Sexual abuse of children increasingly happens through targeted commercial exploitation, for example in the context of “child sex tourism”, which, according to the NGO “ECPAT International” (a global network of organisations and individuals working together for the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes), notably involves “situational” or “preferential” child sex tourists or paedophiles. Crimes committed by travelling sex offenders belong to the worst forms of violence against children, because they degrade them to mere objects of abusive desires and commercial interests.
The “Lanzarote Convention” (Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, CETS 201) notably covers such offences under its article 19 on child prostitution. In some countries, offenders who carry out abuse abroad can be prosecuted under extraterritorial laws, but procedures are lengthy and costly due to the international co-operation required, and thus rarely applied.
As part of the parliamentary dimension of the current Council of Europe ONE in FIVE campaign to stop sexual violence against children, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Council of Europe in general should join the global network of stakeholders who stand up against “child sex tourism”. All Council of Europe member states should take committed legal and political action and ensure smooth co-operation to efficiently fight this atrocious crime against the human rights of children and adolescents.