A REGIONAL STRATEGY AGAINST CHILD TRAFFICKING AND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY ON THE
Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile
representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile,
convened by the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN), a specialized organization
of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Embassy of the United
States of America in Uruguay, gathered in Montevideo, Uruguay, on September
23 and 24, 2004, on the occasion of the final conference of the Project on
Trafficking of Children, Child Pornography on the Internet and Legal Frameworks
in the MERCOSUR, Bolivia and Chile, hereby adopt the following declaration:
IN VIEW OF:
- The national reports submitted by the representatives
of each Member State participating in the Project;
- The sub-regional reports and the proposal of “basic
regulations for the prevention, investigation and penalization of trafficking
of children for commercial sexual exploitation and child pornography, as
well as for the assistance and protection of victims” designed by the Inter-American
Children’s Institute (IIN)
- All countries participating in the Project have ratified
the Convention on the Rights of the Child in which Article 11, first section,
states: “States Parties shall take measures to combat the illicit transfer
and non-return of children abroad”, and in which Article 34 requires States
Parties to protect children against “all forms of sexual exploitation and
sexual abuse”, including “a) The inducement or coercion of a child to engage
in any unlawful sexual activity; b) The exploitative use of children in
prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices; c) The exploitative use
of children in pornographic performances and materials”.
- Such countries have also ratified the Optional Protocol
of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on child sale, child prostitution
and Child Pornography, as well as ILO´s Convention 182 on the Elimination
of the Worst Forms of Child Labor.
- Countries have made –and are still making– strong efforts
in order to adjust their internal regulations to these and to other international
instruments, and are also open to new reforms that make it possible to strengthen
legal, judicial and social protection systems regarding such phenomena as
child trafficking and child pornography on Internet.
- There is a consensus on the fact that child and adolescent
trafficking, as well as any form of sexual violence against them, constitutes
flagrant violation of their human rights, especially as this entails acts
of aggression against their dignity, integrity and harmonious development.
- It is understood that trafficking for sexual exploitation
and sexual exploitation itself, including child pornography, are new forms
of slavery that are to be combated and eliminated.
- As far as trafficking is concerned, the reports that
have been submitted suggest that this is an existing but incipient problem
in the sub-region, where internal trafficking seems to prevail over international
- The difficulty in order to assess the magnitude of
trafficking in the participating countries lies in the lack of monitoring
tools and databases with reliable indicators and statistics.
- Certain factors of social vulnerability associated
with trafficking such as poverty, children living on the streets, intra-familial
abuse and violence, and problems involving lack of identity papers amongst
others, have been detected.
- It is confirmed that in addition to being a form of
commercial sexual exploitation, sexual tourism existing in the sub-region
also entails a risk of child and adolescent trafficking.
- Child pornography on the Internet is a complex phenomenon
that occurs as a result of the growing globalization of information, communication
and electronic commerce that is currently taking place in the world.
- This phenomenon affects an endless number of children
and adolescents who are the victims of attacks on their physical, psychological
and spiritual integrity by means of acts of sexual violence and their use
as commercial objects, which particularly affects female children and adolescents.
- Producers and owners of those sites containing child
pornography and their users operate with impunity, by taking advantage of
the legal gaps and the lack of measures for control and penalization regarding
- It has been confirmed that there is both a political
and institutional will to work in a consensual and coordinated way in the
sub-region, in order to combat child trafficking and child pornography on
IT IS CONCLUDED
- It is necessary to update the legal framework that
is currently in force in the sub-region on the issues of social, criminal
and procedural protection, in order to create new criminal classes and to
establish penalties and proceedings that enable rapid and efficient interventions,
as well as prosecutions with penalties that are in keeping with the seriousness
of the crimes and judicial protection of children and adolescents who have
been victims of trafficking, pornography and any other form of sexual violence
and exploitation, with celerity and including all the corresponding guarantees
for their established rights.
- It is an urgent task to generate agreed criteria regarding
the specialized assistance of the victims of such phenomena, which is to
be aimed at reducing the damages and restoring the rights that have been
violated in areas such as a) prevention, b) protection measures and c) access
to recovery services, which must be the main objective of the intervention.
