stigmatization, this is one of the aspects that requires a greater amount of work in Costa Rican society, and that is related to work with preventive, dissemination, sensitization, legal and care dimensions.

Dominican Republic

There have been isolated instances of training of personnel who work with victims and there is a need for more awareness-raising in order to avoid the stigmatization of victims, through educational actions. In terms of measures for recovery and reintegration, individual actions have been carried out through NGOs.

Honduras

Due to the lack of a National Plan of Action and the lack of application of the legal framework, work in this area cannot be concretized.

Mexico

The country does have the necessary support instruments for recovery and reintegration, but they have not yet been applied. 

Peru

The Board on Sexual Exploitation has made progress on the problem and its treatment. It still needs to achieve an impact on improving the attitudes and knowledge of workers who participate in the recovery process.

United States of America

The country has adopted a non-punitive approach to victims, including legislation 10/2000.

With respect to court proceedings, comprehensive care is provided to victims through special federal provisions in 18 U.S.C. sec. 3509.

In terms of training of personnel who work with victims, there are the Attorney General's Guidelines for Victim Assistance, which include mandatory training for personnel and for victim-witness coordinators at the federal level.

For the purposes of eliminating the social stigmatization of victims, Section 3509 provides measures to preserve the privacy of minors who are victims.

In terms of recovery and reintegration of victims into their families and communities, individual criteria are established on a case-by-case basis.

 

In the Area of Participation

Some progress has been made in the Area of Participation. Of all the countries that responded, 73.7% support the creation of networks of children as advocates of their own rights. As well, 21% give children participation in the area of coordination and cooperation, while 57.9% do not; 57.9% give participation in the area of prevention, and  in the area of protection, while 52.6% give participation in the areas of recovery and reintegration (see figure 8).

Figure 8
Participation

Comments

Bolivia

Measures for participation are included in the National Plan on Child Labor.

Canada

Several measures and projects have been developed in the country to encourage the participation of children and adolescents in the establishment of networks for the defense of their rights (Bill 32; “Peer Helper Program for Out-of-Mainstream Youth”; “Prostitute Empowerment Education Recovery Society - PEERS” and “Out of the Shadows, Into the Light”), as well as coordination, cooperation and prevention (“Status of Women Canada” sponsored the study, “Poverty and the Sexual Exploitation of Youth” to launch a campaign aimed at young women to prevent criminals from involving them in the sex trade.

In the area of reintegration, participation takes place through the “Second Chance” project by “PEERS.”

Costa Rica

The issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children has been part of the analysis with young people from the NATIONAL NETWORK OF YOUNG PEOPLE AND HEALTH SECTOR PERSONNEL FOR THE PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE.

Dominican Republic

No systematic strategy has been developed in this area. However, there are numerous initiatives to give children participation and information about their rights. Examples include the projects “The Country We Want” and “Children Have the Floor,” as well as the dissemination of children's rights, among others.

El Salvador

The “Peace Leaders” component of the “Young Country” Project promotes the organization of youth for self-advocacy in terms of rights and leadership. 

Jamaica

A Peer Counselling Program was developed with the participation of children and adolescents in prevention and rehabilitation activities.

Peru

The proposals promoted by the State in coordination with civil society consider victims of sexual exploitation to be potential allies for contact with other victims.

United States of America

The federal perspective is to work with specialized child and adolescent organizations, sponsoring fora for NGO-Government dialogue and the development of networks. These organizations provide opportunities for youth participation.

Table 1
RESPONSES TO THE SURVEY AND PLANS OF ACTION, BY COUNTRY

COUNTRY

Answered the Survey?

Does a Plan of Action
Exist There?

Antigua and Barbuda

NO

 

Argentina

YES

YES

The Bahamas

NO

Barbados

NO

 

Belize

NO

Bolivia

YES

YES                                      

Brazil

YES

YES

Canada

YES

NO

Chile

NO

Colombia

YES

YES

Costa Rica

YES

YES

Dominica

NO

Dominican Republic

YES

YES

Ecuador

NO

El Salvador

YES

YES

Grenada

NO

Guatemala

YES

NO

Guyana

YES

NO

Haiti

NO

Honduras

 

NO

Jamaica

YES

NO                                    

Mexico

YES

YES

Nicaragua

YES

NO

Panama

YES

NO

Paraguay

NO

Peru

YES

NO

St. Kitts and Nevis

NO

Saint Lucia

NO

Saint Vincent and The Grenadines

NO

Suriname

NO

Trinidad and Tobago

 

