In an increasingly interconnected world, children are more at risk of being sexually exploited or sold than ever, a United Nations independent expert has warned.
The UN expert called for decisive steps at the global level to stop crimes such as child prostitution and trafficking.
“Millions of girls and boys worldwide are victims of sexual exploitation even though this issue in recent years has gained increased visibility,” said UN Special Rapporteur Maalla M’jid during the presentation of her final report to the UN Human Rights Council on March 13, according to a press release.
The UN independent expert warned that certain forms of sexual exploitation were increasing, including the sale and trafficking of children for sexual purposes and economic exploitation, child sex tourism and online child sexual exploitation.
Moreover, she noted that the true scope of the problem was not clear due to inadequate legislation, lack of reliable data, and under-reporting.
“The clandestine nature of such exploitation, fear of reprisals and stigmatisation as well as lack of child-sensitive complaints mechanisms hamper our understanding of these crimes.”
The special rapporteur said various factors added to the children’s vulnerability, including social tolerance and impunity, persistent demand and global criminal networks profiting from the increasingly lucrative trade in exploiting children.