14 July 2009

European Economic and Social Committee to take stand in protection of children from travelling sex offenders


EESC to take determined stand in protection of children from travelling sex offenders
European Economic and Social Committee press release via Europa Press Rapid

Two months after a broad public hearing on the issue, on 15 July 2009 the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will vote to adopt an opinion calling for a binding European strategy for the protection of children from travelling sex offenders. The opinion will be presented in a press breakfast in the Jacques Delors building of the EESC at 09:00 on Wednesday morning.

The EESC initiative, set out in its opinion by  Madi Sharma [Rapporteur of opinion TEN/343, EESC Member (Group I, UK)] , includes a series of proposals in an effort to urge EU institutions to adopt a comprehensive European strategy for the protection of children from travelling sex offenders. According to the draft opinion, it is imperative that sex offenders do not remain the responsibility of foreign jurisdictions. Repeat offenders often stay in the country where they have offended or travel to other countries to avoid detection. As a result, European authorities are unaware when an abuser comes into Europe, a situation that presents an increased risk to European children.

Highlighting the fact that the sexual abuse of children through travel is part of a well established lucrative global sex industry, the EESC will put forward a host of measures that amount to a strengthened child-focused approach. These include the establishment of international partnerships for police cooperation and the deportation of offenders, barring sex offenders from working overseas, and the provision of mechanisms for education for the public and counselling for victims.

In addition to the proposed measures, the EESC is calling on all EU Member States to ratify the relevant Council of Europe Convention, to prove their commitment to the protection of children globally.

Press Breakfast

M s Madi Sharma, President Mario Sepi and Lucien Stöpler of Terre des Hommes will present and discuss the EESC opinion and the EESC's proposed new ethical travel policy.
Date : Wednesday 15 July 2009, 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Place : VIP salon 4+5, 1 st floor, Jacques Delors Building, 99 Rue Belliard, 1040 Brussels

For more details, please contact:
Barbara Gessler at the EESC Press Office,
99 rue Belliard, B-1040 Brussels
Tel.: +32 2 546 9396; Mobile: +32 475 75 32 02
Email: press@eesc.europa.eu
Website: http://www.eesc.europa.eu/ 



The previous public hearing on 6 May 2009 focused:

The key challenge of this public hearing is to reinforce employers' awareness of this issue, which could be achieved by putting into place a European project: "Europe Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children". For European employers in particular, fighting against child prostitution, child pornography and trafficking of children for sexual purposes is being gradually perceived as a matter for corporate social responsibility.

EU authorities, the Member States, the travel and tourism industry and European NGOs are all increasingly concerned about the rise in child sexual exploitation inside and outside the EU, together with the increase in activity and geographical expansion. Joint strategies and further actions focusing on prevention and penalties must be developed to combat this problem.

Europe protecting children from sex tourism – main conclusions of the public hearing at the EESC  - PDF Document

Updated on the 15th July

EESC opinion on the protection of children who are at risk of abuse from travelling sex offenders

On 15 July 2009 at the plenary session the European Economic and Social Committe adopted an opinion by Rapporteur Madi Sharma (Group I – Employers –UK), calling for a binding European strategy for the protection of children from travelling sex offenders. Highlighting the fact that the sexual abuse of children through travel is part of a well established lucrative global sex industry, the EESC puts forward a host of measures that amount to a strengthened child-focused approach. In addition to the proposed measures, the EESC puts forward a new ethical travel policy and calls on all EU Member States to ratify the relevant Council of Europe Convention, to prove their commitment to the protection of children globally. Watch Madi Sharma's presentation.

video to follow

Transcript

"This is a report on the protection of children who are at risk of abuse from travelling sex offenders.

To abuse a child is absolutely unacceptable. Unfortunately, when people travel, they consider that abusing a child may become acceptable.

What we are trying to do here is to raise the awareness that abusing any child in any Member State or further afield is absolutely unacceptable.

Most importantly, we also need to call on Member States to ratify the Convention of the Council of Europe on the protection of children from the sexual exploitation and abuse. It has not been signed and ratified by all Member States. [Signing and ratifying] it is important if we are to prove that we are serious.
From the point of view of the European Economic and Social Committe, we have an outcome from this document already and we will improve our ethical travel policy by adding on the bottom of all Members' expenses forms and staff forms that the Committee will not accept the abuse of children and has an ethical travel policy that all its Members have to sign up to. The whole document is provided to stop the abuse in the first case and, where abuse has taken place, to protect children and victims of abuse. We hope it will go a long way to make a difference."


Related links:
ECPAT International

* The European Economic and Social Committee represents the various economic and social components of organised civil society. It is an institutional consultative body established by the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Its consultative role enables its members, and hence the organisations they represent, to participate in the Community decision-making process. The Committee has 344 members, who are appointed by the Council of Ministers.

Documents [in English, for other languages see EESC Extra]


CES1384-2008_NIAI - Protecting children from tourism - Information memo - own-initiative opinion
Doc Link

R_CES1969-2008_POJ - SOC/317 Protecting children from sex tourism - DRAFT AGENDA
Doc Link

R_CES1385-2008_DT - Protecting children from sex tourism - Working document
Doc Link

R_CES1971-2008_APA - Protecting children from sex tourism - Preliminary draft opinion
Doc Link

R_CES1970-2008_CONV-POJ - Protecting children from sex tourism - Notice of meeting – Draft Agenda
Doc Link

CES1971-2008_PA - Protecting children from travelling sex offenders - Draft opinion
Doc Link

CES1971-2008_AM1_AM - Protecting children from travelling sex offenders - Amendment
Doc Link

CES1971-2008_FIN_AS - Protecting children from travelling sex offenders - Section opinion
Doc Link

CES1384-2008_FIN_NI - - Protecting children from travelling sex offenders - Information Memo
Doc Link


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