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

Regional Consultation: Dhaka

The South Asia Consultation for the Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, was held in Dhaka, from 4 to 6 November 2001.

Participants included Government representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - including 25 children and young adults - and representatives of international agencies and non-governmental organizations.

The meeting adopted a Regional Strategy which will be presented at the Congress in Yokohama in December. This document is an expression of the commitment on the part of South Asian countries for forging collective and concerted action for clamping down on the scourge of commercial sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children which plagues the region.

The South Asia Strategy is being translated into National Plans of Action (NPA) by each Government with the aim of eliminating child prostitution, trafficking of girls and boys for sexual purposes, sex tourism, and child pornography, which are the prevalent forms of child sexual abuse in the region.

Country actions will be guided by the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been ratified by every Asian country. The countries committed themselves to apply the principle of zero tolerance against commercial sexual exploitation of children and child sexual abuse through concerted efforts at all levels - locally, nationally and regionally.

The Strategy proposes concrete measures for preventing commercial sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children. It suggests how countries should help to rescue, recover and reintegrate affected children into their communities, processes which often involve working across borders. It also recommends ways for governments, non-governmental organizations, children's groups, the media and international organizations to work more effectively together to put a stop to commercial sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children.

The strategy acknowledges that mere commitments and plans are not enough and that achieving real results in combating commercial sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children will require additional investment of resources - financial, human and organizational.

Given the urgency of the task, the final paragraph of the Strategy affirms that;

"Towards this goal, and in accordance with the Kathmandu Understanding of May 2001, we call upon governments to set targets and allocate specific additional resources, beyond those allocated to basic social services and other social welfare programmes, to combat commercial sexual exploitation of children and child sexual abuse. We also call upon our international development partners to help in mobilizing resources required for effective actions through enhanced financial assistance."

The regional Strategy Paper for South Asia can be found here.