ECPAT Policy Guidelines

ECPAT Policy Guidelines

ECPAT/STOP Japan was formed in 1992 as an official organization
affiliated with ECPAT International, and works to end child
prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for
sexual purposes under the ECPAT policy guideline.

Child Pornography

ECPAT opposes all written, visual or audio portrayal of children under the age
of 18 which depicts or simulates sexual activity involving a child, or exhibits
the genitals of the child in a lewd fashion.
ECPAT believes that every country should criminalise the production,
distribution, importation and the mere possession of child pornography,
including simulated child pornography, and provide severe penalties against
the producer, distributor, importer and/or possessor. No proof of criminal
intent or of a commercial transaction should be required. To this end, ECPAT
is committed to lobby work and awareness-raising which will lead to adequate
legislation in every country.

ECPAT believes that the right of children (in general and in the particular)
for protection against sexual exploitation should override considerations of
privacy and free speech for adults. The best interests of children should take

ECPAT supports the search for suitable model legislation and law enforcement
mechanisms, including bilateral and multilateral arrangements to ease the
prosecution of Internet-related use of child pornography. ECPAT seeks to
develop positive and co-operative relationships with Internet Service Providers
(ISPs) and with the software and search engine production industries in order
to find solutions to the technological problems concerning the transmission
of child pornography via computer and the Internet.

ECPAT encourages the ISPs to develop appropriate Codes of Conduct
which will include a commitment to the reporting of child pornography to the
police, and give notice to users of that intention, as well as the development
of child-friendly information on their sites. ECPAT encourages the ISPs to
give all possible support to law enforcement agencies to prevent the criminal
use of the Internet by child sex offenders.

ECPAT supports public education and awareness programmes which can
reduce the risk to children of either becoming victims as the subjects of
child pornography, or victims of seduction abuse and exposure to harmful
material through use of the Internet.

In its own operations ECPAT considers it inappropriate for its staff or members
to be in possession of child pornography, unless this is done with specific
permission of the local police and in co-operation with them, and in a strictly
controlled environment for educational purposes.

ECPAT does, however,encourage law-enforcement agencies to use demonstration examples of child pornography to selected audiences who have the potential to effect
change in society, such as legislators or judges. Such use must always try
to maintain the right of privacy of the child who has been exploited in the
material to be shown (for example, obscuring their faces by a technique)
with the exception of material that forms a part of an investigation that
requires the location and identification of the victims in order to ensure their
immediate rescue and protection.

Trafficking In Children For Sexual Purposes

 ECPAT opposes all trafficking of children. ECPAT seeks to identify through
various research projects the extent to which children are trafficked for
sexual purposes, and the extent to which, having been trafficked, children
become the victims of sexual exploitation.
ECPAT promotes prevention programmes to ensure that children do not
become the victims of trafficking.
ECPAT encourages the identification and rescue of trafficked children, their
safe keeping and safe repatriation, as well as suitable training of caregivers
for treating their trauma and rehabilitation.

ECPAT promotes and encourages mechanisms for ensuring that trafficked
victims are protected as victims in legislation, by law-enforcement operatives
and in legal proceedings. ECPAT also seeks to promote adequate law
enforcement mechanisms to apprehend and prosecute traffickers and close
down trafficking routes.

Sexual Exploitation Of Children In Vulnerable Circumstances<

ECPAT opposes the sexual exploitation of children in any circumstances,
whether within families or in the community, or in war or other situations
of political and economic instability. ECPAT supports in solidarity and
partnership the ideals and activities of other non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) who work for sexually abused and exploited children.

Youth Participation

Developing the participation of young people in combating commercial
sexual exploitation of children is an integral part of ECPAT work at national,
regional and international levels.
Working with youth themselves, ECPAT will support and establish the role of
a youth member (under the age of 25) as part of its International Executive

ECPAT creates opportunities for young people to access relevant information,
provide meaningful opportunities for reflection and action, and enhances the
skills and understanding of young people.
Young people are encouraged to develop and implement their own plans
to encourage the participation of other young people in developing,
implementing and evaluating national Plans of Action.

Media Policy

ECPAT seeks to ensure that child victims of sexual abuse are protected from
secondary exploitation through media exposure. Photographs, videos or
films should not be approved for use by the media if the identify of a sexually
abused child may be exposed by such use.

ECPAT encourages media awareness of children’s rights to privacy, and
promotes the guidelines adopted by media professionals to protect children
from further exploitation.
ECPAT expects media personnel to act with due respect for the right to
privacy of sexually exploited children.

Working With The Police And Judicial Authorities

ECPAT respects the different roles of NGOs and law enforcement agencies.
In all its activities its members and staff seek to protect the best interests of
child victims.

ECPAT does not carry out investigations of child abuse alone,
but rather encourages and supports the law enforcement authorities in their
work by providing relevant information and, where appropriate, training.

ECPAT also networks with law enforcement agents, and in particular with
Interpol, to establish contacts based on mutual trust.

ECPAT supports the work of the Interpol Standing Working Party on Offences
against Minors and encourages law enforcement agencies from all countries
to become and remain members of this specialist group.

ECPAT works to ensure that law enforcement agents have access to
appropriate training opportunities, in particular to national and international
legal provisions for the protection of children.

ECPAT encourages and provides support to victims and their families during
the course of an investigation and the judicial process.

Child Protection Policy

All ECPAT International members are encouraged to develop and maintain
child protection policies and procedures.
These policies and procedures should be preventive rather than reactive.
Their objective should be to contribute to a child safe environment by
ensuring no person associated with their organization uses that connection
for purposes contrary to the ECPAT mission.

ECPAT recommends the use of the following guidelines, details of which are
on the website or available from the International Secretariat:

  • Choose with Care: Building Safe Organizations for Children by
    ECPAT Australia.
  • World Vision’s Partnership Child Protection Policy.
  • Child Protection Policy: Protecting children, preventing abuse by
    Save the Children.

The Problem of the Paedophile: Guidelines for recruiting staff
for positions in child and youth care. Meredith Kiraly (Children
Australia, Vol.21, No.2, 1996)

It is recommended that, in contracts for employment in both member
organizations and in the International Secretariat, provision be made for
dismissal of employees who bring the organization into disrepute by their
personal behavior involving children.

Photo Policy

ECPAT International discourages the use of identifiable photos of “real”
children within its publications. Without authenticating the pictures, and
receiving permission of those whose images are reflected therein, it is
impossible to determine if the child or children have or have not been
sexually exploited. In the event that they have been exploited, the printing
of their photo in an ECPAT publication risks revictimizing the individual or

In an ECPAT International publication, the Secretariat will therefore refrain
from using identifiable images of children in any of its publications with the
following exceptions:

  • 1. If permission is granted by the individual him/herself if the child in the
    picture, photo, etc. has since reached the age of 18 and understands
    the context and content in which the image shall appear; or
  • 2. If the picture, photo, etc. is being used within the framework of a
    particular project or program funded directly or indirectly by ECPAT
    International in which the individual has agreed to participate and be
    photographed in such a capacity (i.e., IYPPP); or
  • 3. If a note accompanies the photo explaining that the image of the child
    is for aesthetic purposes only and to ECPAT International’s knowledge
    does not represent a child who has been exploited.

ECPAT groups and affiliates follow these same guidelines.