United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

7 October 1996



General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 106


          Sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

                         Note by the Secretary-General

     The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of
the General Assembly, in accordance with Commission on Human Rights
resolution 1996/85 of 24 April 1996, the interim report prepared by
Ms. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on
Human Rights on the sale of children, child prostitution and child


               Interim report prepared by the Special Rapporteur of
               the Commission on Human Rights on the sale of
              children, child prostitution and child pornography


                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION .........................................     1 - 4     3

II.   METHODOLOGY ..........................................     5 - 8     3

III.  BRIEF REVIEW OF CONCERNS .............................     9 - 28    4

      A. Causes ...........................................      9 - 11    4

      B. Characteristics ..................................        12      4

      C. Profiles of the victims and the abusers ..........     13 - 28    5

IV.   MATTERS OF GENERAL CONCERN ...........................    29 - 31    9


      A. Analysis of causes and problems in situ ..........     34 - 44   11

      B. Inventory of resources ...........................     45 - 53   12

      C. Prioritized strategies for action ................     54 - 59   15

VI.   SPECIAL FOCUS ON THE JUSTICE SYSTEM ..................    60 - 88   16

      A. Problem areas at the national level ..............     67 - 72   17

      B. Recommendations at the national level ............     73 - 84   21

      C. Problems at the international level ..............     85 - 86   22

      D. Recommendations at the international level .......     87 - 88   24

                               I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   At its fifty-first session, the Commission on Human Rights
decided, by its resolution 1995/79 of 8 March 1995, to renew for a
further period of three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on
the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

2.   In its resolution 1996/85 of 24 April 1996, the Commission on
Human Rights requested the Secretary-General to provide the Special
Rapporteur with all necessary human and financial assistance to make
the full discharge of the mandate possible and to enable her to submit
an interim report to the General Assembly at its fifty-first session. 
The present report, which covers the period from November 1995 to
August 1996, is submitted in accordance with that resolution and with
reference to General Assembly resolution 50/153 of 21 December 1995.

3.   During that period, the Special Rapporteur undertook one country
visit.  At the invitation of the Government of the Czech Republic, the
Special Rapporteur visited the Czech Republic from 20 to 25 May 1996. 
The Special Rapporteur will submit a report on her visit and her
recommendations to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-third
session (10 March-18 April 1997).

4.   The Special Rapporteur wishes to convey her thanks to the
Governments, specialized agencies, and governmental and
non-governmental organizations that provided her with valuable

                               II.  METHODOLOGY

5.   During the course of the year, the Special Rapporteur had the
opportunity to participate in various seminars and conferences at the
national, regional and international levels on the issue of
trafficking in children, child prostitution and pornography.  The main
concern in all the seminars and conferences was the problem of sexual
exploitation of children and its escalation.  In that regard, the
gravity and the global aspect of the phenomenon were stressed by
Governments, representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental
organizations and members of civil society.

6.   The World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of
Children (Stockholm Congress) held at Stockholm from 27 to 31 August
1996 was a milestone in the protection of children and played a
decisive role in raising awareness of the international community
about the alarming proportions of the phenomenon of child abuse all
over the world.  It clearly established that there was hardly any
region, country, city or village in a position to state that abuse of
children does not occur within its boundaries.  The existence and the
magnitude of such violations of children's rights could no longer be
denied, and certain questions came up again and again, such as:  "what
can be done?", "what can we do?", "where should we start?".

7.   It is for that reason that the Special Rapporteur, for the present
report, concentrates on commercial sexual exploitation of children. 
She starts by presenting a brief overview of the issues relating to
the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography by
establishing their causes and characteristics and then endeavours to
draw a profile of both the abusers and the victims.  She also briefly
examines matters of general concern.

8.   In response to appeals by States, non-governmental organizations,
individuals and the rest of civil society for some guidance on how to
combat this crucial issue of commercial exploitation of children,
section V gives a sample module for action addressed to States and
their partners.  Section VI focuses on the justice system, both at the
national and international levels, in recognition of its fundamental
role both in prevention and in the redress of child exploitation and

                        III.  BRIEF REVIEW OF CONCERNS

                                  A.  Causes

9.   The diverse causes giving rise to the sale of children, child
prostitution and child pornography are multidimensional, ranging from
structural or systematic to individual and less organized incursions
against children.  Each situation usually involves an interaction of a
cause with one or more of the others.

10.  The causes of the problem encompass a wide range of conditions and
pernicious practices inimical to the child's interests, from economic
needs to socio-cultural discrepancies, including gender bias and other
forms of discrimination based on race, caste or class.  With regard to
gender discrimination, girl children are more vulnerable to sexual
exploitation because, inter alia, of the existence of a culture of
violence, rape, incest and sexual and other forms of abuse against
women.  The discrimination extends to the systematic undervaluation of
females in terms of "property" or ability to earn in the market, as
well as to societal organization and the structure of power which give
males greater privilege and power over females.

11.  Population growth, both on a national scale and on a more
localized level (such as urban migration); the erosion of the family
structure resulting in the deprivation of one of the best stabilizing
elements in the lives of children; and the erosion of societal and
spiritual values which also adversely affects the judgements of
parents, who may view the child as a factor of production or as an
investment for economic reasons rather than an entity vested with
substantive rights and inherent dignity, are other causes of the
exploitation of children.  The situation is made more deplorable by
the fact that political priorities, especially concerning budgetary
allocations, are frequently lopsided, with the development and
protection of children considered very low in priority.

