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Rio de Janeiro to Host World Congress III Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents

NEW YORK, 19 May 2008 – The Government of Brazil, UNICEF, ECPAT and the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child officially launched the World Congress III in Rio de Janeiro today inviting governments, civil society, young people, and private sector companies to unite in ending sexual exploitation of children.  The Congress constitutes a milestone in the follow-up to the recent UN Study on Violence against Children.

The World Congress, being held in November in Rio de Janeiro, aims to address the increasing problem of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents. This includes trafficking of children for sexual purposes, violations of children on the internet and child pornography, sexual exploitation in schools and of child domestic labourers. New partnerships will be built, for example with religious leaders and parliamentarians, and the private sector.

Recent reports, including the United Nations Study on Violence against Children, indicate that sexual exploitation of children and adolescents is increasing. Efforts to end violence against children often lack strategic planning, systemic approaches, sustainable commitment and resources and are compromised by lack of data and information.

Trafficking in human beings is one of the most lucrative and fastest growing transnational crimes, generating approximately $10 billion every year. A large number of those being trafficked are children, many of whom end up being sold into the sex trade.

Child sexual exploitation can be both flagrant and elusive. It can be seen on beaches and in cities around the world, but also hidden behind the doors of brothels and under cover of the internet.

Tackling this scourge requires all segments of society to work together. Governments and private and public sector organizations must set clear, achievable, targets and work with law enforcement agencies to ensure criminals are caught and charged. The participation and collaboration of children and young people is also crucial.

The First World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children took place in Stockholm, Sweden in 1996 concluding with the ‘Stockholm Declaration and Agenda for Action,’ which was adopted by 122 countries. The Second World Congress Against Sexual Exploitation of Children was held in Japan resulting the ‘Yokohama Global Commitment 2001.’

The World Congress III will be held in Brazil from 25-28 November 2008 focusing on five key themes:

Theme 1: New Dimensions of Commercial Sexual Exploitation;
Theme 2: Legal Frameworks and Enforcement;
Theme 3: Integrated Inter-Sectoral Policies;
Theme 4: Role of the Private Sector and Corporate Social Responsibly;
Theme 5: Strategies for International Cooperation.

The Congress is expected to bring together over 3,000 people from the five continents, including 300 young people.

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.

For further information, please contact:
Geoffrey Keele, UNICEF New York, Tel + 212-326 - 7583; Email, gkeele@unicef.org
Saira Saeed Khan, UNICEF New York, Tel + 212-326-7224; Email, sskhan@unicef.org




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