The number of children who fall victim to (online) sexual exploitation has increased worldwide. The system that is supposed to protect children has been dealt a huge blow by the corona pandemic. The Building Back Better programme of the Down to Zero alliance tackles sexual exploitation of children, during and especially after the pandemic.
With the Building Back Better programme, Down to Zero supported children, their parents and their environment in twelve countries in Latin America and Asia. Central to our approach were children and young people. We empowered children and increased their resilience. We involved and trained young people ourselves. Through their own platform Youth Voices for Change, they brought sexual exploitation of children to the attention of peers and governments.
We have also worked on the safety net around children and young people by strengthening child protection systems. We joined forces in lobbying regional, national and international governments and the business community. Thanks to this lobby, the sexual exploitation of children is on the agenda of governments, international bodies and organisations.
Building Back Better is a one-year programme of the Down to Zero alliance, a collaboration of Terre des Hommes Netherlands, Plan International, Defence for Children-ECPAT, Free a Girl and ICCO (part of Cordaid) in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The issue of sexual exploitation of children remains urgent and needs continued action.