                              B.  Characteristics

12.  There are certain characteristics that typify most commercial
sexual exploitation of children, including the following:

     (a)  It is invisible.  Children drawn into the net of prostitution
are for the most part hidden from public scrutiny, either physically
(they are not placed on display as are their adult counterparts), or
under the guise of being of age, through the falsification of
identification papers;

     (b)  It is mobile.  The invisible nature of the phenomenon
necessitates not only deviation from the usual places of operation
like brothels, hotels, bars, and the like, but also frequent changes
in the areas of operation;

     (c)  It is global.  While the gravity of the situation for
children may vary from region to region or from country to country,
reports show that this kind of child abuse exists in practically all
corners of the world.  The contagious nature of the phenomenon causes
the blurring of lines between sending and receiving countries.  Some
countries that used to be considered supply countries are becoming
demand countries as well.  Likewise, children of countries heretofore
considered to be on the demand side, are starting to be victimized
either in their own country or elsewhere;

     (d)  It is escalating.  Fear of AIDS and other sexually
transmitted diseases, inter alia, leads to a greater demand for
younger sexual partners.    Children used to be substitutes for adult
prostitutes; now, however, there is marked increase of preference for
children over adults, pushing up the worth of children in the sex

     (e)  It is a highly profitable business.  This is borne out by the
fact that it involves not only ad hoc or individual "entrepreneurs",
it is often conducted by international profiteers using systematic
methods of recruitment within a highly organized syndicated network,
which is often also involved in other criminal activities such as drug

                  C.  Profiles of the victims and the abusers

13.  Knowledge about the profiles of both the child victims and the sex
exploiters and the understanding of their characteristics are key
elements in any attempt to form policies and plans of action in the
campaign to end child abuse and exploitation.  They are important
factors in raising public awareness and in any action for attitudinal
change, as well as for any strategy regarding law enforcement,
prevention, education, training, the rehabilitation of the victim and
the treatment of the offender.

                                1.  The victims

14.  All over the world, children are getting to be more and more
vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation.  Children's
vulnerability generally stems from the circumstances of their family,
either because they belong to marginalized or broken families, or have
been abused in the family, or because they are the children of women
involved in the sex industry.

15.  Street children are particularly vulnerable either because of peer
pressure or because it is a means of survival.  Children in orphanages
and local authority care are often also subject to sexual abuse by
adults occupying positions of trust or authority.  They are easy
targets for abusers under a fiction of consent.

16.  The growing incidence of force or kidnapping as a means of drawing
children into the net of exploitation and abuse likewise poses a
serious threat to children who may not belong to marginalized groups.

                                2.  The abusers

(a)  The exploiters

17.  As the sex market has changed and developed, the traditional pimp
and the brothel "Madam" are no longer the only ones supplying child
sex clients.  Getting more and more involved are exploiters in the
upper echelons of the industry, such as leaders and members of
organized crime, traffickers, middlepersons, tour organizers, corrupt
administration officials and, unfortunately, also parents and
caretakers of children.

(b)  The clients

18.  Child sex clients have been identified as coming primarily from
the following groups:  paedophiles, preferential child sex abusers or
regular situational customers, local prostitute users, tourists,
travelling businessmen, migrant foreign workers, military personnel,
public workers in isolated places and others.

19.  The term paedophile, in the clinical sense, refers to an adult who
has a personality disorder that involves a specific and focused sexual
interest in pre-pubertal children.  The majority of paedophiles are
male, but the number of female abusers is growing.  Though some
paedophiles have a focused interest in either boy or girl victims,
others have no gender preference.  The term preferential child sex
abuser refers to individuals whose preferred sexual objects are
children who have reached or passed the age of puberty.  Such abusers
are usually, but not exclusively, men, and their victims may be either
male or female.  The situational child sex abuser is the adult man or
woman who sexually exploits children not because they have a focused
sexual interest in them, but rather because they wish to "experiment"
with child sexual partners.

20.  Soldiers and other members of the military, both local and
foreign, have long represented a substantial portion of the demand for
commercial sex.  The relationship between the military and
prostitution has been illustrated by cases of soldiers paying for the
sexual services of orphaned, abandoned or displaced girls, who are
often held in brothels under conditions of virtual slavery and forced
to sexually service off-duty local soldiers.

21.  Sex tourists, as individuals entering into sexual exploitative
relationships with local women, men or children while travelling for
leisure purposes, do not represent an homogeneous group.  Though the
vast majority are heterosexual males, there are also homosexual and
paedophile sex tourists.  In many areas, sex tourists represent the
major source of demand for children in prostitution.  Use of
prostitutes by travelling businessmen is also widespread.  Providing
"call girls" and/or visits to brothels often forms part of the
hospitality extended by business associates and friends.

                    3.  Motivations for child sexual abuse

22.  The Special Rapporteur will limit herself to the examination of
the motivations for child sexual abuse in a commercial context:

     (a)  Some clients use prostitution to satisfy what they imagine to
be a biological need for physical contact.  Many men who do not have,
or are separated from, a regular non-commercial sexual partner often
believe that commercial sex is necessary to their physical and
psychological well-being.  They often prefer to use girls between the
ages of 14 and 20, since girls in this range tend to conform more
closely to cultural ideas of feminine beauty;

     (b)  Misconceptions about the transmission of AIDS and other
sexually transmitted diseases may encourage men who use prostitutes to
select younger girls in the mistaken belief that they are less likely
to contract illness from them.  This factor is mainly responsible for
the spiralling effect of demand for younger and younger children;

     (c)  Some men use prostitution in order to obtain a sense of
camaraderie with male colleagues or friends, or as a result of peer
pressure aimed at affirming a shared masculine identity and a
heightened sense of belonging.  Male friends also often travel
together to engage in sex tourism, and the presence of colleagues or
friends encourages them to break taboos around child sexual abuse;

     (d)  Assertion of masculinity and power is also one of the reasons
why some clients resort to child prostitutes.  Because child
prostitutes are often found at the cheaper end of the commercial sex
market, less affluent men in terms of social and economic power often
have greater "consumer" power in relation to child prostitutes, and
are thus likely to become situational child abusers, even if they have
no specific sexual interest in children;

     (e)  Commercial sexual abuse of children sometimes results from a
compulsive urge to perform sexually transgressive acts and/or to
exercise sexual power over extremely vulnerable, powerless,
objectified and/or degraded individuals.  These clients seem to feel
sexual and psychological pleasure from the knowledge that they are
breaking the law, flouting the moral codes they have been taught, or
in some way transgressing rules and values and getting away with it;
     (f)  It also happens that some clients do not see themselves as
users of children in prostitution because the modus operandi may be
different in the countries they visit.  The prostitute-client
exchange, especially in the informal sector, could be different from
that which takes place in the country of the client, giving ground to
the interpretation of the whole process as confirmation of a mutual
attraction rather than as a commercial sexual encounter;

     (g)  In certain cultures, there is widespread belief that having
sex with a virgin will enhance the virility of men or cause longevity.

