SANJOG_OPSC_NGO_Report

Acronyms (to be inserted)

Foreword

This report has been prepared as a complementary report to the 5th State Party Report submitted by the Government of Bangladesh on the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, which was ratified by Bangladesh. This report contains complimentary information to the State Party Report and includes comments and recommendations from numerous NGOs, INGOs, Children’s Forum Network members and civil society groups of Bangladesh.

The report acknowledges progress made by Government in putting in place a favourable legal, policy and institutional framework to combat the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography. However, it is also captures gaps in policy and legislation, administrative bottlenecks, poverty and conflict that continue to threaten protection of children from sale, prostitution and pornography. It therefore urges Government to conduct a comprehensive review of policies and legislation, enforcement of laws and policies, strengthen coordination and to leverage resources for children.

While there have been a number of achievements, there are also many issues and concerns that the we would like to highlight which are impacting on the effective implementation of the Optional Protocol and need to be addressed by the State Party.

This report has been read by other organisations that have made valuable comments that have been included within this report. On behalf of the Sanjog Bangladesh, I would like to thank all organizations for their valuable contribution in preparation of this report.

My humble appeal is for all duty bearers to use this report to design effective interventions to combat the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Together, we can and will create a Bangladesh fit for all children!

Sadia Nasrin

Executive Director

Sanjog Bangladesh

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

This document is an alternative NGO report to the 5th State Party report on UNCRC of Bangladesh. The report focuses on the situation of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (OPSC). This report is prepared by Sanjog Bangladesh and provides observations, recommendations and conclusions with regards to the State Party report.

Sanjog Bangladesh welcomes the state party report where many positive aspects in regard to the child protection has been reflected. As far as the OPSC is concerned the state party report has not found effective to draw a practical picture of the child situation. The state party report has most focused on the legal framework and other legislative and administrative provisions, but the impact on children and picture the practice of this mechanism is absent in the state party report. This alternative report tends to minimize that gap to create a better scenario of the child protection in Bangladesh.

As a large number of children are at risk of trafficking and sexual violence, Sanjog Bangladesh identified a big gap in the data and knowledge base on these issues within Bangladesh. Hence, the organization strongly recommends conducting studies to establish and update database on issues related to child protection.

Sanjog Bangladesh commends the Government’s initiative on adoption of Anti Trafficking law, National Child Poicy, Children Act, Pornography protection Act 2012 etc. Sanjog Bangladesh applauds these important efforts made by the Government and encourages further accomplishments of this nature and to strengthen the legal protection of children.

On the other hand, in spite of all these new laws children situation remain almost same as because these new efforts are still far to be implemented.

( a brief analysis of this figures and causes will be added her)



( a brief analysis of this figures and causes will be added her)

Based on the observations and gaps identified in implementation of the Optional Protocol, the key recommendations made by the Sanjog Bangladesh are as below:

  • Adequate human and financial resources should be made available to the MoSW and MoWCA.
  • The Ombudsman for Children should be established without further delay and adequate resources should be allocated for it to carry-out its legislated mandate.
  • Inter-ministerial coordination and collaboration needs to be strengthened with other ministries and government functionaries to address the issues related to the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
  • The Government should strengthen, establish and operationalize community and district structures, such as, Child Welfare Committees, Family Courts, Anti trafficking committee etc.  
  • Together with local stakeholders, the Government needs to develop measures to protect children and develop capacities of service providers, making services available at all levels.
  • The State Party should prioritize establishment of knowledge base on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
  • The State Party should strengthen law enforcement to control production, distribution and sale of video, images and publications depicting children in a sexually provocative manner in any form, including, but not limited to print, electronic and internet.
  • The State Party should to ban displays of sexually explicit movies and other pornographic materials in places accessible to the general public and take measures to restrict children’s access to sexually explicit movies and other materials intended for adults. People exposing children to pornographic materials should be penalised and prosecuted.
  • The audio-visual materials of the key provisions of the Optional Protocol need to be translated into Bangla and other indigenous languages. Similarly, a child-friendly version of the Optional Protocol needs to be developed and disseminated.
  • Children should be made aware in school and out of school of the risks and self-protection measures associated with the sale of children, sexual abuse and exploitation and harms of exposure to pornographic materials.
  • The State Party needs to fully implement the anti trafficking SAARC convention including establishment of a cross-border monitoring system and inter-surveillance structures.
  • Children at risk should be provided economic alternatives, as well as educational and vocational opportunities, to reduce their vulnerability to prostitution, sexual abuse and exploitation or unsafe movements which endanger their safety.
  • Child survivors of trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation should be provided appropriate protection and care, including, medical care, psycho-social support, legal aid, rehabilitation, family reunification, social reintegration, as well as educational and economic opportunities.
  • Child survivors should not be treated as the offenders of law and should be protected from social stigma. TheGovernment needs to make provision for child survivors to be compensated by those who abuse and exploit them.
  • Policies and mechanisms should be developed and used for protection of victims and witnesses. Efforts should be made to make sure victims and witnesses are not forced to withdraw cases or compromise with the perpetrators.
  • Child-friendly legal procedures should be institutionalised and the cases related to trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation should be dealt with utmost sensitivity only by the legislated bodies.
  • The State Party is urged to improve the birth registration mechanism by improving access and services, exempting the costs for registration and making registration facilities available within a reasonable geographical distance in all areas of the country.
  • Special protection law need to be enacted for the child domestic worker to protect them not only from the economic and physical exploitation but also from the sexual abuse and tortures. 

