The EU’s Protection of children

(Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse)

Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 12 July 2007 at the 1002nd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies:

The member states of the Council of Europe and the other signatories hereto;

Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members;

Considering that every child has the right to such measures of protection as are required by his or her status as a minor, on the part of his or her family, society and the state;

Observing that the sexual exploitation of children, in particular child pornography and prostitution, and all forms of sexual abuse of children, including acts which are committed abroad, are destructive to children’s health and psycho-social development;


Observing that the sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children have grown to worrying proportions at both national and international level, in particular as regards the increased use by both children and perpetrators of information and communication technologies (ICTs), and that preventing and combating such sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children require international co-operation;

Considering that the well-being and best interests of children are fundamental values shared by all member states and must be promoted without any discrimination;

Recalling the Action Plan adopted at the Third Summit of Heads of State and Governments of the Council of Europe (Warsaw, 16-17 May 2005), calling for the elaboration of measures to stop sexual exploitation of children;

Recalling in particular Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation No. R (91) 11 concerning sexual exploitation, pornography and prostitution of, and trafficking in, children and young adults, Recommendation Rec(2001)16 on the protection of children against sexual exploitation, and the Convention on Cybercrime (ETS No. 185), especially Article 9 thereof, as well as the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (ETS No. 197);

Bearing in mind the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950, ETS No. 5), the revised European Social Charter (1996, ETS No. 163), and the European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights (1996, ETS No. 160);

Also bearing in mind the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, especially Article 34 thereof, the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, as well as the International Labour Organisation Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour;

Bearing in mind the Council of the European Union Framework Decision on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography (2004/68/JHA), the Council of the European Union Framework Decision on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings (2001/220/JHA), and the Council of the European Union Framework Decision on combating trafficking in human beings (2002/629/JHA);

Taking due account of other relevant international instruments and programmes in this field, in particular the Stockholm Declaration and Agenda for Action, adopted at the 1st World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (27-31 August 1996), the Yokohama Global Commitment adopted at the 2nd World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (17-20 December 2001), the Budapest Commitment and Plan of Action, adopted at the preparatory Conference for the 2nd World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (20-21 November 2001), the United Nations General Assembly Resolution S-27/2 “A world fit for children” and the three-year programme “Building a Europe for and with children”, adopted following the Third Summit and launched by the Monaco Conference (4-5 April 2006);

Determined to contribute effectively to the common goal of protecting children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, whoever the perpetrator may be, and of providing assistance to victims;

Taking into account the need to prepare a comprehensive international instrument focusing on the preventive, protective and criminal law aspects of the fight against all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children and setting up a specific monitoring mechanism,

Have agreed as follows:

Chapter I – Purposes, non-discrimination principle and definitions

Article 1 – Purposes

1. The purposes of this Convention are to:

a. prevent and combat sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children;
b. protect the rights of child victims of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse;
c. promote national and international co-operation against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children.

2. In order to ensure effective implementation of its provisions by the Parties, this Convention sets up a specific monitoring mechanism.

Article 2 – Non-discrimination principle … (full long text).

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