SRSG Santos Pais commends pioneering Terminology Guidelines for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse

Luxembourg, 15 July 2016 - SRSG Santos Pais joined the launch of the Terminology Guidelines for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, an initiative promoted by ECPAT Luxembourg and ECPAT International.

The Guidelines are the result of an in-depth reflexion by a Global Interagency Working Group on the words used to refer to some of the worst violations of children’s dignity and sexual integrity. Their aim is to build consensus on key concepts in order to strengthen the effectiveness of the action taken to protect children from these forms of violence. “ Even where the same terms are used, there is often disagreement concerning their actual meaning, resulting in confusion and challenges for law-makers, child protection agencies, media and civil society groups” explained Dorothy Rozga, Executive Director of ECPAT.

“This is a reflexion not only about the meaning of words, but also, and above all, about the meaning of childhood and violence; and about the relevance and urgency of our struggle to stop sexual violence against children. It is crucial to provide conceptual clarity to what we do so that we can better mobilize action to secure children’s safety and protection, and overcome loopholes and ill-interpretations that may put at risk the realization of their rights.” said SRSG Santos Pais

Speaking at the launch, UN Special Rapporteur on Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio stressed the importance of terminology in the context of her mandate: “In the fight against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, terminology is not just a matter of semantics: it determines the effectivity of responses. The Luxembourg Guidelines will contribute not only to protecting children, but also in ending the impunity for these heinous crimes,” she added.

“Our hope is that the Guidelines will be widely disseminated and that all actors will familiarize themselves with the meaning and possible use of the terms and concepts presented in the Guidelines. We believe that by doing so they will contribute to a more effective protection of children from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse” said Professor Jaap Doek, Chairperson of the Interagency Working Group.

In the video message shown at the event, Ms. Santos Pais also highlighted the importance of joining efforts to achieve the effective elimination of violence against children: “ The process of preparation of these Terminology Guidelines is as a perfect example of a collaborative work that has benefitted from the commitment, talent and time of many individuals, organisations and institutions, all driven by the determination to transform the world in a safe and nurturing place for children. The result is a very concrete and important tool to contribute to the realisation of that vision.” added SRSG Santos Pais.

The Terminology Guidelines are available in English and will soon be available in French and Spanish.