23.  The motivations for child sexual abuse in a non-commercial context
should also be closely examined, particularly the cognitive
distortions used by abusers in both commercial and non-commercial
aspects to rationalize and justify their acts of abuse.

                            4.  Effects on children

24.  Any kind of sexual exploitation can be devastating to a child, but
commercial sexual exploitation afflicts children with horrors it would
be quite difficult for even the most hardened adults to imagine.  The
long-lasting and deep-seated effects cover the entire range of the
personhood of the child, physical, mental and psychological.  The
feeling of loss is all-pervasive, loss of their innocence, of their
childhood and of their sense of self.

(a)  Physical effects

25.  Living conditions for the children in brothels or in the streets
are almost always unsanitary and cramped.  Food is often inadequate
and medical care non-existent.  Physical abuse by the clients, pimps
or brothel owners is not uncommon as a means of subjugating the child
or to force miscarriage for children who are pregnant.

26.  The children's susceptibility to sexual diseases cannot be
overemphasized.  The younger the children are, the more prone they are
to damage and infection.  There is little to indicate that safe sex is
practised with children.  Men precisely seek out children because of
the belief that they are free from sexually transmitted diseases and
AIDS, which may encourage them not to use condoms.  Even the children
themselves often do not encourage the use of condoms because they
cause greater pain.

27.  Other physical complaints range from abdominal pain to sores,
headaches, bodyaches, fevers and colds, and a general feeling of

(b)  Mental and psychological effects

28.  The effects on the mental and psychological health of children
subject to commercial sexual exploitation are not easy to diagnose,
and can be healed only through expensive and prolonged treatment.  The
following are some of the more common manifestations of mental and
psychological disorder observed among abused children:

     (a)  Serious depression coupled with suicidal tendencies;

     (b)  Devastated self-esteem;

     (c)  Distorted perceptions of sex;

     (d)  A great sense of loss and sacrifice, without any
corresponding gain, especially for children in situations of bondage;

     (e)  Impaired learning ability and attention and memory span;

     (f)  Escapism through dissociation, sleep or fantasy;

     (g)  Utter dependence on the pimps and exploiters, fostering a
sense of alienation and complete servility;

     (h)  A deep feeling of guilt, especially for those who were not
kidnapped, forced or coerced but rather lured into prostitution and

     (i)  Other behavioral manifestations, such as self-mutilation,
aggression both physical and sexual, excessive emotional attachment
and attention-seeking antics;

     (j)  Inability to trust anybody;

     (k)  Multiple phobias, such as fear of sex, fear of being sold
again, fear of men, fear of violence, fear of new care-givers, fear of
ostracism and even fear of returning home.

                        IV.  MATTERS OF GENERAL CONCERN

29.  The following additional matters of general concern also deserve

     (a)  Adult prostitution and prostitution involving children are
two very distinct issues.  While it may be granted that States may
have the right to determine for themselves whether or not to legalize
adult prostitution, that option is not open to them as far as children
are concerned.  There should be no ambivalence in declaring the
illegality and immorality of commercial sexual exploitation of
children.  Neither should there be any doubt that in this particular
aspect, children are never the perpetrators of the offence, but the
victims thereof.  Likewise, there should be no distinction drawn
between children who are perceived to enter prostitution voluntarily,
and those who are forced, deceived or misled.  Voluntariness almost
never implies free choice, but rather lack of choice, taken in the
context of the attendant political, economic, cultural or social

     (b)  Response processes should not further victimize the child. 
Multiple victimization can happen at practically all levels of
response in the hands of untrained and insensitive assistance.  Even
programmes conceptualized to create heightened awareness regarding the
existence of the abuse can backlash to cause damage not anticipated. 
The Special Rapporteur remembers having seen a video film on
pederasty.  The well-intentioned project, while it achieved success in
shocking people into awareness of the existence of the problem, also
catapulted the boys who were featured therein to instant stardom,
generating demands for their services never before experienced;

     (c)  Coherence is another very important factor to consider in the
conceptualization of national policies, programmes and strategies. 
This requires the integration of concerns of children in all the
aspects of government activities, so that children's concerns are not
unwittingly put aside in the effort to find solutions to other
problems.  Coherence should likewise be the guiding principle at the
international level, including in the United Nations system.  The
peacekeeping activities of the United Nations, for example, should not
provide a fertile ground for germination of commercial sexual
exploitation of children in the name of providing soldiers with rest
and recreation.  Another example is in the elimination of child
labour, which should not result in driving children from the
proverbial frying pan into the fire.  For while having children
trapped in certain unhealthy working conditions may be far from ideal,
simply closing this door to children without providing them with
viable alternatives may drive them deeper underground into the much
more hazardous world of commercial sexual exploitation;

     (d)  Pornography is now a virtually unexplored field, and the
obsolescence of existing legislation, as the result of modern
technology, necessitates upgrading the review of laws in the order of

30.  Challenges to a study on child pornography include the lack and/or
obsolescence of any uniform definition of what child pornography
entails, lack of data regarding the production and distribution of
child pornography in many parts of the world and shifting global
patterns of production and consumption of child pornography. 
Furthermore, the development of home video equipment and computer
technology has revolutionized the international production and
distribution of child pornography.  Expanding international access to
increasingly inexpensive technology has transformed child pornography
into a sophisticated industry.  Computer alteration of images and the
potential for creating computer-generated pornography pose formidable
challenges for courts and law enforcement officials worldwide.

31.  One other issue on pornography deserving serious study and
research is the impact of pornography on children, not as the subjects
thereof, but as the viewers, or in a sense, the clients.  To date, all
efforts to address the issue of pornography are concentrated on the
child being the subject thereof.  In today's reality, however, where
the children are generally more computer literate than the adults, and
in developed countries have ready access to computers in their day to
day lives, the effect of unsupervised exposure to pornographic
materials on young minds should also be looked into.  Monitoring
access to pornography is now virtually an impossibility for parents
and caretakers of children, necessitating some control mechanism


32.  Making the commitment to do something to combat the sale,
prostitution and pornography of children is not difficult. 
Governments accede with alacrity to measures to protect children, as
shown by the almost universal acceptance of the Convention on the
Rights of the Child in such a short period of time.