Sanjog Bangladesh strongly encourages the State Party to consider these recommendations when developing future policies, procedures and programmes aimed at addressing OPSC issues and the general welfare and rights of children in Bangladesh. 

While there have been a number of achievements, there are also many issues and concerns that Sanjog Bangladesh would like to highlight which are impacting on the effective implementation of the Optional Protocol and need to be addressed.

.Sanjog Bangladesh requests the Government and in particular the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs to fulfil its obligation as per the Government of Bangladesh’s commitment as the State Party to the Optional Protocol on UNCRC.

 

                                        
1. Introduction

1.0 Introduction

The Government of Bangladesh ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) in 1990. As part of its obligation as a State Party, the Government of Uganda has prepared its 5th periodic reportt on the implementation of the UNCRC. While governments have the duty to promote, protect and defend the rights of their citizens, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have an obligation to track on these government roles. The CRC also mandates NGOs to report on Government implementation of the Convention. Article 45(a) of the CRC provides that:

“The Committee may invite the specialized agencies, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and other United Nations organs to submit reports on the implementation of the Convention in areas falling within the scope of their activities.”

In fulfilment of this mandate, Sanjog Bangladesh has prepared an Alternative Report to the Government’s Report on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (hereinafter referred to as the Protocol). The Alternative Report provides the basis for NGOs continued lobbying for a supportive legal and social regime for children in Bangladesh.

Sanjog Bangladesh is a local NGO ……… (One para about Sanjog)

 

1.1 Structure of the Report

This report has seven chapters, each discussing a different component of the Sanjog Bangladesh’s response to the State Party’s 5th Priodic report. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the situation of children in Sierra Leone, the legal status of the Optional Protocol and child protection issues related to the OPSC. Chapter 2 reports on the general measures taken by the Government and NGOs, and the technical assistance received from international organisations and UN agencies. The laws that are relevant to the OPSC are discussed in the third chapter, followed by comments on monitoring and evaluation in Chapter 4. Similarly, Chapter 5, 6 & 7 of the report include the challenges, recommendations and conclusions, respectively. The OPSC itself is provided as Annex 1 and some newspaper clippings as Annex 2.

1.2 Report Preparation Process

This report is prepared with extensive analysis and review of secondary information from various research studies and available data, as well as collection and verification of information on the status of implementation from governmental and non-governmental organizations, duty bearers and stakeholders. A validation workshop was organized to verify the report, collect additional information and recommendations. Many NGOs and government departments provided technical assistance and guidance to the Sanjog Bangladesh in coordinating information collection, analysis, validation and writing of the report.

1.3 Methodology  

FGD and interviews with different group of children, parent and duty bearers, secondary documents review, information collection from relevant NGOs, Newspaper analysis was the major tools for this report preparation.

A questionnaire was formulated and sent to different organizations in Bangladesh that works on these issues of OPSC and which were assumed to be involved and might have information on sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography.

