5 June 2014
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ECPAT grieves over the loss of Maureen Seneviratne, Founder and Chairperson of ECPAT Sri Lanka

SRI LANKA—ECPAT Sri Lanka (PEaCE) announces with deep sorrow the passing of Ms. Maureen Seneviratne, Founder and Chairperson of ECPAT Sri Lanka (PEaCE) and one of the founding members of ECPAT International. Ms. Seneviratne was part of the initial ECPAT campaign that focused on ending child sex tourism in Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan and Sri Lanka, in the early 1990s, from which ECPAT International has emerged.

ECPAT International conveys its deepest and sincere condolences to the children, grand children, family, friends and colleagues of Ms. Maureen Seneviratne.

ECPAT Taiwan celebrates 20 years

TAIWAN—On 14-15 May, ECPAT Taiwan held a conference and banquet celebrating two decades of protecting Taiwan’s children. Since inception, ECPAT Taiwan and its committed team have been actively involved in preventing child prostitution and online child pornography, providing support to sexually exploited children and encouraging youth participation. Founder of ECPAT Taiwan, Ruth Kao has been a driving force behind both ECPAT Taiwan and the global ECPAT movement. During the banquet, Ruth Kao was honoured and recognised for her tireless work protecting children in Asia and beyond. 

ECPAT International joins the rest of the world in congratulating ECPAT Taiwan for 20 amazing years!

Don’t look away during the final countdown to the World Cup

The “Don’t Look Away!” awareness campaign is entering its final lap! The football World Cup starts on 12th of June and it is time for the ECPAT Network to remind tourists to respect the rights of children during this festive event. More than 60 million children are living in Brazil and some researchers estimates that up to 500 000 are involved in prostitution. Over the last few months, this awareness campaign, involving 15 countries, has been spreading prevention messages in order to reduce the risk of child sex tourism in Brazil. 

With the support of the football player Kaká, among others, ECPAT reminds potential tourists that once in Brazil, they can report a potential case of child sexual abuse by calling the 100 national number. In 2013, this hotline received more than 35 000 calls about sexual violence against children. 

In order to fight against the sexual exploitation of children in tourism, many countries have also adopted extraterritorial laws so any traveller who is convicted of sexually abusing a minor abroad may also be prosecuted upon returning home. Remember, don’t look away and help us to protect children and check out this campaign video featuring Kaká. 

ECPAT Chair and Executive Director visit Switzerland

SWITZERLAND— ON 21-22 May, ECPAT Chair Carol Bellamy and ED, Dorothy Rozga made a trip to Switzerland to meet with Executive Director, Talia Bongni and the rest of the ECPAT Switzerland team. In Switzerland they also had donor meetings with the Swiss secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and UBS Optimus Foundation. 

Regional Consultation against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Latin America 

PANAMA—The ECPAT Latin America Regional Consultation against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children wrapped up on 7 May in Panama City. The three-day Consultation brought together ECPAT groups from the region, together with leading child-rights experts to discuss the regional strategy to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Latin America. Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, along with Bernt Aasen, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean attended as special guest speakers. As a result of the meeting, regional priorities and strategies were identified for the ECPAT Network in Latin America.  

For more information please see the LA Consultation Project Group on the Hub.

ECPAT Germany launches reporting website to protect children

GERMANY—ECPAT Germany launched its German reporting website! This reporting site is part of the initiative being undertaken by several ECPAT European groups as part of the Don’t Look Away Campaign!

Together with the German Travel Association and the Association of the German Tourism Industry, ECPAT Germany launched the site via a press release on 27 May. Additionally, the German Ministry of Family, Seniors, Women and Youth together with the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy published a press release stating the German government’s (ideological) support of the initiative.

ECPAT attends the Digitally Connected Conference

USA—ECPAT International, represented by John Carr, attended the Digitally Connected Conference in Massachusetts, USA on 28-30 April. The conference was jointly organised by UNICEF and the Berkman Center of Harvard Law School.

John Carr, together with a representative of the Indonesian government, moderated a workshop entitled Priority Research Problems in the Global South. The Conference was a good opportunity to advance ECPAT International’s core agenda and highlight issues relating to combating online child sexual exploitation. 

The conference was attended by 150 people and included young people from various parts of Africa, Latin America, China and India. For more information visit the Conference website here.

The National Day to Combat Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children and Adolescents 

BRAZIL—The National Day to Combat Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children and Adolescents was held on 18 May. Events and activities were held in several Brazilian cities all over the country between 18_24 May. As a result, civil society organisations and government departments were mobilised to educate the Brazilian population on the importance in dealing with this problem.

