A petition containing over 7 million signatures from all over the world urging governments across the globe to take urgent action to stop the sex trafficking of children and young people was presented to the UN last Thursday, making it perhaps the largest the world body has ever received.
International cosmetic brand The Body Shop and ECPAT, a global network of organisations and individuals working together for the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children presented the petition to Human Rights Council president Dupuy Lassere in Geneva.
The petition is part of The Body Shop and ECPAT’s ground-breaking campaign to urge governments to do more to protect the 1.2 million children and young people trafficked every year for sexual exploitation.
With over 2.3 million signatures collected in the European Union, the campaign produced the largest human rights petition ever presented to the European Union and has received a number of prestigious awards and secured the support of major opinion formers including former US president Bill Clinton, who described it as “an exemplary approach to addressing a specific global challenge”.
“This campaign has already inspired change on an unprecedented scale, leading to 14 countries across the world to commit to adopting new legislation in response to this petition,” a statement the two organisations said in a statement.
Source: ECPAT Child ALERT Press Release
On the 21st September, the Minister for Justice, Simon Power deposited the United Nations Optional Protocol against the sale of children, prostitution and child pornography. This ratifies the UN instrument that came into force in 2002.
Mr. Power said New Zealand joins 157 other countries that have ratified the Optional Protocol.
The ratification of this Optional Protocol now requires the New Zealand Government to report on the measures taken to address the requirements within the protocol to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.
ECPAT Child ALERT applauds the action but also notes New Zealand will need to do more to fully meet the conditions of the newly ratified Optional Protocol. “We have been campaigning for a number of years for New Zealand to ratify this important instrument and we applaud the Minister for taking action” says Mr. Bell. “New Zealand by comparison has a good record in providing legislation that enables our law enforcement agencies to take action against those who abuse children. However there is no room for complacency and one only needs to witness the constant reports of child sex abuse and the alarming growth in child pornography being viewed by New Zealanders to see that more needs to be done to protect our children.”
“We now look forward to seeing more progress in this area to further enhance the child protection measures taken by New Zealand” says Mr. Bell. “This is an issue not just for the Government alone but for every responsible New Zealander to become aware and put a stop to child sex abuse so that children can grow and develop free from fear and exploitation.”
Source: ECPAT Child ALERT Press Release
US ambassador Harry Thomas told a forum of Filipino judges and officials that corrupt officials were involved in a very visible sex trade, and challenged the legal profession to eliminate the “scourge”.
“We know that 40 per cent of foreign men who come to the Philippines, including from the US, come for sexual tourism. That is not something I’m proud of. That’s not something you should be proud of,” Thomas said.
He highlighted a high profile string of karaoke bars and clubs along Roxas Boulevard, one of Manila’s main roads on which the US embassy is also located, alleging they were infamous sex establishments.
“Corruption allows these notorious establishments to continue to operate. Local officials will look the other way or accept favours. These officials are doubly guilty,” he said without naming any specific officials.
The Philippines recorded an all-time high of 3.52 million visitors last year and the government is aiming for tourist arrivals of six million by 2016.
Source: AFP, 23 September, 2011
More than 16,000 files containing sexual images of underage children were found on the computer of an American man caught in an online police investigation, the Napier District Court has been told.
Douglas Curtis, 30, was appearing for sentence on Tuesday after earlier pleading guilty to seven charges of supplying objectionable material and 21 charges of possessing such material.
Curtis, who had been studying in Hawke’s Bay, was jailed for 18 months on each of the possession charges, to be served concurrently, and convicted and discharged on the supply charges.
Judge Geoff Rea said 99 per cent of the files were of underage boys and a forensic search of Curtis’ laptop computer found 16,200 still images, 400 to 500 videos and 12 stories with sexual themes. Curtis admitted he had swapped files with other men and had 300 file-swapping contacts in his computer, including a number overseas.
Judge Rea said he would not consider home detention for Curtis because of the seriousness of the offending and said the accused appeared to have difficulty understanding the damage such activity caused to the young victims.
