ECPAT fights the sexual exploitation of children in all its manifestations, in particular:
- Sales and trafficking of children for sexual purposes
- Sexual exploitation through prostitution
- Child sexual abuse materials
- Sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism
- Online child sexual exploitation
Despite a 20 year effort to tackle the issue, each year, scores of children are exploited through prostitution or pornography around the world. The true magnitude of child sexual exploitation remains hidden because of its illegal nature. Most victims and families do not report cases of exploitation because of stigma, fear and mistrust. Social tolerance, corruption and a lack of awareness also contribute to under-reporting.
However, all available evidence indicates that more children than ever before are being sexually exploited. No child is immune, and no country is untouched. New developments, such as the rise of the Internet and greater access to international travel, have only served to increase the dangers for children and expand ‘demand’. At the same time, social and economic disparities, poverty and lack of education, combined with weak child protection systems, continue to fuel the ‘supply’ of children.
Hundreds of millions of child sexual abuse materials are stored and shared on the Internet. The severity of abuse is increasing, and younger children are being targeted.
To address these issues, ECPAT designs and implements programmes that combine data collection and research with capacity building, partnerships and advocacy.