We conduct, commission and support cutting-edge research on the sexual exploitation of children in all regions of the world.

Data on the Sexual Exploitation of Children

In order to truly understand and tackle the sexual exploitation of children, we have to have an accurate idea of its scale and context. Current figures are often little more than guestimates, and so much of our research focuses on exploring methodologies that can improve estimates of the exact number of offenders and victims worldwide. We also need to continue to research and analyse emerging trends and root causes, to better equip us in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children.

Monitoring States’ Commitments

Over the past decade, we’ve produced approximately 150 first and second edition Country Monitoring Reports (CMRs) as part of our mandate from the First World Congress on the commercial sexual exploitation of children in 1996. CMRs monitor and evaluate the commitment of governments to end the sexual exploitation of children in their respective countries, and provide recommended priority actions for relevant duty-bearers.

Situational Analyses

The objective of our Situational Analysis Reports (SITANs) is to provide a more in-depth analysis of a particular country, through primary and secondary and qualitative and quantitative research on the magnitude, nature, context and trends of the sexual exploitation of children. We’ve developed multiple research tools, including protocols, questionnaires, consent forms and ethical considerations for conducting research with children to ensure that this research is as reliable as possible, while at the same time keeping the best interests of the child as the number one priority.

Emerging Trends

Our experts also explore less researched themes that need to be taken into account when developing new responses to sexual exploitation of children. In November 2015 for example, our thematic report “Power, Impunity and Anonymity: Understanding the Forces Driving the Demand for Sexual Exploitation of Children” was completed. This research was taken into account by the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography in her thematic study on tackling the demand for the sexual exploitation of children, which she presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2016.

Similarly, in a 2015 paper, ECPAT and Plan International highlighted the links between child, early and forced marriage and the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

ECPAT also publishes a Journal Series with academic articles focused on emerging SEC-related issues, relevant current trends or important thematic topics.