Strasbourg, 8-9 April, 2019. – ASTRA representative participated at the international conference organized by the Council of Europe with the aim of strengthening the role of civil society in preventing and combating child sexual exploitation and abuse. The conference gathered over 35 representatives of non-governmental organizations dedicated to the protection of children’s rights, fight against child trafficking as well as child sexual exploitation and abuse. Participants, coming from 18 Council of Europe Member States, also included representatives of two countries who have not yet ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (the Lanzarote Convention). The topics discussed at the conference included upholding the rights of the child-victim, prosecution of sexual offences against children, awareness raising efforts and exploring the ways in which civil society can engage more closely in the implementation and monitoring process of the Lanzarote Convention. An overall conclusion was that civil society actors, particularly NGOs, have a crucial role in preventing and combating child sexual exploitation and abuse. In addition, given their expertise and field experience, their involvement in the work of the Lanzarote Convention’s monitoring mechanism is one of the key strengths of the Convention and needs to be further developed.
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