International standards

Issues > Sexual exploitation > International standards

The right of children to be protected from sexual abuse and sexual exploitation is recognised in the Convention on the Rights of the Child article 34, in the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and other international standards

Commercial sexual exploitation of children is further prohibited by the ILO Convention 182 on Worst Forms of Child Labour.  The convention includes child prostitution and pornography in the definition of worst forms of child labour which are as such subject to immediate prohibition and elimination (articles 3 and 1).

The third World Congress against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents adopted the Rio Declaration and Call for Action, which provides a framework for the fight against commercial exploitation of children.  The Call for Action identifies new scenarios of sexual exploitation, including dissemination of child pornography using new technologies and sex tourism.  It calls on participants to encourage corporate action in the field and to ensure corporations are held liable for production and/or dissemination of child pornography.

A United Nations Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography was appointed in 1990 and the mandate has been regularly renewed.