Efforts to curb child exploitation must be stepped up, says UN-backed group

20 August 2008

Further measures are necessary to curb child exploitation across East Asia and the Pacific, despite the recent positive steps taken to tackle the issue in the region, a United Nations-backed gathering said today.

“The region’s governments need to take their anti-exploitation efforts to another level and push through much tougher anti-child sex measures,” said Anupama Rao Singh, Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Hundreds of experts, government officials and activists from the region attended a two-day meeting in Bangkok organized by UNICEF, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the non-governmental organization (NGO) ECPAT International.

“While acts of commercial sexual exploitation are acts of violence as well as violations of human rights, they are not always treated as crimes,” said Shigeru Mochida, ESCAP’s Deputy Executive Secretary.

Participants conferred on setting goals to address child prostitution, trafficking, cyber crimes, and abuse in travel and tourism. Targets discussed included setting up child sex offender registries in every country to make sure abusers are monitored and prevented from travelling abroad, and stepping up Internet protections through such means as having more specific laws to criminalize all forms of child pornography.

The Bangkok gathering, which wrapped up yesterday, will be followed by the World Congress III against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in November. The three-day event is expected to draw over 3,000 people.


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