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Down to Zero Nicaragua

Countries:
Start project:
  • 2016
Donors:
  • Terre des Hommes
Partners:
  • TESIS-MAN

The Down to Zero (DtZ) program includes preventative and protective measures that focus on actual child victims and children at risk of commercial sexual exploitation. Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a fundamental violation of children's rights. It consists of child prostitution, child pornography, and child trafficking for sexual purposes. The DtZ program is carried out in four countries in Latin America.

In Nicaragua the DtZ program runs in the municipalities of San Rafael del Sur, Managua Department and Masachapa, Pochomil and Madronal, coast rural areas in the Pacific.

Poverty and violence:

Nicaragua is a small country in Central America with 5.2 million inhabitants. 30% of the population lives below the national poverty line, from which 14,6% live in extreme poverty. Nicaragua is supposedly the most secure country in the region, however, violence towards children and adolescents is increasing. The figures speak for themselves: every 4 minutes the police register a new possible criminal prosecution and every hour a sex crime. And yet many crimes are not reported or do not lead to a conviction of the offenders.

Disturbing data:

According to data of the Legal Institute of Medicine (2012), 88% of the reports on sexual violence concerne persons with an age below 18 and most of them are women. 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.

Assertiveness:

In the DtZ program we aim at teaching at-risk children and adolescents and other victims to speak out, advocate, and seek protection against sexual exploitation. Personal development plans are an important tool in the program. We motivate children and adolescents to get organized in youth let organizations that access specialized services that protect them, help them rehabilitate, reintegrate, and reduce their vulnerability to sexual exploitation.

Government and stakeholders:

We make private sector stakeholders in the tourism, mining, cement, sugar and the transportation sector aware of their role in fighting child abuse and exploitation, and make sure they amend their practices and/or business models based on ethical principles and values to actively protect children. Last but not least, the government, at all levels and in all fields, is urged to take action.


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