Source: NZ NewswireSeptember 27, 2011
Our youth movement “Don’t Sweep it Under the Rug” as part of ECPAT Child ALERT together with youth music venue Zeal (in Henderson) are organising an all ages show and we would love you to consider being a part of it.
Zeal will be holding a gig on 7th October featuring bands such as Kids in Space, Computers want me dead and more. This event will be aimed towards youth with the purpose of creating a fun and safe night for them whilst also raising their wareness of the commercial sexual exploitation of children that is happening right here in New Zealand. Cost is $10 per person.
Zeal and Don’t Sweep it Under the Rug are teaming up to bring you a sweet night out! Be in to win a weekend entertainment pack which includes vouchers to Snowplanet, Rainbows End, Spookers, Action Paintball and heaps more! Prize will be drawn on the night.
Source: ECPAT Child ALERT News
Wednesday June 8, 2011
An American man living in Napier has been charged with 28 child pornography offences.
Detective Stuart Biggs said the 28-year-old man was arrested by officers from the Eastern District Child Protection Team and would appear before Napier District Court on May 25.
“Following a lengthy investigation the male has been charged with seven offences of distributing objectionable material and a further 21 charges of possession of objectionable material,” Mr Biggs said.
“The material consists of photographs and films of young boys and girls.”
Source: NZPA May 18, 2011
Immigration New Zealand is stepping up border security and brothel checks to clamp down on overseas prostitutes arriving to work illegally during the Rugby World Cup.
“Extensive planning has taken place by all the border agencies to ensure that there are resources in place to allow the smooth movement of genuine travellers coming here for the Rugby World Cup,” said Steve Stuart, general manager intelligence, risk and integrity.
“Major international sporting events are likely to increase demand for sex workers, and we are ready for that.”
Yesterday, an Auckland brothel-keeper was convicted for attempting to smuggle a prostitute into the country.
Gordon Dong was found guilty of aiding and abetting the unlawful entry of a person into New Zealand, and sentenced to 300 hours of community work.
Dong had lied to an immigration officer last July saying the woman was here for a holiday, when she was going to work for him as a prostitute.
“This was an attempt at people smuggling which exploits the vulnerable for personal financial greed and we have zero tolerance towards such wilful abuse of the immigration system,” Mr Stuart said.
Source: NZ Herald, May 13, 2011
A Wellington trainee radiologist who was found guilty of child-exploitation charges will have to be supervised for three years when dealing with female patients under 18, if he resumes practising.
Andrew Jeremy Dunkley, 35, was sentenced in January on six charges of possessing objectionable publications after police found 50,000 images on his computer. His house was raided in September and his computer seized after a tip-off resulting from an international police operation.
He admitted accessing images of children on the internet for the past 10 years, but the 50,000 pictures had accumulated on the computer’s cache rather than having been downloaded.
Judge Bruce Davidson sentenced him to 160 hours’ community work and 180 hours’ intensive supervision.
At his time of arrest, Dunkley had six weeks left until he became a consultant and had planned to move to Adelaide with his pregnant wife and young child.
In a decision published yesterday, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal censured Dunkley and suspended him until July 31. It said his conduct was a “major departure” from the standards of behaviour expected of a medical practitioner and warranted discipline.
Conditions to be imposed if Dunkley resumed practising include undertaking clinical psychological treatment from now until January 31, 2013, to assist his rehabilitation.
He will also be “chaperoned” when treating female patients under 18 and must advise any potential employer of his conviction and the conditions imposed before starting work.
Dunkley was ordered to pay $6000 towards the cost of the prosecution.
Source: The Dominion Post, 05/05/201
Exposure to pornography has been found to distort beliefs concerning sexually abusive acts with children, advance pro sexual-offending attitudes, and directly instigate sexual assault, says Dr Robbi Sonderigger, Psychologist and head of Sunshine Coast clinic Family Challenge. According to Dr Sonderigger this correlation is so strong that it has led Family Challenge to launch an internet proofing system, to protect Australian children from being exposed to pornography.
