Protection from sexual exploitation

Many children become victims before they even know what is happening to them. Hundreds of thousands of girls and boys are sexually exploited, abused or forced into prostitution every year. Although sexual exploitation of minors is a criminal offense worldwide, it is rarely uncovered and even more rarely prosecuted.

Philippines 2016
© UNICEF/UN014910/Estey

The situation

Children are exposed to unequal power relationships on a daily basis, and it is not uncommon for parents, relatives or acquaintances to exploit their physical superiority or position. Sadly, some do so in order to use children to satisfy their sexual needs. Research shows that the majority of underage sex victims know their perpetrators personally.

In other cases, the focus is on money: sex with children is a billion-dollar business. Children are forced into prostitution, often with false promises. Money is earned not only by pimps but also by the accompanying “industry” of taxi drivers, hotel staff and tour operators.

New means of communication create opportunities for commercial sexual exploitation that are almost impossible to monitor. Chat rooms and specially secured websites serve as platforms to target children directly or distribute child pornography.

Protection from sexual exploitation

How much would you like to donate?

How UNICEF helps

There is no simple solution to protect children from sexual violence and exploitation. UNICEF’s assistance is therefore based on a variety of approaches.

  • UNICEF urges governments to prosecute cases of exploitation and abuse more consistently and to create better legal frameworks to protect children, to ensure that abuse does not happen in the first place.
  • UNICEF works with government agencies to ensure that more social workers are hired and trained to protect and care for victims.
  • UNICEF works with parents, schools and communities to educate people and raise awareness, in order to bring about a change in attitudes toward child abuse.
  • UNICEF helps provide medical and psychological care to victims of violence and exploitation, including in specialized shelters. Girls who have been freed from prostitution can get an education, an important factor in starting a new life.

With your donation, you can help UNICEF offer care for victims of sexual offenses and at the same time take measures to curb the sexual exploitation of children. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.