Commercial sexual exploitation inflicts severe physical and psychological harm on children. Where such harm occurs, it often signals a lapse or failure in the protective framework that should be in place for the care and protection of the child. For this reason, ECPAT places significant emphasis on the development and implementation of child protection measures and care standards to guide the work of those responsible for and working with children.
Long-term recovery and reintegration relies on effective provision of care and continuing protection from further exploitation. However, a lack of capacity and resources and sometimes limited understanding of the needs of children means that child survivors of commercial sexual exploitation often do not receive the care and protection they require.
ECPAT programmes embody a rights-based approach that recognises the inherent rights of children to, among other things, health, protection from exploitation, appropriate care and freedom of expression and the obligation of individuals and authorities to support these rights. At a local level, ECPAT aims to strengthen and improve the capacities of grassroots organisations to reflect rights-based practices in the care and support of children. This is pursued with support for integration of care standards and child protection policies in care programs to ensure quality of services for the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration (or social integration) of children who have been commercially sexually exploited. Training for caregivers, social workers, psychologists, peer supporters and volunteer youth workers is also organised to develop skills in areas of psychosocial care of victims of CSEC and to provide structured opportunities for exchange of good practice. At the national and international level, ECPAT aims to ensure that the rights and needs of children are not overlooked when developing strategies to tackle commercial sexual exploitation.