Yokohama, 17-20 December 2001
Now available: Congress outcome document, "The Yokohama Global Commitment 2001"
The Congress aims to draw attention to the plight of children in the world sex trade, review progress made since the first World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and devise further methods to protect children from sexual exploitation.
Governments, Non-Governmental Organizations and others came together for the first time in Stockholm, Sweden five years ago, to work on a global basis against the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
As a follow up to that meeting, the World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, a series of regional consultations were held ahead of the Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children to be held in Yokohama, Japan from 17 to 20 December.
The first regional consultation, for the East Asia and Pacific region, ran from 16-18 October in Bangkok and was attended by 280 participants, including 70 government representatives and 20 children. A regional plan and strategy came out of the meeting.
These regional working meetings signify important progress since 1996, because the discussions were based on data and research from the field, bringing the process closer to the work of implementing action on the ground. These conferences have produced regional strategies, partnerships and key interventions for tackling commercial sexual exploitation of children.
UNICEF was entrusted with organizing the series of regional meetings in collaboration with the other partners co-organizing the congress - the Government of Japan which is hosting the event, ECPAT International (a network of organizations and individuals working together for the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and trafficking of children for sexual purposes) and the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The regional consultations addressed local concerns and helped ensure that they will be addressed at Yokohama. The aim was to involve as many people as possible, including government officials as well as representatives from local NGOs and children, many of whom might not be able to travel to Japan.
The other regional consultations were in Rabat from 24-26 October, to cover Africa and the Middle East; then in Dhaka from 5-6 November for South Asia; Montevideo from 7-9 November for Latin America and the Caribbean; Budapest on 20 and 21 November for Eastern and Western Europe; and Philadelphia from 2-3 December for the USA, Canada and Mexico.
The Congress itself aims to draw attention to the plight of children in the world sex trade, review progress made since the first World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and devise further methods to protect children from sexual exploitation.
The participants in the first World Congress devised a plan to combat the sexual exploitation of children embodied in the Stockholm Declaration, which called on governments to:
The conference also produced an Agenda for Action which called on governments to put together national plans of action with indicators, goals and a time frame to reduce the number of children who are sexually exploited each year, as well as implement and monitor ways of measuring progress at all levels, and collecting and sharing data. All 122 governments who attended the conference adopted the Stockholm Declaration and committed to creating national plans of action by the year 2000.
In Yokohama, participants will share expertise on what worked and what did not in the fight against the commercial sexual exploitation of children. A series of presentations, panel discussions and workshops will review the various national plans of action and identify gaps in the protection of children from sexual exploitation.
Following on the Stockholm Declaration's call for states to include children in national and local efforts to prevent their sexual exploitation, the Yokohama Congress will include discussions with children from all over the world. The children will meet prior to the Congress in Kawasaki City from 13 to 16 December and prepare a report to present to the full Congress.