Expert meeting about child sex tourism in Africa

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On 3 and 4 March, ECPAT Netherlands organized an expert meeting in Berlin. More than 65 experts from almost twenty countries participated at the meeting. The participants were from national and international police, government, tourism industry and ECPAT. At the expert meeting the results of country assessments in five Sub-Saharan African tourist destinations were presented. The country assessments describe the situation of child sex tourism and analyse existing reporting systems in Gambia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and South Africa. The assessments are part of the EU funded project ‘Don’t Look Away’.

Within the country assessments 181 African child victims of sexual exploitation were interviewed. In addition, 94 community members (adults and children) and 478 professionals (governments, NGOs, civil society organizations and members of the tourism sector) were reached through interviews, questionnaires and focus groups. A summary of the country assessments is attached below.

The research shows that the five African countries have progressive laws and regulations to protect children from sexual exploitation. However, they have little impact due to a lack of implementation in practice. Sexual exploitation and sexual abuse is reported especially within the community. A key recommendation is therefore that the formal and informal child protection mechanisms should be strengthened, connected and recognized by all stakeholders.

The recommendations of the study were discussed during the expert meeting. These are included in the research. The research is expected to be available at the end of April 2014 at www.ecpat.net.