“Where ever there are children and poverty there is going to be paedophiles,” says a researcher for Family Challenge. “In order for an offence to occur, there has to be three parts: an offender, a victim and a situation. The situation is Australia is often eliminated because for an adult to work with children they have to go through so much red tape. Offenders can travel abroad to destinations such as Asia in order to engage in paedophilic activity”.
“When a young person is has their first sexual encounter at a young age, because so much of how we perceive the world is formed in our youth, this source of sexual pleasure can stay with them until they are older.
A New Zealand man, 43-year-old Andrew Floyd Williams has been sentenced to jail for one year and eleven months for smuggling child sex abuse images into the country on his return from Thailand.
The images include pictures of children as young as two years old being sexually abused. Following the discovery by Customs officers at the airport, law enforcement agents subsequently searched the offender’s house in Hamilton and discovered further child sex abuse images on his computer.
ECPAT Child ALERT Director, Alan Bell states “We do not need any offensive material of this nature brought into New Zealand. Travellers should be aware that the authorities in this country are vigilant and skilled at tracking down offenders. People who do take the risk of exploiting children by accessing, viewing and distributing this material deserve the full weight of the law.”
The offender knew what he was doing and knew he was acting illegally. “What he didn’t know” says Mr. Bell “is that Customs, Police and Internal Affairs work closely together to seek out people who offend and although the offender took some care to hide the material being brought into the country it was discovered. The authorities are to be commended for preventing this illegal trade based on the exploitation of innocent children”.
Customs Acting Comptroller, John Secker said “Our communities need to be educated that the online movement and trading of child sexual abuse material is regularly happening throughout all corners of our society. The worrying aspect of this activity is that it is not a victimless crime, it is increasing in volume, numbers of offenders, and seriousness of content”.
“These images are not merely virtual depictions of children being sexually abused” says Mr. Bell
“Each one represents a real child that has suffered real pain and abuse and their suffering will
Continue for their lifetime.”
Source: ECPAT Child ALERT Press Release 20 May 2011
The sexual grooming of children in the UK is a much bigger problem than has previously been recognised, the government has said.
The children’s minister, Tim Loughton, announced that an action plan will be launched to tackle child sexual exploitation, which experts say involves British children as young as 10 being trafficked for sex around the UK.
“This isn’t something that has just appeared, but the extent of it hasn’t been recognised and we are underestimating the problem,” Loughton said on Tuesday. “The cleverer we are about it, the more horrified we are likely to be by what we discover.”
People sometimes struggled to believe that such cruelty could exist in the UK, he said. But he added: “Exploitation is happening here and it is happening now.”
He added: “Sexual exploitation has not been fully understood by the judiciary and justice system.”
“What makes this crime doubly difficult to prosecute is that even if children do get over the huge hurdle and want to bring their abuser to justice, they then have to face a judicial process which sometimes treats them as though they were somehow complicit in their abuse,” said Loughton.
Source: Guardian.co.uk, 17 May 2011
A Chinese woman, convicted late last month in Tonga’s Supreme Court on human trafficking charges, has been jailed for ten years.
Lirong Liu had been convicted on seven counts – four of trafficking persons into Tonga, one of keeping a brothel and two for trading in prostitution.
Matangi Tonga reports Justice Robert Shuster, in sentencing Lirong, saying it’s a heinous offence to traffic a person for prostitution.
He told the court that human trafficking is a degrading activity and brings misery to others.
Lirong had removed the passports from Chinese immigrants to Tonga and forced them into prostitution.
Source: Radio New Zealand International, 30 May 2011
Yes, we really need your support. Firstly you can support us by becoming aware of the facts about child sexual exploitation and becoming a child advocate. The more people who are able to be a voice for children the better their protection will be.
Secondly you can get involved with our organisation. Receive our regular e-newsletter and stay informed or become a Child ALERT Partner. View our website and respond as you are able
Thirdly you can contribute financially. We do maintain a low cost operation and manage to be very effective but it is getting more difficult to obtain enough funds to do all that we want to in protecting our children. Any gift that you are able to make either as a one off donation or as a regular supporter would be hugely appreciated! We know times are tough but our children really are priceless! Give some thought to supporting the work and choose a way you’d like to help us.
ECPAT Child ALERT Team