A two-year global study initiated by ECPAT International and published today reveals that more children are being sexually exploited than ever before and that this is an endemic phenomenon throughout the world. Terre des Hommes has contributed to the report through the expert paper “Child Sexual Exploitation: What do Mega Sporting Events have to do with it?” written by Andrea Florence, Children Win Strategic Alliance Officer.
The Global Report
The report includes a total of 64 reports and expert papers published as part of the global study which you can find here. The main findings show that the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT) has expanded across the globe and out-paced every attempt to respond at international and national level. The results confirm that no region is spared by this phenomenon. In an increasingly interconnected world, more people are on the move and even the most remote parts of the planet are now within reach As a result, the risks of child sexual exploitation are increasing.
“We must all share the burden of ending sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism. It is a moral obligation to act now to protect all children from this shocking crime wherever they are.” said Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid, Chair of the High-Level Task Force for the Global Study on the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism
What do mega Sporting Events have to do with this ?
Mega Sporting Events may increase the risk of child sexual exploitation. Recently published research by the University of Dundee has pointed to sexual exploitation of children as one of the four key violations which happen around Mega Sporting Events – along with police (and army) violence, displacement and child labour.
A common trend is the “invisibility” of child sexual exploitation around Mega Sporting Events. First, it appears child sexual exploitation is hidden behind other social problems, such as diverted services, family stress due to displacement, street clearance and reconstruction of stadiums. The “invisibility” of socially excluded groups is further contrasted to the maximum visibility of “profitable” issues, such as the attraction of tourists and investors.
In order to prevent, report and respond appropriately to child sexual exploitation during all stages of organising a Mega Sporting Event –it is essential that initiatives take place simultaneously at local and international level involving all stakeholders.
The actions undertaken at the international level are usually aimed at reinforcing the culture of human rights within leading sports bodies. The Sport and Rights Alliance (SRA), of which Terre des Hommes is part, is currently working to improve human rights, including children’s rights with regard to Mega Sporting Events such as the Olympic Games and the football World Cup.
Children Win campaign is calling leading sports bodies to align their practise to their ideals by putting in place all measures necessary to mitigate any harm to children and support the advancement of their rights.