Commercial sexual exploitation of children is a phenomenon that affects 2 million children worldwide. In an alliance named 'Down to Zero' Terre des Hommes Netherlands (lead), Plan International Netherlands, Defence for Children - ECPAT, Free a Girl and ICCO (Part of Cordaid) work together aiming to end commercial sexual exploitation in ten countries in Asia and Latin America together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. Currently, Down to Zero develops two programmes, Voice for Change and Building Back Better, that enable children and young people to defend their own rights, support communities to become safer and protective of their children against sexual exploitation, and helps governments to improve and implement related policies, laws and regulations. The Alliance also collaborates with the private sector, for example in the tourist industry.
The economic stress and disruption to education resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak is increasing the cases of sexual exploitation of children.
Vulnerable children in Latin America and in Asia are less able to protect themselves from the impact of the pandemic. They urgently need protection during this difficult time.
Down To Zero, an alliance of Terre des Hommes Netherlands (lead), Plan International Netherlands, Defence for Children - ECPAT, Free a Girl and ICCO Cooperation, aims to ensure that children and youth are better protected when at risk or victim of sexual exploitation, during and in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Down To Zero’s Building Back Better program is ensuring that children are able to:
In parallel, the program is strengthening:
The Building Back Better program is aiming to help more than 100.000 individuals and 1000 organisations in Asia (India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand) and in Latin America (Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Nicaragua, Brazil, Dominican Republic).
Governments have the primary responsibility for putting in place the appropriate legislation, and child protection system (including services), to prevent and protect children from sexual exploitation. However, in the countries Down to Zero operates in, child protection systems suffer from policy-flaws, poor implementation and enforcement of laws, little investment in protective services and lengthy court proceedings. Child Protection Systems in the 5 target countries are not sufficiently child-youth- and gender-sensitive, there is often low political commitment and insufficient capacity to implement Child Protection Systems.
‘Youth Voices for Change’ is an initiative of the Down To Zero Alliance that seeks to prevent the sexual
exploitation of children and adolescents by amplifying the voices of young leaders for change in Latin America and Asia.
The goal is to position young leaders as central agents of change, to improve child protection systems in Asia and Latin America through lobby & advocacy and capacity building at local, regional, national and cross-border level to international level.
In 2018 photographer Marieke van der Velden visited two shelters supported by Down to Zero in Thailand. She po…
The Down to Zero (DtZ) Alliance is a five-year (2016-2020) partnership between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign…
Mimi is a 12-year-old girl from Batam, Indonesia. She comes from a poor family where they often move and rent…
Children’s voices are often not considered as a source of wisdom. Their lack of experiences in life may not be…
The global COVID-19 crisis and lockdowns make children and young people more vulnerable to sexual exploitatio…
In many instances, sexual exploitation concerns girls and young women. They originate from areas where they are often not protected: women and girls are often considered inferior. On top of that, in many countries the legislation to protect them has not been put in place. In refugee camps and during large events such as the FIFA World Cup, girls are also extremely vulnerable to sexual exploitation. As more and more people can access the Internet, we see an increased problem here as well. At any time of the day, an estimated 750,000 men are looking online for sex with minors.
Photographer Marieke van der Velden visited ‘Down to Zero’ project in Thailand.
She spoke to the children victims of sexual exploitation about what it meant for them to receive support and get a perspective on the future again. What do they look like when they are allowed to draw themselves? Behind the safety of the mask, they shed light on themselves.
The Down to Zero alliance addresses the commercial sexual exploitation of children in ten countries by:
The Down to Zero programme focuses on four strategic objectives to ban commercial sexual exploitation of children in ten countries:
Policies, action plans and protocols
Involving market leaders & industry
Our achieved results are mentioned per year in the annual report.
The Annual Report 2019
The Mid Term Review
The Annual Report 2018
The Annual Report 2017
The Annual Report 2016