ECPAT was set up in Bangkok in 1990 as a campaign to End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (what ECPAT originally stood for). This initial focus and the desire for global attention on these issues culminated in the World Congress against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in Stockholm, Sweden, 27 – 31 August 1996. The Congress was co-organised by ECPAT, UNICEF and the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It concluded with the unanimous adoption of the Stockholm Declaration and the Agenda for Action to which 122 States committed themselves to.

At the Congress it was agreed that ECPAT should have a wider mandate encompassing children sexually exploited in pornography and trafficking all over the world. From a campaign focusing on children in Asia it had grown into a global movement. The ECPAT network now consists of over 72 member groups in 65 countries. The Secretariat of ECPAT International is located in Bangkok.

A second follow-up World Congress was held in Yokohama, Japan, in 2001. At this event governments were asked to report on their achievements and also reaffirm promises made at the Stockholm World Congress. The UK Government sent a delegation and reported on new laws and policies introduced since the Stockholm Congress and announced the development of a new National Plan of Action against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

How ECPAT UK began

ECPAT UK was established in 1994 as The Coalition Against Child Prostitution in Tourism with a mandate to campaign against child sex tourism and lobby for laws and policies to protect children and prosecute British nationals who sexually abuse children abroad. In 1997, as a result of these campaigns the UK Government introduced new legislation to prosecute UK nationals for abusing children abroad. The ‘Coalition’ became the UK national representative of the international ECPAT network in 1997 and in July 2004 became a UK registered charity.