Poverty, HIV/AIDS, and civil and political strife affect many countries in Africa, creating profound economic and social instability. As families are forced to migrate without adequate support to maintain their livelihood or fall victim to illness or marginalisation, children become increasingly vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation. The abduction of children by armed militias and the sale and trafficking of children are especially problematic within Southern, Central and West Africa. This occurs primarily within the Africa region, but transcontinental trafficking of children for sexual purposes is also known to occur between Africa and Europe. In some cases, entrenched socio-cultural values, attitudes and structures increase the vulnerability of African children to sexual exploitation.
ECPAT’s work in Africa supports collaborative action among local groups and organisations working to address multiple forms of CSEC. As such organisations are few and tend to work in isolation, collaborations are encouraged through holding capacity building and experience sharing forums that can support planning of coordinated and/or joint initiatives. Moreover, national and regional coordinators are based in the region to provide direct support for all programmatic activities and initiatives and to link groups with the global ECPAT network.