United States of America

YES

YES

Uruguay

YES

NO

Venezuela

YES

NO

 

Figure 9
Existence of Plans of Action

Table 2
COUNTRIES WITH PLANS OF ACTION

 

Table 3
COUNTRIES WITHOUT PLANS OF ACTION

YES 

          

COUNTRIES THAT STATED THAT
THEY DO HAVE PLANS OF ACTION

Argentina

Bolivia
Brazil
Colombia
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Mexico
United States of America

 

NO 

          

COUNTRIES THAT STATED THAT
THEY DO
NOT HAVE PLANS OF ACTION

Canada

Guatemala
Guyana
Honduras
Jamaica
Nicaragua
Panama
Peru
Uruguay
Venezuela

 


Conclusion

After an analysis of the responses received, we have come to the following conclusions:

1)       There is still a question about the situation of measures against the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in a little over half of the Member States of the OAS, since 55.9% of them (19) responded to our consultation.

2)       It is thought that one of the dimensions that should receive the most attention from institutions involved in the issue is that of the implementation of National Plans of Action. This means moving from the ethical expression of combating the problem to the incorporation of measures that are concrete, timely, integrated and funded for this purpose. There, we also see that the panorama is diverse and in different phases in each country.

In this sense the existence of National Plans of Action is an indicator of whether or not the inter-American community is making progress toward the Stockholm goals.

Out of the 59.5% of countries that answered the IIN's consultation, 47.4% affirmed that they have Plans of Action against Sexual Exploitation. There are also some countries, such as Canada and Venezuela, that do not have definite, specific plans to address the problem, but that still support the principles of the Stockholm Agenda for Action and have prepared integrated strategies for prevention, protection and rehabilitation.

The 47.4% of countries with Plans of Action incorporate the participation of civil society, mainly in the area of executing these plans.

3)       In terms of Research and Databases on sexual exploitation, we have noted initial signs of progress, since 89.5% of the responses show that the countries have significantly studied the problem. This information would be the first objective indicator that the countries are willing to find responses to combat sexual exploitation, although only half of the countries currently have plans of action. The indicator that would reveal the limited scope and impact of studies on the problem, is that only 38.8% of the countries have databases to disseminate and systematize the information.

4)       With respect to the allotment of resources for the Plan of Action, eight countries stated that they have additional resources for the Plan, and only one country (United States) considers these resources to be sufficient for training and research at the federal level. The case of Canada is exceptional in the sense that, as mentioned above, the country does not have a Plan of Action, but it has assigned special resources for research and prevention of criminal activities related to the problem.

5)       On the question of adjustment of national legislation, the countries are in different phases in terms of progress on the matter, and this is one area where the greatest changes have been noted. 47.4% of the countries stated that legislation has not been adjusted (independently of whether or not they have Plans of Action) and 63.1% stated that new legislation has been created on the subject.

6)       The coordination of international cooperation does not seem to be very significant, since only eight countries (42.1% of responding countries) agreed that there has been greater and better coordination of international cooperation in the use of resources to handle the problem. Jamaica, Peru and Brazil are two examples of how international organizations have become incorporated into working and planning.

7)       With respect to the existence of a specific entity or program on sexual exploitation, 73.7% of the countries (five more than those that have plans of action) stated that they have one as part of their governing bodies on child affairs.

8)       In the Area of Prevention, although progress seems to be dissimilar, there are some significant indications, such as the fact that 13 of the 19 countries that responded, stated that they have carried out sensitization, awareness-raising and public information campaigns on the issue.

On the question of economic and social measures to assist children at social risk, 73.7% of the countries stated that they have developed and put into practice different programs for this purpose (with or without a Plan of Action on the issue).

In terms of legal norms to prevent sexual exploitation 63.1% of the countries responded that they have developed appropriate instruments (independently of whether or not they have Plans of Action).

Finally, with respect to the sectors involved in prevention, 78.9% of responding countries have mobilized the media, 52.6% have mobilized the private sector, and 42.1% have mobilized the tourism sector.

9)       The Area of Protection is one of the strongest in comparison with the others. The 19 countries that answered the survey stated that they have appropriate legislation to criminalize those directly responsible for sexual exploitation, and 78.9% of them indicated that current legislation is applied.

