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Urgent Action Needed to Safeguard Viet Nam’s Children from Commercial Sexual Exploitation

Victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) include both girls and boys, who live in both urban and rural areas of Viet Nam. 
© Photo: UN Viet Nam\Shutterstock\ZouZou\70173970  

Ha Noi, 16 November 2012 – The issue of child prostitution, child sex trafficking, child sex tourism and child pornography in Viet Nam has reached an alarming proportion, reveals a new study released today. Victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) include both girls and boys, who live in both urban and rural areas of Viet Nam. 

Conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and UNICEF, the Analysis of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children of Viet Nam investigates the situation of CSEC in Viet Nam and provide the Government with updated information on the magnitude, nature and trends relating to CSEC in order to protect children from commercial sexual exploitation and support those children who have already been affected.  

Viet Nam was the first country in Asia and second in the world to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In delivering its commitment to child protection, the Government has made impressive achievements towards the implementation of children’s rights and building protective frameworks for children. However, the response to commercial sexual exploitation of children has not been sufficient. 

“Child victims of prostitution, sex trafficking and pornography have different experiences and needs from adult sex workers, labour trafficking victims and children in other special circumstances. Without strategic policy, measurable targets or budget there is a high risk that commercial sexual exploitation of children will not only persist, but continue to escalate in the coming years”, said Jesper Moller, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Viet Nam, at the report launching event.

The study provides five key recommendations which include the development of a Policy Framework, a Coordination Framework, Legal and Regulatory Systems, Social Welfare Systems and Social Behaviour Change Systems. The recommendations identify a clear path for mobilising a comprehensive child protection system that can respond to the special protection needs of children.  The recommendations also propose roles and responsibilities for the Government, national institutions, non-governmental organisations, United Nations (UN) agencies, the private sector, communities, families and individuals to prevent and respond to the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Viet Nam.

“The findings of this study will be used by the relevant agencies in developing policies related to the prevention of commercial sexual exploitation of children in Viet Nam”, said Mr. Nguyen Trong Dam, Vice Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

Concerted, collaborative and urgent action is necessary to safeguard Viet Nam’s children from commercial sexual exploitation. Viet Nam’s achievements in addressing children’s rights in the past twenty years present a solid platform for the Government to mobilise a more coordinated and strategic approach to address CSEC in collaboration with a network of UN Agencies, NGOs, the private sector, communities, parents and other concerned groups. CSEC requires special protective measures. 

Download full report here

UNICEF works in 190 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 more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

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