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Put an end to impunity for the sexual exploitation of children

Strasbourg, 03.03.2014 – “On the occasion of the World Day against Sexual Exploitation (4 March), our first thought goes to children: girls and boys targeted by travelling sex offenders, trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced into prostitution and child pornography, or victims of other forms of sexual violence,” Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus, EPP/CD), General Rapporteur on children, and José Mendes Bota (Portugal, EPP/CD), General Rapporteur on violence against women, declared today.

“In spite of the efforts to tackle it, sexual exploitation of children is on the rise. Sex tourism is spreading, with an estimated 250,000 people travelling abroad for sex with minors every year. Trafficking of human beings for purposes of sexual exploitation, affecting a large number of children, especially girls, is also increasing. In Europe, however, convictions are falling, which represents a worrying development: impunity for such crimes is not an acceptable outcome.

The Council of Europe has two powerful tools to combat sexual exploitation of minors: the Lanzarote Convention, specifically dealing with sexual exploitation of children, and the Istanbul Convention on violence against women. These are comprehensive treaties based on prevention, protection of victims and prosecution of perpetrators, and require the criminalisation of all kinds of sexual offences against children.

We call on the national authorities of Council of Europe member states to put an end to impunity for the sexual exploitation of children by ratifying and implementing the Lanzarote and the Istanbul Conventions. We count on parliamentarians: by promoting ratifications and supporting and monitoring implementation of these instruments, they can save thousands of children from sexual exploitation.”