Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile

The 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:


  1. The national reports submitted by the representatives of each Member State participating in the Project;
  1. 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)


  1. 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”.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 trafficking.
  1.  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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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. 
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 Internet use.
  1. 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 the Internet


  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 credits.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.


  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. The other Member States of the Organization of American States be encouraged to replicate the experience of this project in other sub-regions.
  1. 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.

                                                                        Montevideo, September 24th 2004.