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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 10:35 GMT
Demand for action on child sex trade
child being offered money
Child prostitution and pornography are spreading
By BBC Tokyo correspondent Charles Scanlon

An international conference on the commercial sexual exploitation of children has ended with calls for more action to combat a growing problem.

For four days, delegates to the World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children have heard disturbing evidence that the global trade in children is on the increase.

Child porn web site
Paedophiles are increasingly using the internet
Up to one million youngsters under the age of 18 are estimated to be ensnared by prostitution rings every year.

One report highlighted a lucrative trade in Europe. It said large numbers of girls between the ages of 15 and 18 are being transported from eastern Europe to countries including France, Germany and Britain.

Sexual slavery

The congress, held in the Japanese city of Yokohama, heard that child prostitution networks in Cambodia are acting with impunity and that growing numbers of children are being sold into sexual slavery on the coastal trade routes of West Africa.

The more than 3,000 representatives from governments, the United Nations and voluntary groups adopted what they called the Yokohama Global Commitment.

It says the inaugural conference five years ago in Stockholm had generated a greater awareness of the problem. The time had now come for implementation.

Internet threat

Non-government groups said there must be no more empty promises and additional funding would be needed if the problem was going to be tackled seriously.

They warned new forms of abuse were emerging, particularly through the trade of child pornography on the internet.

Fifty countries have been drawing up plans to combat the sexual exploitation of children. Activists say the programmes must now be turned into legislation.

The BBC's Charles Scanlon
"The congress called for action"
See also:

17 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Child sex trade 'is terrorism'
19 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Internet is 'paedophile playground'
16 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Radio helps sex industry victims
12 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Cambodia's trade in children
16 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia child sex trade 'growing'
13 Dec 01 | Americas
Bogota curfew aims at child sex
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