ECPAT-USA’s Alternative Report to the United Nations

As of November 2009, 193 countries have ratified or accepted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The only countries that have not signed it are Somalia, South Sudan, and the United States of America.

While we have not signed the Convention, the United States has signed onto the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, which requires countries to prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

As part of the protocol, the US must report every five years on its progress in preventing and combating child trafficking.


The pioneering ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) recently prepared an Alternative Report to the US’s assessment of its efforts.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child met with representatives of ECPAT-USA and other NGO delegates from the United States this week in Geneva, Switzerland. The Committee’s job is to offer recommendations to governments to improve their efforts to stop the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. This week, the Committee was reviewing the United States government. As part of that review, NGOs submitted information for the committee to take into consideration so that it is fully informed when it offers recommendations to the U.S. government.

The NGOs submitted three different reports:

  1. Sixty two organizations signed on to this Alternative Report developed by ECPAT-USA.
  2. The Children’s Studies Center of Brooklyn College in New York City submitted a separate report specifically measuring how New York State complies with the commitments made by the U.S. government to eliminate the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
  3. The Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University Chicago and the Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights at the University of Chicago submitted a report about the sale of children for labor.

The U.S. government had previously reported to the Committee about its efforts to protect children. After this session, the Committee sends additional questions to the U.S. government. In January government representatives will meet with the Committee face to face and then the Committee will make its recommendations. ECPAT-USA uses those recommendations as guidelines for our advocacy for the protection of children.

Congratulation to ECPAT-USA for serving as a strong independent voice protecting children in the United States and worldwide.

It’s long past the time that the United States should pass the Convention on the Rights of the Child. With the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday banning life without parole for juveniles, a significant barrier to passage is now eliminated. Jesse Helms, the long-time opponent of the CRC, has been dead now for quite some time. Let’s pass the CRC before the end of this decade!!!

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