Also open to non-European nations for signing and ratification
CHENNAI: A new European convention on sexual exploitation of children and violence against them will be ready next year.
It will be open even to non-European nations for signing and ratification, Christa Dammermann, child rights officer, Terre des Hommes, Germany, has said.
The convention, to which 42 European states will be party, has addressed certain specific issues, such as the minimum age definition of a child and legal procedures involving children.
Non-governmental organisations in each country must convince their governments to sign and ratify the convention, Ms. Dammermann said. "It will certainly be a good idea to try it out."
The convention will be another step in getting nations to recognise child sexual exploitation and make efforts to form policies to address the issue.
As it is, some nations were working on evolving laws to prevent commercial exploitation, but when it came to implementation, there were several lacunae.
Ms. Dammermann said the Philippines and Thailand very early on changed laws on child protection, but cases continued to be reported nearly everyday.
"Our vision is to ensure that child sexual exploitation does not happen at all," she explained. For that, a few governments working individually on setting the problem right was insufficient. Co-ordinated efforts must be made worldwide, both by the government and NGOs to take the issue by its horns, she said.
While outlining some successes law enforcing agencies such as Europol and Interpol had with busting child pornography rackets, she laid emphasis on the need for the tourism industry to take responsibility to prevent exploitation of children. Nations that had signed the United Nations Child Rights Convention must implement Article 34, which prevented a foreigner taking a local child to his hotel room.
This clause should be incorporated in hotel contracts, as was done in some hotels in Germany and Sweden, she said.
Other conventional attempts to spread awareness were also quite helpful, she said.
In-flight short films on sexual abuse, aired by national and international airline companies, were meant for young persons, as experience showed that the perpetrators too were young.
Ms. Dammermann will show them in Chennai on Thursday when she will speak on `An Intersectoral Response to Travelling Child Sex Offenders' at a meeting organised by Tulir -Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse.