Down to Zero Nicaragua

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) is a fundamental violation of children's rights. It includes child prostitution, child pornography and child trafficking for sexual purposes. The Down to Zero (DtZ) programme is combatting this situation through preventative and protective measures that focus on actual child victims and on children who are at risk of commercial sexual exploitation. The project in Nicaragua works in four pathways: Children, Community, Government and Private Sector

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  • ID: NL-KVK-56484038-C_005861
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This project is part of the Down to Zero Program which is carried out in 4 countries in Latin America.
In Nicaragua the Down to Zero program will work in the municipalities of San Rafael del Sur, Managua Department and Masachapa, Pochomil and Madroñal, which are three coast rural areas in the Pacific.

The outcomes in all countries are:
Outcome 1 (children and adolescents): at risk children and adolescents and victims of all forms of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) in targeted communities in the four countries envision future life projects and are organized to speak out, advocate and seek protection against CSEC.
- Precondition 1: children (in particular child victims) access specialized services that protect them, help them rehabilitate, reintegrate and reduce their vulnerability to CSEC (this includes personal development plans).
- Precondition 2: children and adolescents identify themselves as stakeholders and participate as agents of change in the fight against CSEC among their peers.
- Precondition 3: children and adolescents are organized in youth let organizations that tackle CSEC.
- Precondition 4: children and adolescents participate in decision making within the family, community and (local) government regarding their rights, in particular the right to protection against CSEC.

Outcome 2 (communities/families): targeted communities in the four countries have developed and implemented effective prevention, protection and monitoring strategies focused on CSEC.
- Precondition 1: community actors and their leaders recognize their co-responsibility, publicly condemn CSEC, initiate discussions and advocate for changes in values and behaviors to fight against CSEC.
- Precondition 2: vulnerable source communities have effective community-based prevention, child protection and referral systems in place.
- Precondition 3: communities play an active role in reporting cases of CSEC.

Outcome 3 (Government): The Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary - at national and sub national levels, implement comprehensive and context relevant laws, policies, action plans and protocols to effectively combat CSEC, including participate monitoring and social control mechanisms.
- Precondition 1: authorities and public servants enhance their performance and improve their results in relation to their roles in the fight against CSEC
- Precondition 2: CSEC becomes a priority in the public agendas at national and subnational level and governments design measures to enhance their performance and increase effectiveness.
- Precondition 3: participatory and evidence-based monitoring, accountability and social control mechanisms are in place.
- Precondition 4: increased budgets and – consequently- strengthened institutions and services enable the effective implementation of laws, policies and other improvement measures.
- Precondition 5: regional and/or binational agreements are subscribed to enhance effectiveness in the fight against CSEC.

Outcome 4 (Private Sector): Private sector stakeholders (in tourism, mining, cement and sugar industries and the transportation sector) are aware of their role in fighting CSEC, and amend their practices and/or business models based on ethical principles and values to actively protect children against CSEC.
- Precondition 1: private sector stakeholders enter into dialogue with CSEC(including children) and the public about prevention and detection of CSEC.
- Precondition 2: key private sector industries/sectors develop codes of conduct and other proposals to mainstream children rights in their business models and practices.
- Preconditon 3: private sector actors effectively monitor the protection and safeguarding of children rights in their business.
Down to Zero Nicaragua

Initial situation

The Down to Zero program started with a baseline analysis. Nicaragua is a small country in Central America with 5.2 million inhabitants. It has a young population with around 2.6 million of its inhabitants having an age between 0 and 18. Of its total population, 30% lives below the national poverty line, from which 14,6% live in extreme poverty. Although Nicaragua is considered as the most secure country in the region, the national police revealed (in 2011) that every 3 minutes and 43 seconds they register a new denunciation and every hour a sex crime occurs at a local level.

Still, a lot of crimes are not reported, and if so, these reports don't lead to a conviction of the offenders. This study showed that of the 599 trials for delicts of sexual violence towards children and adolescents, only 28% of the offenders have been convicted and more than half have been acquitted.

Prevalence of CSEC
Violence towards children and adolescents is ever increasing in Nicaragua. According to data of the Legal Institute of Medicine (2012), 88% of the reports on sexual violence concerned persons with an age below 18, most of them are women. The Nicaraguan National Police reported 422 cases of statutory rape and aggravated statutory rape during the same year. A 2011 study by the CSJ Institute for Forensic Medicine found that in cases of rape of a minor, persons known to the victim committed 80% of the violations. Often victims of CSEC are recruited in rural or border areas and are from indigenous or African-descendant communities. In 43% of the cases, violence took place in their own home and 24% in the house of the aggressor.

Target group

Children: The target children are mostly urban, includes boys and girls, at risk and child victims. Target age range is between 11-18 years.

Communities: The Latin American region will work in 4 countries, in which the municipalities are divided into communities with different political/administrative denomination depending of the size of their population (barrios, sectores, parajes, etc.). The 28% of these communities are rural (coastal areas in the case of Nicaragua.

Government: Executive government institutions and law enforcement agencies at different levels (national and subnational, considering the existing decentralized and autonomous political organizations) will be addressed through advocacy and strengthening institutional capacities and law enforcement.

Private sector: In the fourth pathway, industries of tourism, extractives/agribusinesses (mining, cement and sugar), and transportation (for purposes of exploitation) are addressed to involve them in fighting CSEC.


All groups: children, communities, governments and the private sector will be strengthened as key players in the fight against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.
The government should take a bigger responsibility in protecting children. A part of the project is lobbying, what must make funds available by the government.
In addition, communities must be strengthened to protect their children by an increased knowledge how children can protect themselves. The private sector don't allow CSEC in their working areas. These elements seems to have a long-term impact.

Goals overview

1. Children: Child victims and children at risk are empowered and act as agents of change and are able to protect themselves from (re)victimization of CSEC.
2.Communities: Targeted communities are safer, offer better protection to child victims and can prevent children from becoming (re)victimized.
3. Governments and law enforcement agencies: governments and judiciary systems apply policies, plans of actions, budgets and protocols to effectively combat CSEC.
4.Private sector: market leaders or branch associations of the tourist industry, ICT, transportation and extractives are actively engaged in the protection of children against CSEC.