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1 Soth Asia Strategy against commercial sexal exploitation and sexal abse of children 2nd World Congress against Commercial Sexal Exploitation of Children Yokohama, Japan December 2001

2 SOUTH ASIA STRATEGY against Commercial Sexal Exploitation of Children and Child Sexal Abse Adopted at the Soth Asia Consltation for the 2nd World Congress against Commercial Sexal Exploitation of Children Dhaka, 4-6 November 2001 T he Dhaka Consltation was held with the prpose of developing a Regional Strategy to be presented at the Second World Congress against Commercial Sexal Exploitation of Children to be held in Yokohama, Japan, December, Over 140 participants representing the Governments of Bangladesh, Bhtan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, inclding 25 children and yong adlts, and representatives of international agencies and international and national non-governmental organisations participated in the Consltation. This Strategy is an expression, of those gathered, of their commitment, and a call for action in Soth Asia to combat commercial sexal exploitation of children (CSEC) and child sexal abse (CSA). W e, the participants, having assessed the sitation, note that In Soth Asia, CSEC in the form of child prostittion, trafficking in girls and boys for sexal prposes, sex torism, and child pornography are some of the prevalent forms of child abse. Varios forms of child sexal abse (CSA), which are of a non-commercial natre, also exist. Deep rooted secrecy and denial and a pervasive silence make isses of sexal exploitation extremely complex. Data on the magnitde and extent of these abses is inadeqate bt available figres sggest that the problem is widespread. Most children who are sexally absed are boys and girls between 13 and 18 years and the average age seems to be falling. Boys and girls of the nderprivileged and marginalised, religios and ethnic minorities or caste grops, those with disabilities, in instittional care, children in work places, migrant children, bonded child laborers are particlarly vlnerable to sexal exploitation. Limited access to reprodctive health services, life skills and edcation, also increase the vlnerability of adolescents, in particlar. With increasing rates of HIV infection in the region, sexal abse of children places them at increased risk of sexally transmitted infections sch as HIV/AIDS. CSEC and CSA have serios physical and mental health and social conseqences on the child victims, which affects them in the short, medim and long-term. Child sexal abse may come from within or otside the family. Often the abse is perpetrated by someone familiar to and trsted by the child. Absers are sally men, bt are sometimes boys and can also be women. CSEC has many other actors otside the home involved bt there can also be complicity or active promotion from the family, sch as throgh selling children for prostittion. Poverty, globalisation, social and gender discrimination, and weak legislative and jdicial implementation are among the important factors for CSEC in Soth Asia. Low rates of birth registration reslting in a loss of an official identity constrain actions against commercial sexal exploitation. Children have rights to participate in their own protection. There are, however, limited or no forms for listening to children and giving them opportnities to express their views and opinions on decisions and actions that affect them. 1