- With regard to those children who have been victims
of trafficking, it is indispensable to create mechanisms that ensure that
the victims are not discriminated, regardless of whether they are legal
or illegal migrants, or what their previous behavior has been, their country
of origin, education, health, or family situation, amongst other considerations;
and it is also indispensable to ensure that all the countries involved are
fully responsible for the protection of the rights of these children and
adolescents, assisting each case with specificity, and deciding the corresponding
measures in accordance with the principle of the child’s superior interest.
- As far as child pornography on the Internet is concerned,
the need to develop technical resources that enable a rapid detection of
the websites that are being diffused on the net, with the aim of applying
all available measures for penalizing the producers and providers that are
identified, has become evident.
- Along this same line, research has proved that certain
Internet search websites back up web pages containing child pornography,
which facilitates their continuity. Therefore, action is required in order
for these sites to eliminate the backups that make it possible to access
such web pages.
- Participating countries agree that the information
that is obtained must be shared and channeled with the most confidentiality,
through the governmental organizations that are competent to find and rescue
the victims of child pornography productions and to transfer them to the
corresponding services for the full assistance and restoration of their
rights which are nearest in distance to the child’s country of residence,
in any part of the world.
- As far as adult users of child pornography are concerned,
participating countries agree that the new criminal classes and their corresponding
penalties must be in keeping with the magnitude and purpose of their use.
- With regard to the mechanisms used in order to financially
support criminal organizations that handle child pornography, it has been
proved that credit and financial institutions play a role as providers of
financial support for these organizations. This includes international credit
cards, since they enable the circulation of foreign currency and the laundering
of the funds that are originated in the violation of the rights of those
children who are the victims of commercial sexual exploitation. This is
why it is necessary to implement measures to make these firms become responsible
for this type of illicit commerce through the Internet, thus turning them
into indirect accomplices of the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents
through the production of child pornography that is financed with their
- With respect to child and adolescent users, it is admitted
that one of the most prevalent problems in the sub-region is the lack of
information, knowledge and criteria amongst parents to determine which sites
should or should not be accessed by their children.
- This phenomenon as a whole must be faced in a comprehensive
way, with a basis on the national systems for the protection of children
and adolescents that are available –or in the process of being implemented–
in each participating country, from a right-based approach, and with specific
proposals that combat trafficking in children and adolescents and child
pornography from every possible angle.
IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT:
- Systems for the Integral Protection of Children and
Adolescents that are being implemented by countries in the sub-region appropriately
coordinate their interventions regarding legal, judicial and social protection
amongst governing bodies on education, health, labor, security and administration
of justice, with those of the Inter-institutional and inter-sectorial Commissions
or Professional Associations working specifically on the protection of the
rights of the victims of sexual exploitation, especially emphasizing the
participation of civil society organizations.
- Training and awareness-raising programs be promoted
in order to provide comprehensive training for those professionals that
are in charge of assisting victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation
and child pornography.
- The proposal of “basic regulations for the prevention,
investigation and penalization of child and adolescent trafficking for commercial
sexual exploitation and child pornography, as well as for the attention
and protection of victims” presented by the Inter-American Children’s Institute
be submitted to Member States participating in the Project for their consideration.
- Governments be requested to form a national technical
commission to ensure follow-up of the recommendations arising from the researches
conducted in each country in the sub-region.
- The results of this project, as well as the suggestion
regarding the constitution of a regional technical commission based in the
Inter-American Children’s Institute that coordinates and promotes the activities
of the commissions mentioned in section 4, be submitted to the governments,
the Parliaments of participating countries, meetings of Ministers and Presidents
of the MERCOSUR, and to political forums throughout the hemisphere.
- The other Member States of the Organization of American
States be encouraged to replicate the experience of this project in other
- Our thanks be extended to the Government of the United
States of America and to the Inter-American Children’s Institute for their
support of this initiative, and also our request for its continuation in
order to turn the Project on Trafficking of Children, Child Pornography
on Internet and Normative Frameworks into a hemispheric-reaching strategy.
September 24th 2004.