33.  Translating the commitment into action, however, is quite another
matter.   Most Governments, non-governmental organizations or
individuals wanting to do their part are daunted by the magnitude of
the problems and find difficulty in even making a start in their
search for solutions.  Recommendations on the steps that may be
followed to address the problems more systematically are set out
below.  They are not intended to be viewed as the only formula that
will work, but rather a prototype that can be changed, modified or
improved upon as the situation warrants.

                  A.  Analysis of causes and problems in situ

34.  A good starting point in problem-solving is the analysis of the
cause or causes of the concern and the problems that may hinder speedy
solutions in the context of the place concerned.  Ideally, the
analysis should be based on extensive information-gathering, surveys
and studies that go beyond the anecdotal so that there can be a more
precise targeting of goals and courses of action.

35.  Most Governments do not have the research facilities to conduct
these studies.  However, it is quite possible that other readily
available sources of information may be tapped, such as non-
governmental organizations working in the field, schools, etc.  The
analysis must be concentrated on the situations prevailing in the area
(region, country, province, city, town, etc.).  No two situations are
exactly alike, and strategies may work in one place and not in

36.  Certain countries have been identified as countries where the
proliferation of the sale of children, child prostitution and child
pornography exist, and they are often referred to as the "supply" side
of the problem.  For countries so situated, therefore, the main goal
would be to stop the source of the supply, that is, the child victims. 
On the other hand, other countries' involvement may not be in having
their own children be the target of the abuse, but in their being the
source of the abusers.  They are thus referred to frequently as the
"demand" side of the problem.  For those countries the main goal would
be to eliminate the demand.

37.  The globalization of the phenomena of the sale of children, child
prostitution and child pornography, however, blurs the lines between
the  countries that have heretofore been identified as the supply side
and countries considered to be on the demand side.  Developing
countries, which had been considered to be the main sources of abused
children, also have their own share of abusers, whereas developed
countries are beginning to wake up to the fact that they not only have
abusers who prey on children in different parts of the globe, but that
their own children are now being drawn into the net of exploitation
and abuse.

38.  It becomes essential, therefore, for States to look for solutions
both to stop the supply and to eliminate the demand.

39.  It is likewise important that the identification of the victims of
child abuse and exploitation and the prevalent causes for their
involvement be studied, again in the context of the State concerned. 
While it is recognized that commercial sexual exploitation of children
involves not a single cause but a combination of causes, there may be
divergence in the main cause in one country from that in another. 
Most children in developing countries get involved owing to financial
needs, be it for survival or for consumer goods.

40.  There must be a determination of at least a general picture of the
percentage of girls involved as compared with the percentage of boys,
especially in prostitution and pornography.  There are differences in
the patterns related by boys from those related by girls in the modes
of recruitment, the degree of involvement, the manner and places of
operation, and in the ability to extricate themselves from the
situation.  Reports even suggest that there may be differences in the
effects of the abuse on girls and boys.

41.  For instance, there seems to be a wide divergence in the entry
point of girls into prostitution and that of boys.  Reports from all
over the world show that most girls are either forced, coerced or led
into prostitution by deceit or other means.  Trade in girls is a
highly profitable activity involving ruthless traders.  The girls are
almost always under the strict control of somebody - their parents,
the pimps or the brothel owner - and have much greater difficulty in
extricating themselves from the pernicious practices afflicting them.

42.  On the other hand, while there are reports on the growing
involvement of boys in prostitution, their participation so far is
rarely coercive, showing a greater degree of "voluntariness".  Peer
network influence is one of the main reasons that boys are involved in
prostitution or pornography, and they usually band among themselves
for mutual protection.

43.  Strategies, both for prevention and intervention, must therefore
be conceptualized keeping these gender-based disparities in mind.

44.  Knowledge as to the composition of the clientele in situ is a must
in planning strategies to eliminate the demand.  Where the clients are
mostly sex tourists, the programmes of action would be different from
situations where, say, the military personnel are the ones involved.

                          B.  Inventory of resources

                            1.  Statutory framework

45.  All programmes and strategies must take into account the legal
framework of the country.  It is essential that there be a review of
all existing laws having an impact on the welfare of children in
general, and exploited and abused children in particular.  This would
also lead to a determination of gaps and inadequacies, which can, in
turn, be the basis for recommendations for legislative action.

(a)  Substantive laws on the sale of children, child prostitution and
child pornography

46.  Scrutiny of the existing laws for the protection of children
should be made in order to determine recommendations for reform.  The
following are some of the questions that must be answered:

     (a)  Are there laws penalizing the sale of children?  Child
prostitution?  Child pornography?

     (b)  What are the elements of each one of these crimes?

     (c)  Who is subject to criminal culpability for each of these
offences? What are the penalties imposed by law on these offences?

     (d)  Is the child involved in prostitution and/or pornography
subject to penal sanctions?

     (e)  What are the gaps or inadequacies in the existing

     (f)  What are the laws discriminatory to children and women?

(b)  Procedural rules

47.  Procedural rules for the handling of the child from the time a
report is made of the incidence of abuse should be examined to make
sure that the child is protected at all stages of the process.  The
following questions would be helpful:

     (a)  Who can file the case?

     (b)  Is the dignity and sense of self-worth of the child

     (c)  Is there confidentiality, especially of the identity of the
child in all stages, and avoidance of sensationalism?

     (d)  Is the child entitled to support in the course of the
proceedings, including family support, legal assistance, support from
a social worker or child psychologist?

     (e)  Are questioning and cross-examination procedures empathetic
and considerate to the child, taking into consideration the child's
age, background, intelligence and education?

     (f)  Are there rules to preclude undue influence on the child?

     (g)  Is the safety of the child during the proceedings and
thereafter ensured?

(c)  Reporting mechanisms for abuse

48.  The public in general, and children in particular, have to be
aware of avenues of recourse open to abused children.  They have to be
informed of the importance of timeliness in bringing the abuse to the
attention of the authorities.  Easy access to complaint mechanisms is
vital in order to encourage recourse to the justice system.  The
following questions should be asked:

     (a)  Are hot lines for children available?

