Friday, 13th March 2020

The UN Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children has released her report to the Human Rights Council, which includes a number of submissions provided by ECPAT UK.

The Special Rapporteur’s annual report provides an overview of the main issues of concern, their root causes and emerging trends related to the sale and sexual exploitation of children.

Along with other civil society actors, ECPAT UK provided oral input to the Special Rapporteur in Geneva last September, presenting children’s views and evidence from a child rights perspective to inform her report.

The report’s recommendations align with ECPAT UK’s work against the exploitation of children and incorporate our submissions. These include how for children in migration, the lack of child-friendly systems for identifying and supporting them means children are often treated as immigration offenders rather than protected, and that gender stereotyping in State responses leaves gaps in support for boys who are sexually exploited.

Acknowledging the work done by States and non-governmental organisations to address child sexual exploitation, the report notes that ‘serious protection gaps remain’ 30 years on from the creation of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate, which leaves this work 'as relevant and necessary as ever’. 

On her country visits, the Special Rapporteur observed that the number of convictions for travelling child sex offenders remains alarmingly low​, a significant issue in the United Kingdom where British offenders travel abroad to abuse children. This was highlighted by ECPAT UK in our role as a core participant to the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

Laura Durán, Senior Policy and Research Officer at ECPAT UK, said

‘We’re really pleased that the UN Special Rapporteur included our evidence in her report to the Human Rights Council, and sincerely hope the mandate will be renewed as it is the sole mandate of the UN Special procedures system with an exclusive focus on children.

'We hope this report will help to highlight the abhorrent issue of the sale and sexual exploitation of children and catalyse better responses from States around the world.

‘Children everywhere have the right to be protected from these heinous crimes and governments must now act on this information to improve the identification and support of child victims.’ 


Press contact

Sinead Geoghegan, Communications and Media Manager, ECPAT UK, [email protected], 0207 607 2136