For their part, 84.2% of the countries criminalize service providers, clients and intermediaries, 63.1% penalize possession of child pornography, 78.9% penalize the national or national trafficking of children, and 26.3% include extradition in their legal framework.

Of all the countries that responded, 13 stated that children and adolescents affected by sexual exploitation receive humanitarian treatment and are considered victims, and 52.6% stated that they guarantee support services for victims.

10)   In the Area of Recovery and Rehabilitation, the non-punitive approach to victims is predominant, as it is the approach taken by 73.7% of responding countries. The other services delivered in this area are less developed: for example, only nine countries have developed measures to train those who work with victims, 52.6% of the countries have implemented measures to eliminate social stigmatization, and 47.4% stated that they have effective measures to facilitate the recovery and reintegration of victims into their families and the community. 

Finally, 68.4% of the countries that responded stated that they provide comprehensive care to victims during judicial proceedings.

11)   In the Area of Participation, 73.7% of responding countries support the creation of networks of children as advocates of their own rights; 57.9% of the countries give participation in the area of prevention as well as protection; and 52.6% give participation in the area of recovery and reintegration. The area that receives the least attention in terms of participation is coordination.

12)   Finally, we may affirm that there are institutional responses in the region, but not all of them come from an articulated set of actions that are defined as public policies on the issue, and not all give rise to coherent plans of action with the objectives and response capabilities of the governmental and non-governmental institutions that carry them out. Also, it cannot be said that the actions developed are in response to a precise diagnosis of the problem, of current legislation, and or the technical-administrative capabilities of the States.

 

Corollary

We must establish the state of the situation in the inter-American system as soon as possible, with all political and technical fora in the region insisting on the need for greater commitment by the States and civil society to capture, disseminate and share available information and knowledge about the aberration that is the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, and, in this way, to be in a better position to establish national and international cooperation strategies to protect them and guarantee their rights enshrined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In the area of prevention, it is important to make progress in the inclusion of measures that make visible what was invisible, in order for the public to become aware of the existence of this serious problem. We understand that the visibility of the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents is one of the first steps toward its prevention and toward the destruction of the system of marginalization that replicates it.

Another priority element is training for those who work directly with victims as well as for officers working in the administration of justice.

Prevention cannot be strengthened without the integration of educational measures, both in the formal education system and in informal community programs. These educational measures should be aimed at all academic and social promotion levels.

With respect to the area of protection, it is important to strengthen mechanisms of applicability of legal norms and their adjustment to the mandates of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In many cases, it would be relevant to review the crimes that are penalized in the countries, in order to incorporate new offenses and sentences.

The humanitarian treatment of victims and the guaranteed provision of support services should also be considered as key components in the protection area of public policies and plans of action against sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.

In this sense, plans of action should guarantee a prompt access to the Justice Administration system for all children victims of sexual exploitation and violence, as set forth in Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child[1], by virtue of their frequent difficulties in receiving appropriate legal assistance and in the protection of their integrity.

The area of recovery and rehabilitation requires comprehensive approaches in the delivery of targeted services that ensure reinsertion into education, family and society, with appropriate medical-sanitary, psychological, educational, legal and economic support.

To this end, work in networks and with an inter-institutional and inter-sectoral approach would contribute toward greater specificity and specialty of services delivered for victims.

With reference to the area of participation, many countries declared that they promote levels and spaces for children and adolescents to take part in the problems and circumstances affecting them. Moreover, we see an almost unanimous ethical-political opinion in terms of how important it is for children and adolescents to exercise the right to participation. However, in practice, there seem to be indications that this right is seldom exercised, and badly. With this, other rights are affected, such as the right to citizenship, and there is an increase in discrimination, exclusion and invisibility of this important sector of society. For this reason, the IIN considers it a priority to build a participatory culture for children and adolescents. Particularly with respect to the problem of sexual exploitation, the IIN urges the incorporation of this participation into the policies and plans of action for its eradication.

 

Alejandro Bonasso
Director General

Inter-American Children's Institute (IIN)

Ariel Gustavo Forselledo, Ph.D.
Coordinator
Integral Children's Rights Promotion Program
Author of the Document

Av. 8 de Octubre 2904 (11600)
Montevideo, Uruguay
Tel: (598-2) 487-2150
Fax: (598-2) 487-3242
Email: iinfar@redfacil.com.uy

Montevideo, June 2001


[1] Article 37.  b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time; c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age (...). d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other  appropriate assistance (...).