Many children in South Asia, particularly underprivileged and marginalized children, are victims of or are at risk of commercial sexual exploitation. Addressing the issue is a challenge because of deep-rooted secrecy, lack of adequate measures to protect child victims and a deeply ingrained social stigma surrounding these crimes. Trafficking in children – cross-border and internal – for sexual exploitation is another major concern.
Children are trafficked from India to Bangladesh and Nepal, where many end up exploited in brothels. Prostitution of children, forced marriage and child sex tourism are also major forms of sexual exploitation in the region. Inadequate laws, weak law enforcement and low rates of birth registration constrain legal protection of minors and prosecution of offenders.
The ECPAT network in South Asia is active at many levels. Groups have conducted studies on child sex tourism, the prostitution of boys and national legal frameworks for protection of children from CSEC and have been involved in direct action such as assisting child survivors through the legal system and supporting them for their recovery and social reintegration.
The Youth Partnership Project for Child Survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation in South Asia (YPP) is an innovative ECPAT initiative in the region designed to empower and build the capacity of child survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking to take the lead in the fight against CSEC. ECPAT manages this project at the regional level, working in close coordination with YPP national partner organizations Aparajeyo Bangladesh, Maiti Nepal and SANLAAP India. For more information about the project, visit the YPP website