Prior to the beginning of the each World Congress, there have been several projects and campaigns that encouraged young people to become involved in the planning and executing of the World Congress such as the following:
The World Congress III “Consultation Tool”:
This is a tool that is accessed online or downloaded, printed and mailed in to the Secretariat in Bangkok. Young people have the opportunity to answer questions about prior participation and experiences at World Congresses, as well as providing information about what young people expect and would like to suggest for upcoming World Congresses.
The Art Campaign:
Poetry, essays, theatre and dance performances, songs, art works and were submitted from youth groups, schools and individuals and selected highlights were exhibited at previous World Congress. Pieces chosen reflected a number of perspectives including the artists’ view of the situation of CSEC in their country, suggestions on how to address the phenomenon of CSEC and presentation models of good practice in the fight against CSEC in their communities.
“The Letter Writing Campaign”:
The aim of this campaign was to provide an opportunity for young people to call upon their governments for greater accountability for their policies with regards to the protection of children from sexual exploitation. It was intended to highlight the issue on the agendas of governments in the period before the Yokohama Congress.
Pre-Congress Regional Meetings:
As part of the preparations for the previous Congresses, UNICEF held six regional meetings. These took place in Bangkok, Thailand, for East Asia and Pacific, Dhaka, Bangladesh, for South Asia, Rabat, Morocco, for Africa and the Middle East, Montevideo, Uruguay, for Latin America and the Caribbean, Budapest, Hungary, for Europe and Central Asia, and the United States, for North America, including Mexico.
In Stockholm, Sweden in 27-31, August 1996.
A total of 17 young delegates participated in the World Congress I hosted by the government of Sweden in 1996. Although a small number of young people involved, it was a powerful first step for youth as it was the first time young people were invited to take part in a global meeting together with governments, UN (United Nations) agencies and the NGO’s (Non-Government Organizations). Due to the positive impact of youth involvement, a new standard was set for others to invite child and youth representatives to take part in discussing the issues that concern youth. Additionally, previous to the World Congress’s taking place, there were a number of regional and national workshops in various countries to help young people prepare for the World Congress. At the Congress itself, a workshop was organised for the young delegates to help them prepare for the “Youth Panel” which was the main event for the young people at the Congress.
Quote from the Youth Report to the WORLD CONGRESS I:
“We presented several issues but in all of those, we call upon all the governments and all the adults to change their wrong attitudes towards us children and for everyone to recognize the abilities of the children and youth and to let us participate in all undertakings that are supposed to help us children.”
Outcomes from the World Congress I:
The participation of young people during the World Congress I was a monumental outcome of this event. By the end of the World Congress I, child participation was included in the final Declaration and Agenda for Action as a specific point of action:
a) To promote the participation of children, including child victims, young people, their families, peers and others who are potential helpers of children so that they are able to express their views and to take action to prevent and protect children from commercial sexual exploitation and to assist child victims to be reintegrated into society; and
b) To identify, establish and support networks of children and young people as advocates of child rights. To include child and youth representatives in developing as well as implementing government and other programmes concerning them.
in Yokohama, Japan
From 17th -20th, December, 2001
The World Congress II against CSEC (commercial sexual exploitation of children) was held in Yokohama, Japan. The Government of Japan hosted the event with ECPAT, UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund) and the NGO Group for the Rights of the Child. This was evidence of the unique and successful partnership formed during the World Congress I.
Who participated in the World Congress II?
• Children were among the keynote speakers and panellists;
• Every panel had a youth participant;
• In the second panel, the Moderator was a youth participant;
• Young people managed a number of round table discussions with journalists and adult experts at the Congress;
• Several workshops were created with the interests of young people in mind and there were a few workshops with young people as presenters.
• Young people gave interviews to the media and joined the press conference that took place after the closure of the Congress;
• A separate room was made available for young people at the Congress site;
• A workshop on peer counselling and youth strategies took place.
The greater participation and involvement of young people was one of the best results of the World Congress II. Another positive outcome was the “Final Appeal of Children and Young People” whereby;
“Final Appeal of Children and Young People”:
a) Young people called for more awareness amongst the general public about commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), better cooperation between governments, inter-governmental agencies and non-governmental organisations;
b) Young people called for attention to male child victims and asked for an international day to be dedicated to recognition of commercial sexual exploitation of children(CSEC) as well as a celebration for survivors of CSEC, in an attempt to draw worldwide attention to the issue;
c) Young people drew attention to the importance of education to help young people avoid being caught in the sex trade, and the need for long-term and sustainable funding for education programs;
d) Young people suggested that a fund for youth be established, to be overseen by an international organisation; and
e) Support services for children were also called for, as well as the non-victimisation and non- criminalisation of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children.