     (b)  If so, are children properly informed of the existence of
these telephone lines that they can use in case of problems?

     (c)  Who are the people receiving the calls?   Are they trained to
deal with sexually abused children?

     (d)  In schools, is there any structure assisting child victims of
abuse? How about in communities?

     (e)  Are there police officers properly trained in attending to
the complaints of abused children?

     (f)  Are the children sufficiently informed about where to go in
case of violation of their rights?

                     2.  Determination of available funds

49.  Any action for combating exploitation of children should be
strengthened by the will of its initiators coupled with the financial
means to implement programmes of action.  Before any measures are
implemented a review of the funds available is imperative.

(a)  National budgets

50.  Children's issues frequently used to be excluded from political
priorities for Governments owing, obviously, to the reality that
children are not voters.  The Stockholm Congress and recent
international developments did much to raise the consciousness of
States on the issue, giving a much-needed push to motivate political
will and upgrade children's concerns in the order of priorities.  This
upgrading would perforce necessitate an increase in their share in the
national budget.  Despite this, however, most developing countries are
still hamstrung by lack of funding, requiring careful and rational
programming in order to optimize available resources for feasible and
more practical strategies.

(b)  Other sources of funding

51.  Other possible sources of funding should be tapped to supplement
the resources presently available.  Partnerships with funding
organizations, both on the national and international levels, often
yield fruitful results. Non-traditional sources, if sensitized, could
also contribute to particular projects, which could be easily

                    3.  Identification of possible partners

52.  At the national level, there is a need to broaden the range of
catalysts that can help to protect children.  Governments can never
tackle the problems alone.  While more effective performance by
government agencies should be called for, cooperation and coordination
with non-governmental organizations and the rest of civil society is
equally imperative.  Parents' organizations, religious groups,
community development organizations, children and youth organizations,
professional associations, and the mass media are some of the
non-governmental entities that can provide help.  Chambers of commerce
and other business groups may also be regarded as a source of
assistance whose potential has yet to be harnessed for the protection
and development of children.

53.  Particular attention should be paid to non-governmental
organizations that are already involved in children's concerns.  Non-
governmental organizations would be invaluable and indispensable
partners and the respective mandates and activities of each one should
be inventoried so that they can be harnessed in social mobilization
schemes with optimum benefit.  Non-governmental organizations usually
have training in research and investigations and the trust of the
community in most areas, and they are not constrained by pressure of
higher authorities.

                     C.  Prioritized strategies for action

54.  A national agenda to prevent and combat child abuse and
exploitation should be developed within a time-frame of activities. 
This would necessitate a prioritization of strategies for action. 
First, the main thrust the Government wants to adopt would be
determined - whether focus should be on preventive or remedial action,
or both.

55.  Much had been said of the value of prevention.  Preventive
measures are generally considered to be not only cheaper than remedial
ones but are also easier to implement.  Their protective mantle covers
a greater number of children.  There is strong evidence to indicate
that children who are subject to abuse often grow up to be themselves
the abusers of children.  Preventive measures will therefore have a
positive impact not only on today's children but also those of future

56.  Remedial measures are generally much more expensive, and the
success ratio of recovery and reintegration has not proven to be
encouraging.  There are certain crucial reasons why most social
workers are frustrated in their efforts to reintegrate the children in
prostitution; among these are the lack of viable income-producing
alternatives, fear of ostracism, the high cost of medical and
psychological assistance required, and the length of time for the
recovery period.

                       1.  Approaches to prioritization

57.  Once a determination has been made as to whether the main thrust
of the programme will be preventive or remedial, the next step is to
prioritize the strategies.  Different approaches have been used by
Governments in listing their schedules for implementation. 
Prioritization enables the Government to focus on certain issues at a
given time, so that it does not fall into the trap of trying to
address all of the problems at the same time.  Shotgun solutions to
all the problems will cause greater difficulties both in the manner of
implementation and in the monitoring systems to measure success.

58.  Prioritization may be based on certain criteria, such as first
things first, worst things first or catch as catch can.  Each one of
these approaches may have its pros and cons, but whatever standard is
adopted, it should be based on its "doability" and implementability. 
It should enhance a feeling of gratification, which would encourage
intensification of further efforts.

                      2.  Networking with chosen partners

59.  After the setting of priorities, the next logical step would be to
draw in partners who will be allies in the implementation of the
chosen action.  Should the first priority be an information drive on
the issue, for example, the media has to be drawn in as an
indispensable partner.  Other sectors may be drawn in as well, such as
education, community groups and the like.  It is equally crucial that
the chosen sectors be first sensitized to the needs of the children to
be protected and that attention be given to a systematic allocation of
responsibilities to each one of the partners.


60.  The justice system is among the three catalysts, the other two
being the media and education, that the Special Rapporteur has
identified as having crucial roles to play in the fight against child
abuse.  It is reiterated that this is not intended to exclude other
sectors that have just as important an impact on the problems.  This
is simply the Special Rapporteur's way of tackling the issue in a more
focused manner.

61.  The justice system can be a forceful ally of children on at least
two levels:  on prevention of child abuse and exploitation, and on
avoiding secondary victimization of children in its response

62.  With regard to the preventive aspect, it is a known fact that
abusers of children, local or international, proliferate where the
perception is that the justice system is ineffective, or corrupt or
insensitive to children's concerns.  Conversely, where the wheels of
justice in a country are perceived to be speedy, incorruptible and
particularly protective of children, child abusers perforce have to
look elsewhere for their targets of abuse and perversion.

63.  The first step in utilizing the justice system as a preventive
tool, of course, is getting the child, or those acting in his or her
behalf, to complain. Unhappily, however, despite appeals for
strengthened children's rights, a child today often looks at the
justice system as an enemy, rather than as a friend. This is because
the justice system often fails to regard the child victim as a major
claimant to protection in the legal processes.

64.  Until very recently, protective laws and mechanisms, both on the
national and international levels, have addressed mainly the needs of
the accused. Very little attention has been paid to the equally
important, if not more important, needs of the victim, and to the even
more specialized needs of the child victim.

