ICCO Implements Program against Sexual Exploitation of Children

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs granted ICCO Latin America 2.9 million Euros to implement the five year program Down to Zero - Fighting Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Nicaragua.

The Alliance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs goal is to work together for the next five years (2016-2020) to fight commercial sexual exploitation of children through the prevention of children becoming (re)victimized and through the protection of child victims in targeted communities in 11 countries. ICCO Cooperation is responsible of the program implementation in Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Nicaragua.

The DtZ alliance considers that addressing the key barriers faced by the main actors in society will yield the best results. The barriers addressed by this program are:

  1. Children are rights-holders and while they may depend on other actors to have their rights protected. Children, due to their age and vulnerabilities, are considered to lack the knowledge and capacity to voice and act on their needs and rights. They are therefore not given the means to do so;
  2. Communities, including online communities, are not always safe. Families are not always aware of CSEC, and are in some cases even involved in facilitating CSEC.
  3. Governments do not always implement or enforce existing laws and policy frameworks, leading to wide-scale impunity. In most countries, legislation (if existent) is hardly implemented and enforced due to a lack of capacity, effective protocols, procedures, resources, political will and lack of solid data.
  4. The Private Sector is not always aware of its effects on CSEC and may underestimate its responsibility. A growing travel industry facilitates (inter)national travelers to take advantage of opportunities. Weak laws and enforcement or ignorance makes it easy for the private sector to turn a blind eye.

Improving SRHR for children who are victims of CSEC or at risk of CSEC is a step towards a safer and more dignified life for these children. The Down to Zero program will change the mindsets of the families, the community and other stakeholders, including and foremost of children themselves. Support from the government, civil society including CSOs and the private sector will enhance the long-term impact of our program. Through mobilization and enabling actors on all levels, from local to international, we will work on promoting the rights of children and in particular those in relation to their bodily integrity, their right to be free from CSEC, violence, coercion and threat.

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