Nearly 3,000 people from five continents, 300 of whom are adolescents are being expected in Brazil for the World Congress III Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children, which will be taking place November 25 to November 28 in Rio Centro, in the Brazilian southeastern state of Rio de Janeiro.
The Congress is organized by the Brazilian Government, coordinated by the Special Secretariat for Human Rights, in partnership with the Ministries of Tourism, of Social Development and Fight against Hunger, and of Foreign Affairs.
They have the backing of the organization End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT), UNICEF and the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Throughout the three-day event, there will be workshops and intensive discussions around five key areas: forms of commercial sexual exploitation and its new scenarios, legal framework and accountability, integrated cross-sector policies, initiatives of social responsibility and strategies for international cooperation.
The Brazilian Government, UNICEF and the other partners involved in the Congress see it as being practical, solution-driven and innovative; promoting a genuine dialogue and exchange of good practices; setting practical targets; and fostering new cooperation between governments, civil society and the private sector.
The Congress should afford an opportunity to broaden alliances, address new challenges and promote international cooperation for more effective prevention and response to sexual exploitation.
A major national conference, charged with finding ways to combat sexual exploitation of children, was held in Berlin in June under the auspices of UNICEF’s German National Committee.
The conference was the culmination of a long-term campaign by the German National Committee for UNICEF to raise public awareness of the evils of sexual exploitation of children and to encourage partnerships, strategies and actions that will help address it.
Entitled "Children are Not for Sale," the conference focused on commercial sexual exploitation and the challenges that the age of the Internet poses for the protection of children. In addition to participation by German Parliamentarians and representatives from relevant sectors of German society, the event was attended by UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Hilde Frafjord Johnson.
"Sexual exploitation of children is a crime against our future, and one that knows no boundaries," said Johnson.Â "The damage it causes to its victims – innocent children – is hard to over-estimate."
According to the 2007 UN Study on Violence Against Children, sexual exploitation of children and adolescents is on the rise. In addition, trafficking in human beings – many of whom are children – is now considered one the most lucrative and fastest growing transnational criminal industries, worth some US$ 10 billion a year to its perpetrators according to some estimates.
The German meeting was also part of the preparatory process leading up to the World Congress III on Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents in Rio.