65.  The cause of justice demands a proper balance between the rights
of the child victim and the accused.  This can best be achieved, at
the very least, by measures to prevent secondary victimization of the
child in the hands of those from whom he or she is seeking redress. 
The entire justice system is rife with entry points for further
victimization, from the time of the report up to the time of, and even
beyond, sentencing.

66.  It is in this light, that the following discussion focuses on some
problems that may have to be addressed in order to achieve the goals
of optimizing the capability of the justice system to be a strong
deterrent to child abuse and to avoid further adding to the trauma and
stigmatization of the child victim.

                    A.  Problem areas at the national level

                              1.  Law enforcement

67.  Law enforcement is a potent tool for prevention.  Community
policing, active surveillance and raids of sex markets, as well as
high visibility of police officers as protectors of children can send
a strong and convincing message to the general public, to the victims
and to the abusers.  A sustained and consistent drive against child
abuse renders the length and severity attached by law to the offences
of secondary importance.

68.  The police are normally the first contact of the child with the
justice system.  The first impression the child gets in the hands of
the police sets the tone of trust or mistrust, cooperation or
withdrawal, and a feeling of security and elation that at last
somebody cares or a feeling of bewilderment and despair that the
ultimate recourse under the rule of law is not made available to them.
Some of the problem areas in law enforcement are the following:

     (a)  The lack of a clear and comprehensive legal protocol,
especially in the area of sexual abuse and exploitation, necessary to
provide a strong base for action and for quality investigation and law
enforcement.  The lack of clarity in the law as to who are criminally
culpable, for example, may lead to confusion in the detection and
apprehension of abusers;

     (b)  The fear of transgressing into what may be considered to be
purely domestic matters; the thin borderline between parental rights
and discipline on the one hand and exploitation and abuse on the
other, combine to deter effective zeal in the investigation and
prosecution of abusers;

     (c)  Delayed or late reporting of abuse often affects the
credibility of the child.  Essential evidence is often lost resulting
in the failure to substantiate the elements required for an offence. 
If the child has already taken a bath, or has had his or her clothes
washed, or let the bruises and other marks fade before reporting the
incident, the police may question the veracity of the complaint;

     (d)  False reporting likewise hampers the police from effective
law enforcement.  One very common misrepresentation is made with
respect to the age of the child, which may mean the difference between
effecting an arrest or letting the offender go;

     (e)  Crimes pertaining to the sale, prostitution and pornography
of children are not yet considered mainstream crimes.  They are
usually sidelined by what are perceived to be the more urgent and
dramatic police functions like investigation of murders, controlling
riots, and detection and apprehension of drug dealers, among others;

     (f)  The police are normally well-honed in the abuser-centred but
not in the victim-centred approach.  As already stated above, while
the rights of the accused are already deeply ingrained not only in
international documents like the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules
for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules) and the
United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency
(the Riyadh Guidelines), but also in most national laws, the rights of
the victim have yet to be similarly addressed.  Insensitive handling
by indifferent or untrained police officers gives rise to secondary or
multiple victimization of the child, which may have more serious
repercussions than the abuse being complained of.  Disregard for the
dignity of the child in the process of evidence-taking may aggravate
the agony already suffered.  The same thing happens when the identity
of the child victim and the confidentiality of the proceedings are not

     (g)  The lack of resources for the law enforcers presents a major
stumbling block in investigation and prosecution.  The present trend
towards globalization of the concerns of the mandate, and the
involvement therein of highly sophisticated syndicated operators very
often leaves the police far behind, making detection and chase very
frustrating tasks;

     (h)  One of the factors causing discouragement on the part of law
enforcement officers is the refusal of the victim to talk.  Even where
an abuse is brought to the attention of the police, it is often
inevitable that a statement by the child victim is needed before the
police will even consider the filing of the case.  Fear of reprisal,
however, especially where the offenders are the parents, deters the
child from making the statement, leaving the police with no choice but
to desist from further action;

     (i)  Quite often, police raids are conducted more as a hunt for
children violators rather than an investigation into their abusers. 
The success factor of the raids is frequently measured by the number
of children rounded up as a result of the raids, not on the abusers
arrested or on the children helped.

                                2.  Prosecution

69.  After the police officer is satisfied that a crime has probably
been committed, the case should be forwarded to the prosecution for
further evaluation as to whether it can be filed in court.  Here,
again, there are problem areas:

     (a)  The inadequacy of the evidence-gathering and statement-taking
processes by the police may cause the prosecution either to dismiss
the case or to completely disregard statements given by the child
victim to the police, necessitating the retaking thereof, thereby
compounding the trauma already suffered, especially where the
prosecutor is untrained or insensitive to the rights of the child;

     (b)  Coercion by or undue influence of persons having care of the
child victim cause the child to retract statements already given to
the police or to simply disappear and make themselves unavailable for
the proceedings, weakening the case if not totally rendering
impossible its filing with the courts.

                                3.  The courts

70.  Appearing in a court of justice is an experience not relished by
most adults, no matter how educated or how sophisticated they may be. 
It is not surprising therefore that children feel absolutely petrified
by the thought of having to appear before intimidating people in
awesome surroundings.  Some of the problem areas include:

     (a)  The conduct of the testimony of the child, both on direct and
on cross-examination.  Getting the child to render a credible
recollection of events is one of the challenges the court must face. 
Delays in getting the case to trial, the lack of family or
institutional support, the age of the child, the mental and
psychological damage suffered, and his or her lack of education may
all conspire to undermine the quality of a child's evidence;

     (b)  Corollary with the above is the equally vital challenge of
avoiding further damage and trauma to the child in the process of
testimony-taking, having in mind the fact that the procedural rules in
most countries apply indiscriminately to adults and children alike. 
Lack of special measures for the child witness may expose him or her
to retaliation by the offender.  It may also give the child the
feeling that he or she is the one on trial resulting in guilt and
embarrassment.  The feeling of not being believed can further erode
whatever is left of the self-respect of the child;

     (c)  The problem of how to manage the child victim to ensure his
or her presence when needed also applies to the trial stage;

