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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 05:06 GMT
UN targets child sex trade
child pornography seized by UK authorities
Child porn is examined by the report
By the BBC's Alice Coulter

The United Nations Children's Fund, Unicef, is calling for a co-ordinated global approach to the problem of sexual exploitation of children, which it says affects millions worldwide.

About a million children worldwide are sold into sex every year, with the problem more acute in developing countries

Unicef has produced a new report, entitled Profiting from Abuse, to coincide with a world congress in Japan next week which will examine commercial sexual exploitation.

It calls on every government to adopt and enforce laws against the sale of children, child prostitution, and pornographic material involving children.

The trade in child sex is growing, according to the Unicef report; in the Philippines alone there are estimated to be about 100,000 child prostitutes, five times the number there were 15 years ago.


The report's authors say about a million children worldwide are sold into sex every year, with the problem more acute in developing countries.

Not surprisingly, some of the most common causes are listed as poverty, gender discrimination, war, and the drugs trade.

The document notes the increased vulnerability of people forced to flee their homes through conflict, who can then become subject to demands for sex by border guards or military personnel.

The one positive note is struck by the declaration earlier this year at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which became the first world body to declare rape in times of war a crime against humanity.

Unicef says the multi-billion dollar sexual exploitation of children can only be tackled by a global approach of zero tolerance involving tough criminal penalties against abusers.

See also:

13 Dec 01 | Americas
Bogota curfew aims at child sex
10 Sep 01 | Americas
Shock over US child sex trade
21 Jun 01 | Americas
Child web users are sex targets
29 Jul 01 | UK
Child prostitution crisis
15 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Asia's child sex victims ignored
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