Regional Consultation for the UN Study on Violence Against Children
. 5 - 7 July 2005 Ljubljana, Slovenia  
Europe and Central Asia






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Exploitation of Children

"Every year, one million more children in the world become the victims of sexual exploitation. That is one million too many." The Council of Europe's new texts on protection of children against sexual exploitation and cybercrime lay down practical and detailed provisions aimed at definitively eradicating all forms of violence against and sexual abuse of children. In 1991 the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers had adopted a pioneering recommendation on sexual exploitation, pornography, prostitution and trafficking in children and young adults.

It was the first international text to deal comprehensively with these issues, in response to the concern aroused by the rapid expansion of tourist relations between northern and southern countries and the simultaneous emergence of sex tourism in Africa, Asia, South America and eastern Europe. Sex tourism was denounced for the first time by an association set up in Thailand, ECPAT (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism), which was the prime mover behind the growth of international pressure and the first congress in Stockholm. ECPAT has since become an international NGO with its headquarters in Bangkok (Thailand).

At the same time, the Council of Europe, opening up to new member countries in central and eastern Europe, the Baltic region and the Caucasus, soon became aware of the adverse effects of this enlargement, which took the form of criminal networks involved in sexual exploitation linking eastern and western Europe. Since 1992 the development of the Internet has also led to a huge increase in a new form of sexual exploitation of children, using the electronic exchange of pornographic information and pornographic films or photographs involving minors.

This trend has prompted the Council of Europe to adopt a further recommendation on the subject in autumn 2001 and draw up a convention on cybercrime which also covers the issue of pornography involving children.

In Budapest the Council of Europe, together with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and Hungary’s National Institute of Criminology, hold the European Preparatory Conference for the Second World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, which took place in Yokohama.Some 150 delegations, as well as representatives of the European Union, Interpol, NGOs, Internet service providers, tourism and the media, attended the preparatory conference. Participants adopted a regional Action Plan for Europe and Central Asia to be submitted to the Yokohama Congress.

For more information:

Council of Europe
Cathie Burton
Press Officer
Council of Europe
Strasbourg , France
Tel.: +33 3 88 41 28 93. Mobile: +33 685 11 64 93