     (d)  Difficulties in reconciling the rights of the accused with
the rights of the child victim to protection.  Some of the rights of
the accused are guaranteed under the constitutions of many countries. 
These rights include:

     (i)  The right to bail of the accused.  In countries where the
          offence is not serious enough to deprive the accused
          automatically of bail, it has been seen that child exploiters
          arrested in a foreign jurisdiction are very likely to jump

    (ii)  The right of the accused to confront his or her accuser. 
          This right runs counter to the fundamental right of the child
          to concealment of his or her identity and the confidentiality
          of the proceedings;

   (iii)  The presumption of innocence in favour of the accused.  This
          presumption places the burden of proof on the child, which is
          often very difficult precisely because of the invisible and
          mobile nature of the abuse and given the improbability of
          actually finding a criminal in the very act of abusing a

     (e)  The inequity caused by the dearth of resources of the child
as compared with the resources available to the accused in most
instances.  This inequity has telling effects even on the quality of
legal service;

     (f)  There is a serious problem of recidivism, particularly for
offenders who are impelled by compulsive behaviour.  Penalization may
not always be the answer.  Where child abuse is caused by compulsive
and maniacal psychological illness, for example, the length of
sentence of imprisonment would be absolutely irrelevant and will not
result in any remorse sufficient to deter a future repetition of the
same offence.  Two issues arise from this situation:  first, whether
the psychological deficiency exculpates the offender from criminal
culpability, and second and more importantly, what course of action
can be taken to ensure that such compulsive or maniacal behaviour does
not give rise to victimization of other children.

                        4.  Recovery and reintegration

71.  Recovery or rehabilitation are much more expensive, more difficult
to implement and oftentimes fail to yield effective and sustainable
results.  They are the most difficult aspect of the entire process,
both for the victims and for those helping them.  The most efficient
rescue programmes would be of little value unless coupled with some
structure that would assist in the healing process of the child,
physically, mentally and psychologically.

72.  Attendant problems include the following:

     (a)  Recovery and reintegration is time-consuming and very
expensive.  A wide range of services would have to be included:  food
and shelter, placement in schools, skills training, medical and
psychological help, and possible placement in foster families;

     (b)  While it is appealing to talk of a hope for reintegration
into the family, especially in the case of child sex workers, there
are several complications.  For those children who have been raped by
a parent, step-parent or relative, or have been sold by their own
families, it is difficult to contemplate a return.  It is not unusual
to hear of girls who repaid debts, went home and were sold again. 
Ostracism from their families and communities is also an added factor
preventing children from returning home;

     (c)  There is generally a lack of awareness regarding the
imperative need for treatment and recovery of victims.  They are
therefore invariably left to themselves, especially after the
termination of the case.  In instances where the prosecution of the
case results in conviction of the offender, the victim is deemed to
have received redress.  Very often efforts at rehabilitation are
concentrated on the offender rather than on the child victim.

                   B.  Recommendations at the national level

                              1.  Law enforcement

73.  The police force, as a system, and its internal organization must
change and adapt itself to the care of children.  The seriousness of
offences against children must be acknowledged, both through formal
policy of the force and through informal internal norms.  This change
has to be visible in terms of programmes and in terms of the exercise
of authority and power.

74.  As it is not likely to be feasible for all police officers to be
trained in handling children, special police officers should be
appointed to look into cases involving children.  There should be
training programmes to sensitize and motivate them to effectively
intervene in this area.  Crimes against children must be addressed by
adopting a victim-centred approach.  Training should be
institutionalized and regular, not ad hoc or sporadic activities.  A
police manual on procedures in handling children should be adopted to
ensure avoidance of secondary victimization during the investigation

75.  Where there is perceived corruption or inefficiency in the police
force, powerful information campaigns should be conducted to create
the groundswell of popular indignation necessary to promote reform.

76.  Mobile units for the surveillance of the places of usual operation
where children are at greater risk should be set up and made

77.  Laws aimed at protecting children should be enforced more
effectively.  Law enforcement officers should be provided with more
incentives to improve their performance, and should be encouraged to
work in coordination with, and not in opposition to, non-governmental

78.  The police should involve the community and encourage its active
participation in the law enforcement process, especially in monitoring
the abuses and exploitation of children.

                     2.  Criminal procedures in the courts

79.  The rights and interests of children should be safeguarded
throughout the proceedings, while respecting the rights of the

80.  The confidentiality of records and the respect for the fundamental
right of the child victim to privacy must be ensured by avoiding the
disclosure of any information that could lead to their identification. 
Some of the measures to protect the identity of the child are as

     (a)  The court should give the child victims pseudonyms to conceal
their identity;

     (b)  Records such as negatives, audio tapes and photographs
should, as a general rule, be destroyed, subject only to certain
exceptions as the court may determine, in which case, those not
destroyed should be sealed and should not be available without the
permission of the Court.

81.  The physical and psychological well-being of the child victim may
be sufficiently important to outweigh the right of the accused to
confront his or her accuser.  Thus, during the hearings,
sight-separation procedures should be observed through any of the
following means:

     (a)  Through one-way closed circuit television testimony;

     (b)  Through a two-way system in which the child witness is
permitted to see the courtroom and the accused on a video monitor and
in which the judge and/or the jury are permitted to view the child
during the testimony;
     (c)  By deposition, if the court is satisfied that the attendance
before a court of the child victim would involve serious danger to his
life or health.

82.  It must be ensured that the conditions at the hearings involving
child victims respect the dignity of the children and do not
exacerbate their trauma.

83.  Access should be improved to legal and other remedies through the
joint cooperative action of the formal legal institutions and
quasi-legal or non-formal personnel, such as non-governmental
organizations and community leaders, who can help to safeguard and
protect children at the grassroots level.

84.  Dialogues should be promoted between all relevant agencies
involved in the justice system with a view to preventing problems,
protecting children and providing remedies where necessary.  Improved
networking is essential on all levels, including the members of the
community and the mass media.

