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.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world in an unprecedented way. If the world is currently slowing down, sexual predators never stop and are continuously adapting. Many factors induced by this sanitary crisis facilitate the perpetuation of violence, especially against children. What is the impact of COVID-19 on children? What can we do to protect them, especially from sexual exploitation and abuse?

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The ECPAT network has published a new study outlining quality standards for reporting lines for child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism. Since 2014, the platform www.dontlookaway.report has been increasingly successful. It now includes reporting lines from more than 20 countries around the world. In order for these websites to function and follow up complaints properly, members will now have to meet a number of quality criteria. The same applies, of course, to the Belgian site “I say STOP!

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Are the (inter)national reporting mechanisms efficient to collect reports of child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism? What would be the improvements needed to ensure that the information provided by travelers can be used in investigations and lead to prosecutions? ECPAT is pleased to announce the publication of a new study which aim was to collect and compare information regarding the international reporting platform (dontlookaway.report) as well as the national reporting portals (Austria, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands).  

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How many people would be willing to report cases of sexual exploitation while travelling abroad? To answer this question, we asked 1081 participants from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands. 

The interesting conclusions of the survey have been published in a new study, that allowed us to better understand the obstacles to report suspicious situations of child sexual exploitation. If you don’t want to read 40 pages, we’ve made it easier for you with this brochure.

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Imagine a Nigerian minor forced into prostitution with false documents. Or children forced to commit robberies in organized gangs. While being victims of trafficking of human beings, these minors are also perpetrators of crimes committed under duress. Can justice prosecute them? Yes, but since July 1 2019, these victims can no longer be punished for offences resulting from their exploitation.

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On May 9, Pope Francis introduced a new decree into canon law requiring the denunciation of cases of sexual violence against minors. This text was eagerly awaited by the victims, does it keep all its promises?

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Yes, in a judgment of 25 September last, the Brussels Court of First Instance sentenced a man for rape of a minor, without the author having had any physical contact with his victim, the abuse taking place by means of a webcam. A verdict that will hopefully set a precedent because it sweeps away the idea that rape cannot be committed “at a distance”, as is the case with new technologies. Read more…

For several weeks, critics have been hovering around the comic book Petit Paul, an adult book telling the story of a 10-year-old boy with a disproportionate sex. Because it illustrates extremely explicit sexual acts between a minor boy and adult women, this comic book rightly shocked many readers. Read more … 

Lessons learned on how to improve child protection in the humanitarian sector: ECPAT Belgium’s standpoint

On February, the 9th 2018, newspapers started disclosing allegations affecting Oxfam UK: after the earthquakein Haiti (2010), aid workers allegedly paid to have sex with young local women, perhaps minors. What Oxfam is being blamed for is not so much its employees’ behaviour – no NGO being immune to a breach of its Code of conduct – but the way these facts were handled.