UNICEF’s German National Committee launches national conference against the commercial sexual exploitation of children
BERLIN / NEW YORK, June 2008- A major national conference, charged with finding ways to combat sexual exploitation of children, opened in Berlin today under the auspices of UNICEF’s German National Committee.
The conference is the culmination of a long-term campaign by the German National Committee for UNICEF to raise public awareness of the evils of sexual exploitation of children and to encourage partnerships, strategies and actions that will help address it.
Entitled “Children are Not for Sale,” the conference will focus on commercial sexual exploitation and the challenges that the age of the internet poses for the protection of children. In addition to participation by German Parliamentarians and representatives from relevant sectors of German society, the event will be attended by UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Hilde Frafjord Johnson.
“Sexual exploitation of children is a crime against our future, and one that knows no boundaries,” said Johnson. “The damage it causes to its victims – innocent children – is hard to over-estimate.”
According to the 2007 UN Study on Violence Against Children, sexual exploitation of children and adolescents is on the rise. In addition, trafficking in human beings – many of whom are children – is now considered one the most lucrative and fastest growing transnational criminal industries, worth some $10 billion a year to its perpetrators according to some estimates.
The German meeting will also be part of the preparatory process leading up to the World Congress III on Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in November this year. This international event, jointly organized by the Government of Brazil, UNICEF, ECPAT, and the NGO group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, will unite participants from every continent in a global effort to address all forms of sexual exploitation of children and young people. It will serve to share best practices and build strategies and coalitions to curb trafficking of children for sex, violations of children on the internet, child pornography, and sexual exploitation in schools and elsewhere.
“If we are to protect children from sexual exploitation, action must be taken at the local, national and international levels,” said Deputy Executive Director Johnson. “The World Congress on Sexual Exploitation of Children will provide an opportunity to identify what must be done to put an end to insidious acts that violate children’s bodies and their rights.”
The World Congress III builds on the achievements of the two previous Congresses held in Stockholm and Yokohama and is closely linked to the follow-up to the 2007 United Nations Study on Violence against Children.
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