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"There should be no hiding place in South Asia for child sex sellers"

UNICEF calls on men in South Asia to say ‘no’ to child sex.

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, 29 September 2004 - Better enforcement against child traffickers and more cross border cooperation by governments in South Asia is being called for by UNICEF.

“There should be no hiding place for those selling and trading children for sex,” said
Dr Sadig Rasheed, UNICEF’s Regional Director. “It seems that more and more women and children are leaving countries like Nepal and Bangladesh and many are ending up being abused in a highly lucrative sex trade. While governments and law enforcement agencies must do whatever they can to protect children, a lot of problems could be stopped tomorrow if men in South Asia said ‘no’ to child sex.”

The three day meeting in Colombo is set to review efforts to stop the commercial sexual exploitation of children in South Asia and progress since the Yokohama Global Commitment of 2001, which called for greater efforts globally to protect children. Representatives from 8 South Asian governments along with children from the region and officials from 11 UN and non governmental agencies will be attending the event, which is to be addressed by the President of Sri Lanka, Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. 

Because of links with organised crime it is extremely difficult to get reliable figures on trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children. But it is estimated that from Bangladesh about 300, 000 women and children have been trafficked to India and 200,000 to Pakistan. In addition between 100,000 and 200,000 Nepali women and girls are said to be working in India’s sex industry.  While not all those trafficked will be employed as prostitutes, a considerable proportion will have become involved in such exploitation.

For further information, please contact:

Martin Dawes, UNICEF Regional Office +977 1 441 7082 mdawes@unicef.org
Geoffrey Keele, UNICEF Sri Lanka +94 11-255-5270 gkeele@unicef.org




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