European legislation

Council of Europe 

The council of Europe includes 47 member states and aims to create a common democratic and legal area throughout the whole of the continent, ensuring respect for its fundamental values: human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, adopted in 2001 and ratified by Belgium in August 2012.

The Convention is the first international treaty on crimes committed via the Internet and other computer networks, including child pornography.

Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, adopted in 2005 and ratified by Belgium in April 2009.

The Council of Europe Convention is a comprehensive treaty which aims to Prevent trafficking, Protect the Human Rights of victims of trafficking and Prosecute the traffickers.

Council of Europe Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, adopted in 2007 and ratified by Belgium in March 2013.

This Convention is the first instrument to establish the various forms of sexual abuse of children as criminal offences including the solicitation of children for sexual purposes ("grooming") and "sex tourism".

European Union 

Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, adopted in April 2011.

The new Directive adopted by the European Union (EU) defines the minimum common rules for identifying and sanctioning offences of trafficking in human beings. In order to support the transposition and implementation of the Directive, the European Commission developed "The EU strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016"

Directive on combating sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children, and child pornography, adopted in December 2011.

This Directive harmonises throughout the European Union (EU) criminal offences relating to sexual abuse committed against children, the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. It also lays down the minimum sanctions. The new rules also include provisions aimed at combating child pornography on-line and sex tourism.

Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, adopted in October 2012. 

The Directive strengthens the rights of victims and of their family members to access information, support, protection and basic procedural rights in criminal proceedings.

EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child, adopted in February 2011.

The EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child aims to reinforce the full commitment of the EU to promote, protect and fulfil the rights of the child in all relevant EU policies and actions. This agenda includes 11 concrete actions where the EU can contribute in an effective way to children's well-being and safety.

EU Strategy for a Better Internet for Children  

The Commission set out a European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children to give children the digital skills and tools they need to fully and safely benefit from being online.

International legislation

United Nations Organisation

Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in November 1989 and ratified by Belgium in December 1991. 

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international treaty to give universally-recognized norms and standards for the protection and promotion of children's rights. It is also ratified international human rights treaty in the world with 193 States Parties. Articles 34 and 35 are devoted to the protection of children against all forms of sexual exploitation.

Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, adopted in May 2000 and ratified by Belgium in 2006. 

Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, adopted in 2000 and ratified by Belgium in 2004.

It is the first global legally binding instrument with an agreed definition on trafficking in persons.

International Labour Organization

C182 - Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, adopted in June 1999 and ratified by Belgium in 2002. 

The Convention includes in the worst forms of child labour: child prostitution, child pornography and child trafficking.