The questionnaire, which was written in English and was translated into Bangla, consisted

of approximately 69 questions, in which 8 topics were incorporated. The questions were

both closed and open questions. This questionnaire was the guiding focus document for the entire report preparation.

dxvfsdfsdfsd

2. General Measures of Implementation

3. Prevention Prohibition and Related Matters

4. Protection of the Rights of Victims

5. International Assistance and Cooperation

6. Other Legal Provisions    

7. Recommendations

7.1 Mechanisms for Coordinating Implementation of the OPSC

While the role played by the various agencies cited in the report is appreciated, it is not clear from the report what actual mechanisms are used for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the Optional Protocol. The Government needs to improve the coordination of implementation and monitoring of the Optional Protocol by developing and strengthening the necessary capacity to conduct countrywide awareness raising on the Optional Protocol and to follow up on specific violations.

Recommendation 1: The Government should improve the coordination of the implementation and monitoring of the Optional Protocol by developing the necessary capacity to conduct country-wide awareness raising on the Optional Protocol and to follow up specific violations.

Recommendation 2: Adequate human and financial resources should be made available to the MSWGCA to fulfil its coordination, monitoring and implementation role.

Recommendation 3: The Ombudsman for Children should be established without further delay and adequate resources should be allocated for it to carry-out its legislated mandate.

Recommendation 4: In addition, inter-ministerial coordination and collaboration need to be strengthened with other ministries and government functionaries to address the issues related to the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Recommendation 5: Ministries need to improve communication, particularly electronic communication, amongst one another and collaborating national and international organizations for better information sharing, coordination, collaboration and monitoring.

6.2 Strategies to Prevent and Protect Children

Strategies to prevent and protect children should be developed with reference to the local and community context, in collaboration with local actors.

Recommendation 6: Together with local stakeholders, the Government needs to develop measures to protect children and develop capacities of service providers, making services available at all levels.

Recommendation 7: The State Party should prioritize establishment of knowledge base on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Recommendation 8: The State Party should strengthen law enforcement to control production, distribution and sale of video, images and publications depicting children in a sexually provocative manner in any form, including, but not limited to print, electronic and internet.

Recommendation 9: The State Party should to ban displays of sexually explicit movies and other pornographic materials in places accessible to the general public and take measures to restrict children’s access to sexually explicit movies and other materials intended for adults. People exposing children to pornographic materials should be penalised and prosecuted.

Recommendation 10: The Government should extend basic services, such as, health and education, to areas affected by porous international border areas so that people, particularly children, will not need to cross border to access better health and education facilities.

6.3 Monitoring and Sensitization

The MoWCA should educate the public on the process of ratifying and implementing international instruments and how the general population can contribute to this process. Children should also know about this process. As the rights holders, they should be aware so that they can claim their rights and seek redress in case of violations. While the role played by the various individual agencies cited in the report is appreciated, it is not clear from the report what the actual mechanisms are for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the Optional Protocol.

Recommendation 11: The State Party should improve the implementation and monitoring of the Optional Protocols and involve civil society and NGOs in the preparation of its report.

Recommendation 12: Coordination and monitoring should be improved, establishing mechanisms for evaluating the implementation of the Optional Protocol beyond the periodic reporting.

Recommendation 13: The MoWCA should educate the public on the process of ratifying and implementing international instruments and how the general population can contribute to this process.

Recommendation 14: The State Party should improve dissemination of information on the Optional Protocol. The State Party has an obligation to make the principles and provisions of the Protocol widely known and promoted by appropriate means, to adults and children alike.

Recommendation 15: The audio-video materials on key provisions of the Optional Protocol need to be translated into Bangla and other indigenous languages.

Recommendation 16: A child-friendly version of the Optional Protocol needs to be developed and disseminated. Children should also know this process and, as the rights holders, they should be aware so that they can claim their rights and seek redress in case of violations.

Recommendation 17: Children should be made aware in school and out of school of the risks and self-protection measures associated with sale of children, sexual abuse and exploitation and harms of exposure to pornographic materials.

6.4 Socio-economic Alternatives

Socio-economic alternatives and education opportunities, complemented by practical activities that address their needs and circumstances, should be made available to vulnerable children and child survivors for their protection, reintegration and rehabilitation.

Recommendation 18: Children at risk should be provided economic alternatives as well as educational and vocational opportunities to reduce their vulnerability to prostitution, sexual abuse and exploitation or unsafe movement which endangers their safety.