3 W e the participants, recognising the sitation, note that: While poverty is an nderlying case for CSEC in Soth Asia, which interacts with the making of profit from the circmstances of the poor, it cannot be an excse for it, and actions can be taken to combat CSEC even in sch sitations. Reinforcement of positive cltral, religios and moral vales and practices is needed, which protect and promote the rights and the dignity of both girls and boys, inclding bilding partnerships with men and boys to confront the root cases of gender ineqality, violence and abse. While child sexal abse is not a theme for the 2 nd World Congress, in Soth Asia it is crcial to address it becase of its magnitde, the serios violation of children s rights, and implication for CSEC. Trafficking in girls and boys for commercial sexal exploitation is a widely recognised abse in Soth Asia. While ensring that the right to migration is not hindered, efforts are being promoted to combat it, sch as throgh the SAARC Convention on Trafficking. These mechanisms need reglar review and revision to ensre that they are meeting the challenge. Girls and boys in street-based prostittion and girls and boys living in brothels who are either victims of commercial sexal exploitation or children of sex workers carry all the rights of children. They reqire specific rights based and child friendly actions to conter the specific stigmatisation faced by them. Child pornography is both a crime in itself and a pictre providing evidence of frther crimes against children. Actions to combat it reqire a niform and niversal definition, reflected in legislation, establishment of specialised cyber watchdogs, training in srveillance process, and access to information on sers of internet for investigative prposes. Profile of sexal absers reflects a nmber of factors sch as attitdes towards sexality, gender, power, masclinity, and misconceptions abot sexal health. Sex absers are also fond to operate with impnity in sitations of complex emergencies sch as war, internal conflict, natral and man-made disasters, rapid change and social displacement, throgh the internet, and in sitations where men are working away from their home. Strong actions need to be taken against the sex perpetrators while taking actions to spport children who are exploited. Legal reform and law enforcement is essential for combating the demand for CSEC and CSA, which often involve many perpetrators. While laws exist, many violators are able to avoid them and escape pnishment. The gender and child insensitive legal procedres, which are often lengthy and costly, impede timely and effective actions. W e, the participants, state the following nderstanding and commitments: We firmly agree that all actions shold be gided by the CRC principles of non-discrimination, the best interests of the child, the child s right to srvival and development, and respect for the views of the child. We reaffirm or commitment to the Stockholm Agenda for Action adopted at the First World Congress against Commercial Sexal Exploitation of Children in We acknowledge that while several positive steps have been taken in the region since Stockholm to address the isse, the gravity of the problem of CSEC in Soth Asia sggests that mch remains to be done to flfil the Stockholm commitments. We recognise that commercial sexal exploitation of children and child sexal abse goes against those positive societal vales, which phold and promote the rights and dignity of children. CSEC and CSA is a threat to these vales and reqires rgent action. We resolve to phold and bild on the rich cltral diversity and vales that exist in or contries. We commit orselves to applying zero tolerance against commercial sexal exploitation of children and child sexal abse throgh concerted efforts at all levels - locally, nationally and regionally. 2

4 W e, the participants, agree on the following set of strategies, which we endorse and commit to spport in their implementation: Protection Measres National Plans of Action (NPAs) Over the next two years, all the contries of Soth Asia shold have developed NPAs, where these are not already in place, and implement them. These plans shold, throgh a consltative process, involving governments and civil society at all levels, inclding children as active participants, present clear timeframes for actions and define effective monitoring mechanisms. They shold be revised on a timely basis in light of lessons learned in implementation. Enacting Laws and Ensring their Implementation Appropriate and adeqate laws and their effective implementation in combating CSEC and CSA are fndamentally important. Specific actions shold be ndertaken with respect to: Recognising that all girls and boys nder 18 shold be treated as children, with special rights as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). All Soth Asian contries have ratified the CRC and shold ensre that the age of protection against CSEC and CSA shold be applied as defined in the CRC. Development of an effective and adeqate legal framework, in line with relevant international instrments sch as CRC, CEDAW and the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime and its protocols on smggling of migrants and trafficking in women and children, inclding revising and strengthening the existing legal framework and enforcement measres in Soth Asia to protect children, both girls and boys, in a comprehensive manner so that it yields reslts, specially by: Ensring that legal procedres are rights based and child friendly, kept separate from those for adlts, gender-sensitive, and provide effective trama conselling and care and protection in the best interests of the child; Ensring that all births and marriages are registered; Working in collaboration with other governments towards the prosection of foreign perpetrators in the contry of the crime and in their contry of origin; Providing appropriate child rights training of lawyers, jdges, police and other law enforcement officials and develop appropriate gidelines and tools; Ensring that the legal framework does not penalise child victims as criminals and treats them hmanely; Ensring the implementation of a monitoring and accontable process both at the national and international level; and Simplifying the legal processes and procedres. Urging contries of the region to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostittion and Child Pornography, and those contries which are members of ILO to sign the ILO Convention 182 Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor. Preventive Measres To avoid the harmfl effects of CSEC and CSA, short, medim and long-term prevention strategies are essential, inclding: Maximising opportnities for early child development and free and complsory qality primary edcation, and second chance learning as a means of improving children s stats, especially girls, redcing gender discrimination, and empowering them. 3