                    C.  Problems at the international level

85.  The prosecution of international crimes against children is
extremely difficult, expensive and time-consuming.  Not only are the
substantive and procedural issues endemic, the national concerns and
priorities may also be dissimilar.  Differences in language and legal
systems and bringing the witness(es) from abroad further complicate
the issue.  Some of the pressing problems on the international level

     (a)  Disparity in the laws of the different countries concerned
may act as an insurmountable barrier to effective prosecution of the
case.  The substantive provisions may relate to the elements of the
offence, the penalties imposable therefor and the prescriptive periods
for prosecution.  For example, the use of a real child as a subject
may be one of the elements for the crime of child pornography in one
country, while in another visual imagery may be sufficient to sustain
a conviction.  Countries adopt different strategies in the
penalization of offences involving abuse and exploitation of children. 
Some classify the crimes as minor, thereby making them more
susceptible to successful prosecution, whereas others classify them as
serious and even heinous, thereby making them susceptible to the
imposition of a grave penalty.  This imposition of a grave penalty may
work as a deterrent on the national level where the offender is also a
citizen of the same country, but it may have an adverse effect where
foreigners are involved.  International cooperation is difficult to
achieve where there is a serious variance between the imposable
sentence of the country of the offence and the country of the
offender.  The issue becomes even more complex when there is great
difference in the nature of the penalty, as when in lieu of or in
addition to imprisonment there is mutilation inflicted;

     (b)  Lack of a workable arrangement between the countries where
demand emanates and the countries providing the "supply" of children
giving prime consideration to crimes against children where
trafficking is involved;

     (c)  Lack of a workable arrangement between countries to ensure
the protection and safety of child victims of trafficking in the
process of repatriation.  Where children are victims of trafficking
across frontiers, victimization can start with the retrieval of the
children from their employers, and continue with the referral to
immigration authorities prior to their repatriation, the manner by
which the children are transported, their reception by the immigration
authorities of their country of origin, and even their release either
to their families or to welfare organizations;

     (d)  Foreigners in countries where there is no extradition treaty
act with impunity because of the assurance that they are beyond the
reach of the law after leaving the country where the abuse has been

     (e)  Countries where the commercial abuse of children is not
perceived as a problem may not be as concerned in the search for
solutions, even if its nationals are participants in child
exploitation activities.  Eliminating the demand is an often-forgotten
facet of child protection.  Attention is usually lopsided, focusing on
the used rather than the user, seeking solutions addressing the source
of supply without corollary measures to eliminate the demand for

     (f)  Advances in the development of modern technology pose a very
serious problem to law enforcement in the field of pornography. 
Anonymity is available on the Internet.  A user can manufacture
virtually any identity and route from country A, through country B, to
country C and then to country A again, where it would be impossible to
determine the origin of the first message.  The industry is also
experiencing a rapid development in cheap, user-friendly encryption
software which is employed by child pornographers.  Decoding the files
is often extremely difficult for law enforcement agencies.  An
individual may now trade and/or sell images of almost any kind from
one end of the world to the other.

86.  Even if law enforcement officials discover the image, the ability
to distribute it may not be impaired.  Once an image is introduced on
the Internet, it can be downloaded by any number of users and can be
reproduced repeatedly without any loss of quality.

                D.  Recommendations at the international level

87.  The search for solutions cannot be in isolation within the
confines of a country, especially where there is cross-border
trafficking or difference in nationality between the abused and the
abuser.  Regional and/or worldwide cooperation will often not only be
desirable, but indispensable.  At the same time, however, we should
not fall into the trap of believing that there can be a single magic
formula that can work for all countries.  Every country will
ultimately have to determine for itself how to remedy its own
situation, taking into account all the circumstances peculiar to the
country, from causation, to the political, social and cultural
background of its peoples, to modes of recruitment, the modus operandi
of the abusers, the identification of other countries with which it
has links, etc.

88.  The following are some recommendations on how cooperative efforts
between countries could be carried out:

     (a)  There must be a determination by a country of the other
country or countries with which it has links, either because they are
the sending country and the receiving country or because the offenders
in one country are usually nationals of another country.  Countries
with common borders, for instance, would have need for closer
coordination in order to prevent trafficking in children;

     (b)  Having determined the country or countries with which links
exist, Governments should explore the possibility of having
cooperative arrangements through any of the following:

     (i)  Synchronization of laws on the elements of the crime against
          children, on the nature and length of the penalties imposable
          and on rules of procedure, especially in evidence-taking;

    (ii)  Arrangements by which abusers in a foreign country may be
          subject to prosecution either where the offence took place or
          in the country of the offender.  This could be done either
          through extradition or expansion of jurisdiction through
          extraterritoriality.  With respect to extradition, there
          should be analysis of how extradition relationships could be
          effectively designed between nations.  We must also take note
          of the fact that for some States, extradition is an available
          alternative even without a treaty, but on the basis of the
          national law of both of the States concerned;

   (iii)  Negotiation and application of multilateral conventions in
          regions that share a similar political, legal and social

    (iv)  Submission of requests for mutual judicial assistance in
          criminal matters, which is allowable in the legal order in
          virtually all countries;

     (c)  Quick and accurate exchange of information between countries
should be developed with respect to the law enforcement agencies and
the judiciary in order to ensure the thorough investigation,
prosecution and conviction of perpetrators and the protection of the
child victims.  The national police should likewise work closely with
INTERPOL and immigration authorities to curb trafficking and related

     (d)  A central registry for missing children should be set up on
both a national and a regional basis to facilitate the identification
and tracing of the child victims;

     (e)  Exchange of paedophile lists between different countries
should help to prevent the repetition of offences by the same persons,
and should be encouraged;

     (f)  The police, customs officials and postal officials need to
coordinate their efforts more closely to curb the circulation of
pornographic materials. This entails both bilateral and other

     (g)  States should encourage exchange consultation and training
programmes among law enforcement authorities to deal with
transnational trafficking in children.  For example, one cooperative
method of preventing or assisting in combating exploitation of
children is the assignment by States of police personnel in countries
to which their nationals travel in large numbers in order to track the
behaviour of their own nationals where there is a threat to the
children of said countries.  The repatriation of children to their
country of origin should also be safeguarded by cooperation between
the relevant agencies so that the children are not further subjected
to humiliating and degrading treatment or abuse.


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Date last posted: 28 December 1999 17:35:10
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