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Fighting sexual exploitation of children: World Congress III takes place in Brazil

25 November 2008, Kyiv - Rio de Janeiro – Nearly 3,000 participants from over 125 countries, including Ukraine, are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to exchange lessons and experiences in the fight against child sexual exploitation, review progress, and reinforce commitments. The World Congress III against Sexual Exploitation of Children & Adolescents is taking place on 25-27 November 2008. 

“Sexual exploitation leaves children with psychological and at times physical scars, and diminishes their hopes of leading a life of dignity,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. “No country or region is immune, and there are no innocent bystanders.”

Sexual exploitation is a violation of a child’s right to care and protection. The Congress will look at various types of sexual exploitation of children, including sexual exploitation in the family, child marriage, sexual exploitation of child domestic laborers, the commercial sex industry, as well as child pornography and sexual exploitation of children in cyber space.

Predators continue to use new tools to target children, including cyber space and new generation mobile phone technologies, and adults can prey on children in chat rooms and use the internet to post or download pornography.

Seven years after the last World Congress in Yokohama, Japan in 2001, which focused exclusively on commercial sexual exploitation of children, the Brazil Congress will also discuss strategies for combating non-commercial forms of child sexual exploitation, including the sexual exploitation of children in their homes, by religious leaders, by teachers, by peacekeepers and by armed groups in war zones.

“In order to combat such terrible violations there must be a system to protect children that is focused on prevention,” said UNICEF Ukraine Representative Jeremy Hartley. “At the same time the government must respond to existing cases by enforcing strong legislation that meets international standards.”

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NOTE TO EDITOR:

Previous World Congresses:
The First World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children took place in Stockholm, Sweden in 1996, resulting in the ‘Stockholm Declaration and Agenda for Action’, which was adopted by 122 countries. This committed countries to develop strategies and plans of action with agreed-upon guidelines. In December 2001, the Second World Congress against Sexual Exploitation of Children was held in Yokohama, Japan, resulting in the ‘Yokohama Global Commitment 2001’. The Congress consolidated global partnerships and reinforced the global commitment to protect children from sexual exploitation.  A total of 161 countries have now signed the ‘Stockholm Declaration and Agenda for Action’.

About UNICEF: UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF Ukraine opened its office in Kyiv in 1997.

Additional resources: video story, World Congress page

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For more information, contact:

Geoffrey Keele, UNICEF HQ New York+1-212-326-7583, gkeele@unicef.org
Veronika Vashchenko, UNICEF Ukraine +38-050-338-2951, vvashchenko@unicef.org
Anna Sukhodolska, UNICEF Ukraine +38-044-230-2514, asukhodolska@unicef.org 

www.unicef.org/ukraine

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