Commercial sexual exploitation of children means not only forced prostitution, but also undertaking sexual contacts with minors in exchange for money or gifts. It is a form of child abuse and a crime punished with imprisonment. Although teenagers offering or consenting to sex in exchange for gifts or money can look older than they are in reality, the adults are those responsible for abusing a child.
During big sport events children are more at risk of commercial sexual exploitation due to increased inflow of tourists, feeling of anonymity of offenders in a foreign country and organised crime activity. If you see a child or teenager being exploited for commercial sex, react.
Commercial sexual exploitation of minors during big sport events:
In 2012 Nobody’s Children Foundation was running educational campaign on the issue of threats associated with commercial sexual exploitation faced by children and youth. The campaign was conducted in the perspective of European Football Championships. The aim of the campaign was to limit the problem by making children and youth more aware of possible threats, increasing knowledge and competences of professionals responsible for child protection and discouraging adults from undertaking commercial sexual contacts with teenagers. The campaign in Poland and in Ukraine was implemented under honorary patronage of governmental institutions, such as Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education, Police and Border Guard. In Poland the campaign was implemented in the framework of the governmental programme “Safer Together”.
Commercial sexual exploitation means sexual abuse of a child by an adult with transfer or promise of transfer of some form of remuneration to a child or third persons. Convention on the Rights of the Child states that a child is a person below the age of 18.
Along with an inflow of national and foreign football fans and tourists the risk of commercial sexual exploitation of children might be on the rise. The feeling on anonymity, eagerness to enjoy the time of championship and unawareness of legal regulations protecting children might cause increase in cases of sexual contacts with minors in exchange for gifts or money. Large numbers of tourists encourages activity of organized crime groups involved in child trafficking and exploitation in the form of prostitution. Moreover, big sport events attract youth looking for adventure and meeting new people, but unaware of existing dangers and ways of avoiding them.
Commercial sexual exploitation is a form of abuse that affects girls and boys. Some children are particularly susceptible to this form of exploitation, some of them due to lack of adequate care and previously experienced violence or neglect. However the main factor sustaining the occurrence of commercial sexual exploitation is demand created by adults interested in having sex with minors.
There are children who initiate sexual contacts with adults in exchange for some form of remuneration. The reason for this is can be peer pressure, materialistic values they are surrounded with, search for new experiences which make them feel important and attractive. Sometimes they are not able to predict consequences of their actions and recognize true intentions of adults. It is worth remembering, that a person who looks like an adult may actually be a child, with whom sexual contacts are forbidden.
Establishing sexual relations, including commercial ones, with minor below the age of 15 in Poland and minor below the age of 16 in Ukraine is illegal. According to article 200 of Polish Criminal Code sexual contact with a person below the age of 15 is punishable with up to 12 years of imprisonment. According to article 199, a person who leads a minor below the age of 18 do have a sexual contact in exchange of material of personal benefit can receive a punishment of up to 5 years of imprisonment.
Polish Criminal Code also refers to criminal responsibility of those involved in procuring or gaining profit from prostitution of minors.
The campaign was developed in two parallel lines: one dedicated to adults, the other one dedicated to youth audience.
In order to raise awareness of general public, potential offenders and witnesses poster, leaflets in the form of cards, and online banners in a few language versions were prepared. The materials carry the campaign message concerning legal consequences of undertaking sexual contacts with minors and draw attention to the fact that although minors may look very mature, this never justifies potential offenders. Posters and cards were distributed in cooperation with project partners (Ministry of Interior, Police, Boarder Guards, NGOs) in the main cities of Poland, as well as on the border with Ukraine.
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Youth participated in preventive workshops based on scenarios and educational game developed by NCF. During the course of the campaign, almost 1300 teachers and pedagogues were trained on how to run prevention activities with youth aged 13-18. Materials include three lesson scenarios with films - scenario concerning the problem of child trafficking, "Proof of love" scenario concerning first sexual relations and "Sponsoring" scenario concerning commercial sexual exploitation. Each scenario focuses on the story of a teenager who experienced certain form of exploitation and promotes 116 111 helpline as a place where children can get help.
Below you can see story of Paulina from scenario concerning child trafficking and story of Iza from prostitution scenario.
Poster “You - don’t have a price” informs youth that sexual contacts in exchange for money or gifts expose to violence and may destroy the future. Educational game “Don’t lose!” is an interactive tool, which stimulates discussion with youth about how to behave and react in various difficult situations, which they may encounter.
Download campaign materials: