INDONESIA, 29 March 2004 - On the eve of a UNICEF sponsored regional conference on child sexual exploitation and trafficking in Medan in North Sumatra, UNICEF warned today that urgent action was needed to end child sexual exploitation and trafficking. Surveys conducted in the region showed that trafficking of children was lucrative, well organized within and across countries and linked to criminal activity and corruption.
“Sexual exploitation and trafficking is a priority for UNICEF worldwide. It is often hidden and hard to address. The more known about the illegal phenomenon, the better as the lack of data reinforces the risk for children and covers the activities of child exploiters,” UNICEF representative Steve Allen said.
One of the ways to assess progress in curbing trafficking and sexual exploitation of children was to look at the country-level legislation and cross-border agreements.
After four years of negotiation, Thailand and Cambodia have successfully adopted last year the first regional MOU against trafficking of children and this should serve as a model for other countries in the region.
Philippines adopted an anti-trafficking law and several countries, including Indonesia, have drafted bills against trafficking.
In Indonesia, several child traffickers or exploiters have been prosecuted on the basis of the provisions of the Penal Code or of the recently adopted Child Protection Law.
“But more needs to be done on the enforcement of existing legislations to ensure that child traffickers and exploiters are systematically pursued and charged. Addressing the demand side also involves behaviour changes from men and on the status of girls and women.”
UNICEF is also working in collaboration with the tourism industry to implement the World Tourism Organization Code of Conduct to prevent sexual exploitation of children as well as to provide alternative training and employment opportunities to adolescents at-risk of exploitation and trafficking. UNICEF supported the efforts of the government of Indonesia towards the establishment of zones free of sexual exploitation of children as in Batam and Bali.
For further information please contact:
Julie Lebegue, UNICEF’s Child Protection Officer
0815 887 4717, email: email@example.com
UNICEF is working in collaboration with the tourism industry to implement the World Tourism Organization Code of Conduct to prevent sexual exploitation of children as well as to provide alternative training and employment opportunities to adolescents at-risk of exploitation and trafficking.