5 Spport gender-sensitive mass media campaigns to raise awareness abot children s rights, in general, and CSEC and CSA in particlar. Consideration shold be given to develop a code of condct for pblic portrayal of children in the media. Bild economic safety nets and invest in commnity-based initiatives to strengthen economic secrity of poor and marginalised families to offer viable alternative sorces of sstainable livelihoods, especially for women headed hoseholds throgh self-help grops ensring empowerment and self-reliance. Policy advocacy for local governance strctres to mainstream child protection measres for it to become the responsibility of and a core part of decentralised governance mechanisms. Spport shold be provided for the establishment and fnctioning of commnity-based child protection committees. Recovery and Reintegration Spport the victims of CSEC and CSA by actions, sch as: Recognising that every child, regardless of origin, within or borders enjoys rights nder the CRC. Throgh a process of bilateral, regional, sb-regional and mltilateral consltation and co-ordination those children who have come from other contries shold be assisted for recovery and reintegration to their place of origin. This effort shold be spported throgh adopting simple procedres, a hmane approach, minimm of breacracy and more direct channels of commnication between the concerned governments and I/NGOs. Create and strengthen commnity spport services and the provision of appropriate and qality family conselling, the provision of eqitable and non-discriminatory health services for children who are victims of trafficking whose legal stats is dbios, addressing physical and mental health, create safe spaces, bild social accontability and provide longterm spport for girl and boy victims. Collaboration, Co-ordination and Capacity Bilding Work towards greater collaboration and co-ordination by: Following-p on the Stockholm Agenda for Action and Yokohama Commitments and spporting contries who did not attend the First World Congress to adopt these recommendations. Establishing regional and national focal points to spport follow-p processes after the Second World Congress and implement mechanisms for monitoring and accontability. Instittionalising a process for regional actions throgh annal consltations involving governments, I/NGOs, international agencies, jdicial system, and children s organisations for examining progress made towards the commitments, sharing good practices and establishing mechanisms to address bilateral and mltilateral isses, especially the SAARC Convention on Trafficking. Establishing national and regional databases, bilding knowledge centres on sexal exploitation and abse and develop qalitative and qantitative indicators. Spport shold be provided for the design of research methodologies and the implementation of stdies and action research to enable in depth assessment and analysis for improved actions and inflencing policies. Advocating for improved national birth registration mechanisms to ensre identity and legitimate stats of girls and boys. Motivating the private sector in particlar the compter indstry and internet services and the torism indstry for active partnership in implementing protection measres and reglating them, if necessary. Bilding linkages between international and national agencies, inclding academic instittions, I/NGOs, and media (print, electronic and on-line) for effective partnerships and convergent actions. Bilding the capacity of government fnctionaries at all levels and other partners for effective implementation of National Plans of Action. 4

6 Creating Partnerships with Children and Yong Adlts Inclde children and yong adlts in a partnership by: Enabling Inclsion: Enable the inclsion of children and yong adlts in existing regional, national and local networks, task forces and commnity level processes. Inclde children and yong adlts as eqal partners in research, designing of policies, programmes and projects against commercial sexal exploitation of children and child sexal abse. Develop age specific interventions. Spport children to form networks for interacting among themselves and with adlts. Children shold be given opportnities to express their views and concerns in their own words throgh the media print and television and in other relevant pblic forms. Enhancing Capacity: Enhance capacities of children and adlts by learning from children s experiences. Enhance children s and adlts capacities to address commercial sexal exploitation of children and child sexal abse throgh raising their awareness at commnity level regarding child rights. Provide children with the freedom and space necessary to express their views and opinions and advocate them together with other adlt and child activists. Sensitising Adlts: Children and adlts together encorage and edcate adlts at local, national and regional levels abot children s rights and their capabilities to participate in decisions that affect their lives. Spport children to develop strategies and initiate follow-p actions with children and adlts in commnities Accessing Information: Inform children abot sex exploitation and abse, for example, by preparing child friendly versions of docments and materials related to CSEC and CSA for commnity level dissemination and bild greater knowledge and awareness among children throgh inclsion of sex edcation in school crricla. B eyond commitments and identifying strategies, achieving reslts in combating CSEC will reqire additional investment of resorces financial, hman and organisational. Given the rgency of the task and the imperative of not allowing a single child, girl or boy to sffer from CSEC, we agree to do or tmost to invest in children by mobilising the reqired resorces to meet the challenge. Towards this goal, and in accordance with the Kathmand Understanding of May 2001, we call pon governments to set targets and allocate specific additional resorces, beyond those allocated to basic social services and other social welfare programmes, to combat CSEC and CSA. We also call pon or international development partners to help in mobilising resorces reqired for effective actions throgh enhanced financial assistance. 5

7 6

8 Pblished by UNICEF Regional Office for Soth Asia, 2001

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