Regional Consultation against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Eastern Europe & CIS

BULGARIA—The ECPAT Eastern Europe & CIS Regional Consultation against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children took place on 25-27 May in Sofia, Bulgaria. The three-day Consultation brought together ECPAT groups from the region, together with leading child-rights experts to discuss the regional strategy to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children. 

As a result of the meeting, regional priorities and strategies were identified for the ECPAT Network in Eastern Europe & CIS.

For more information please see the Eastern Europe & CIS Consultation Project Group on the Hub.

ECPAT meetings in Sweden 

SWEDEN—On 23 May, ECPAT Chair Carol Bellamy and ED, Dorothy Rozga travelled to Sweden to meet with ECPAT Sweden’s Executive Director Anders Pettersson. Later in the day, they met with one of ECPAT’s important donors, SIDA. They also had a meeting with the Global Child Forum (GCF). 

Spotlight on Youth Activist 

The spotlight this month is on Yefry Castro Rodriguez. Yefry leads the youth network of ECPAT Colombia, as both a member and a founder. Do you know a youth member within the ECPAT Network who is doing important work to end CSEC? Let us profile them in the ECPAT e-Bulletin! Contact us at

Name: Yefry Castro Rodriguez

Age: 23 years

Where are you from: I was born is Maria la Baja, a town in the South of Bolivar, but I consider myself to be from Cartagena.

Who I admire and why: I consider myself a humanist, but very spiritual, and I try as much as possible to follow examples that uplift me and that make me a better person. For this reason I admire Jesus Christ and His doctrine, the reason is simple. He taught us to be simple, humble and always willing to serve, for this and many more reasons, I believe that He is a person that transcends borders and that His example calls for unity and love for others ;)

What I like most about being part of the ECPAT network: For me, the concept of the ECPAT network means family, one whose unity seeks to defend the rights of children around the world, especially the rights of CSEC victims. ECPAT is a leading organisation in the world of CSEC. We are a serious and committed network with one vision and, for this reason, I feel very proud to be part of this great international family.

What was your most recent project against CSEC: I am currently working for the Fundacion Renacer, an ECPAT group in Colombia, on a project "Planning for the Future" that creates protective environments to protect children and adolescents from CSEC and have been developing training and raising youth awareness about the problem and its effects. I also serve as a consultant in the youth participation process, leading the youth Network of ECPAT Colombia, as both a member and founder. But I would also like to mention the programme "La Muralla Soy Yo", which was a project for CSEC prevention in the context of travel and tourism, for which I worked as community facilitator, working with children and adolescents from vulnerable communities associated with tourism. In this two-year process, about 600 children and adolescents were provided with tools to protect their rights from all forms of abuse and sexual exploitation. For two years we became part of the community in order to understand its needs and worries, cooperate in the resolution of some of these, and above all create a protective environment for children and adolescents.

Why do you think youth participation is important for the eradication of CSEC: Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents is a problem that violates and infringes upon the rights of children and adolescents, it is them who are directly affected by this situation, and the main focus should be on children and adolescents. Therefore, as a network we should focus our prevention actions on them, to provide tools to recognise CSEC as a problem and a crime that violates their rights and that affects everyone. From there we understand that the voice and the perception of adolescents and youth are vital for strengthening the network and its groups around the world. First of all, we can count on the opinions of those that are really affected by this scourge. I firmly believe that the strength and drive of youth is one of the main pillars in all world movements and for this I think that, as a network, we should give more attention to youth participation in the planning, organising and implementing plans and programs, and decision-making spaces.

Share a fun fact about yourself: Here I always go wrong. Rather than telling funny stories about myself, I’d rather share what a teenager once said to me: "Friend, you are an example for us, and someday I hope to be in places and positions that you have been". A CSEC victim told me this during Fundacion Renacer’s programmes. This really resonated in my life; we are all an open book to the world, and what others read from you is how you will inspire them. I end with this phrase "You will never be defeated if you keep trying." Thank you, ECPAT family for all your devotion to the rights of children and adolescents in the world.

Empowering children with disabilities in the Gambia

GAMBIA—EICYAC representative, Amie Jobe, is currently implementing a micro-project that works to raise awareness and empower children with disabilities in the Gambia. Despite the laws and policies that protect people with disabilities against abuse and exploitation there is still a big gap in ensuring that children with disabilities know their full rights.

