Analysis on the Terminology guidelines for the protection of children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse

In order to effectively fight against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, communication is essential. But how can we ensure that it contributes to an effective protection of victims? First, by agreeing on the vocabulary used. Indeed, many disagreements and confusions persist as to existing notions. Terms such as « paedophile », « child prostitution » or « child pornography » are increasingly criticised as being imprecise, harmful, or stigmatising towards children. However, depending on the words used, different images and perceptions will be created1 . Thus, the proper use of terms is necessary in order to adopt coherent laws and policies to address these issues.

The purpose of this document is to define a number of key terms, which ECPAT Belgium advises to adopt in order to avoid causing any harm to victims.