Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children – HRC 25

RE: SR on Sale of Children, scheduled for 09.00-12.00 March 12 at Palais des Nations

Special Rapporteur Najat Maalla M’jid presented her findings on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography on March 12 as part of the 25th session of the Human Rights Council at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Ms. M’jid affirmed that the scale of this issue is a serious concern, as millions of children around the world are the victims of sexual exploitation. Global trends indicate a rise in sex tourism, even outside of exotic locations, as well as increased use of the Internet as a means of abuse and exploitation of children. The problem is exacerbated through a number of developments, including the rise of globalisation, new technology, Internet use, and the tourism industry. Paired with increased income disparity worldwide, these factors are making children more vulnerable than ever to exploitation.

In order to combat the spread of child prostitution, pornography and other forms of abuse and exploitation, Ms. M’jid called for the implementation of national legislation. She went on to say that there is a need to educate the public about what legislation already exists for the protection of children. Better reporting mechanisms should be created to overcome fears about the repercussions of exposing offenders, and new technology should be developed to help identify Internet perpetrators. Finally, cooperation is needed between governments and the private sector, especially Internet providers, telecommunications companies and the tourism industry.

In addition to discussing general trends in child exploitation and abuse, Ms. M’jid specifically addressed three nations that were highlighted in her report – Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar and Benin – and allowed each of them to respond to her evaluation. Kyrgyzstan acknowledged that it has yet to fully implement comprehensive legislation for the protection of children but noted that further legislative measures will be taken over the summer to decrease sexual abuse and exploitation of children. The Malagasy ambassador spoke to recommendations that the nation address sex tourism, which Ms. M’jid explained is particularly common there, in part because of social tolerance. Madagascar asserted its intention to mobilize preventive measures for the protection of children. Benin agreed with Ms. M’jid that the scale of sexual abuse and exploitation of its child population remains unclear, but that measures such as free hotlines have been established to promote violation reporting.