The micro-project benefits 50 children who are hard of hearing, visually impaired or have learning difficulties. Training children with disabilities requires proper planning and special considerations like sign language interpreters, audio, voice and Braille material and teaching aids.  Over the past few weeks, workshops and trainings were held with the aim to fully educate children on sexual abuse, commercial sexual exploitation, and also provide basic tips on how to protect themselves. Through children’s active participation, the workshops and training seek to empower children with disabilities by boosting their self esteem and confidence. This is also represented in the slogan chosen by the children: ‘We are special in our own way: so treat us special’. 

ECPAT interviews newly appointed Special Rapporteur on the Sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography 

Recently, ECPAT International had the chance to speak with Ms. Maud De Boer-Buquicchio, the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. During the interview, Ms. De Boer-Buquicchio spoke about the challenges and requirements of her new position and stressed that strong collaboration between stakeholders was necessary to implement child protection mechanisms. 

The Special Rapporteur applauded ECPAT’s global contribution in combating commercial sexual exploitation, saying “I am very grateful and indebted to the work of ECPAT International.” ECPAT International welcomes Ms. Maud De Boer-Buquicchio to the position and looks forward to a strong and collaborative relationship. To learn more about Ms. De Boer-Buquicchino and hear other highlights from the interview check out the website. 

Board Elections

At the end of this year (following the International Assembly meeting), several current EI Board members will conclude their terms, including current Treasurer, David Ould. It is the preference of the Board that this position is filled by a member of the ECPAT Network. Board Chair, Carol Bellamy is seeking recommendations for potential candidates to fill this post. You can read the ToR for the Board position of Treasurer on the Hub here

ECPAT International is hiring!

SECRETARIAT—ECPAT International is currently looking for a Fundraising Consultant and Head for our Legal Programme. Please help us spread the word. Check out the website for more information. 

More education on child abuse needed, warns Beyond Borders ECPAT Canada

CANADA—A recent study by the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that 32 per cent of Canadians suffered from abuse in their childhood. Co-founder of Beyond Borders ECPAT Canada, Mark Hecht says the high rates of child abuse in Canada aren’t surprising to those involved with victims. The public, on the other hand, isn’t aware of just how often children are being harmed.  “The bottom line is it’s happening in our communities” said Hecht and argues that more education is needed. Read more here. 

Project Group for Local Code Representatives

There is new project group on the Hub for Local Code Representatives. LCR’s will find information relating to their work with the Code here. There is also a discussion forum available. Here is a link to the project group.

Commercial sexual exploitation of a child becomes a felony in Brazil

BRAZIL—On 21 May, Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, sanctioned a law that makes the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents a heinous crime. The new law was passed during the National Week of Engagement against the Sexual Violence of Children and Adolescents. Under the new law, the sexual exploitation of a child for commercial purposes is punishable by a term of 4-10 years imprisonment, without eligibility of bail, pardons or amnesty. 

Congratulations to the entire ECPAT coalition in Brazil for their advocacy work in getting this law passed. 

ECPAT appoints Communications & Advocacy Manager

SECRETARIAT—ECPAT International is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Amanuel Teferi Mamo as its Communications and Advocacy Manager.

Amanuel comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience and was the Head of Communications and Marketing for Plan International Ethiopia before joining ECPAT International. Earlier he worked with several local and international NGOs and faith based organisation in Ethiopia, particularly on youth and children programme design and coordination; deputy editor-in-chief; and a communications, advocacy and campaign expert.

For more information please see the ECPAT Network Hub. 

ECPAT welcomes Catherine Mbengue as Regional Coordinator for Africa 

SECRETARIAT—ECPAT is pleased to announce that Ms. Catherine Mbengue has recently taken up the position of ECPAT’s Regional Coordinator for Africa. The Secretariat has opened a small office in Addis Ababa, with much appreciated support from the African Child Policy Forum. 

Catherine will join ECPAT with wide experience in working for children’s right in Africa and in the world. Catherine is from Cameroon and in 2011 she retired from a long career with UNICEF. Catherine has worked and lived in Burundi, Gabon, Malawi, Ghana, Congo, USA and Afghanistan. She is fluent in both French and English.

Please join us in welcoming Ms. Catherine Mbengue to the ECPAT Network!

Report: Sexual exploitation of children in Brazil

ECPAT Netherlands has worked with Terre des Hommes, Free a Girl and Plan Netherlands as part of the “Don't Look Away!” campaign. In preparation for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the groups hired local researchers to do a scan of the nature and the extent of sexual exploitation of children in Brazil, mainly focusing on the seven cities where the tournament takes place. The World Cup creates opportunities but also has negative effects. The research explores these effects, focusing on issues related to the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
A summary of the research and the full report are available on the ECPAT Network Hub
For further information or to include details of news or events, please contact Karyn at
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