Recommendation 19: Child survivors of trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation should be provided appropriate protection and care, including, medical care, psycho-social support, legal aid, rehabilitation, family reunification, social reintegration as well as educational and economic opportunities.

6.5 Legal Protection

Sanjog Bangladesh strongly recommends the Government to improve legal protection for children, those who have survived and those who are at risk of trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation and pornography, in order to end impunity and create a protective environment.

Recommendation 20: Law enforcement personnel and service providers need to be sensitized to ensure that child survivors are not treated as the offenders of law and should be protected from social stigma.

Recommendation 21: The State Party should make provision to for child survivors to seek compensation from those who abuse and exploit them.

Recommendation 22: Policies and mechanisms should be developed and used for protection of victims and witnesses. Efforts should be made to make sure victims and witnesses are not forced to withdraw cases or compromise with perpetrators.

Recommendation 23: Child-friendly legal procedures should be institutionalised and the cases related to trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation should be dealt with utmost sensitivity only by legislated bodies.

Recommendation 24: The Government should strengthen, establish and operationalize community and district structures, such as Child Welfare Committees, Family Courts

Recommendation 25: Capacities ofmagistrates need to be strengthened to deal with child trafficking, children’s sexual abuse and exploitation.

6.6 Birth Registration and Age Determination

Since more than half of the children in Bangladesh are not registered at birth, it is difficult to verify age for the purpose of violations of legal rights, providing legal aid and appropriate support and services.

Recommendation 26: The State Party is urged to improve the birth registration mechanism by improving access and services, exempting the costs for registration and making registration facilities available within a reasonable geographical distance in all areas of the country.

Recommendation 27: In addition to birth certificates, a mechanism for age verification and identification, such as voters’ identification cards, should be used to determine that a person is above the age of eighteen.

7. Conclusion

Sanjog Bangladesh acknowledges the huge resource constraints of the State Party and also applauds the State Party for making remarkable efforts to advance the welfare of children and protect them against all forms of abuse. However, effective legislative and institutional reforms and capacity building of the institutions will be needed in order to strive towards the implementation of the OPSC in Bangladesh. Systematic efforts must be made by the State Party and its child protection network partners including INGOs, NGOs, CBOs and civil society to address the legislative and practical issues of implementing the OPSC.

Throughout this report, Sanjog Bangladesh has provided several recommendations as means of finding solutions to the problems associated with OPSC in Bangladesh. The organization strongly encourages the State Party to consider these recommendations when developing future policies, procedures and programmes aimed at addressing OPSC issues and the general welfare and rights of children in Bangladesh. 

                                         
 Annex 1

Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

The States Parties to the present Protocol,

Considering that, in order further to achieve the purposes of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the implementation of its provisions, especially articles 1, 11, 21, 32, 33, 34, 35 and 36, it would be appropriate to extend the measures that States Parties should undertake in order to guarantee the protection of the child from the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography,

Considering also that the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development,

Gravely concerned at the significant and increasing international traffic of children for the purpose of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography,

Deeply concerned at the widespread and continuing practice of sex tourism, to which children are especially vulnerable, as it directly promotes the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography,

Recognizing that a number of particularly vulnerable groups, including girl children, are at greater risk of sexual exploitation, and that girl children are disproportionately represented among the sexually exploited,

Concerned about the growing availability of child pornography on the Internet and other evolving technologies, and recalling the International Conference on Combating Child Pornography on the Internet (Vienna, 1999) and, in particular, its conclusion calling for the worldwide criminalization of the production, distribution, exportation, transmission, importation, intentional possession and advertising of child pornography, and stressing the importance of closer cooperation and partnership between Governments and the Internet industry,

Believing that the elimination of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography will be facilitated by adopting a holistic approach, addressing the contributing factors,  including underdevelopment, poverty, economic disparities, inequitable socio-economic structure, dysfunctioning families, lack of education, urban-rural migration, gender discrimination, irresponsible adult sexual behaviour, harmful traditional practices, armed conflicts and trafficking of children,

Believing that efforts to raise public awareness are needed to reduce consumer demand for the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and also believing in the importance of strengthening global partnership among all actors and of improving law enforcement at the national level,

Noting the provisions of international legal instruments relevant to the protection of children, including the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation with Respect to Inter-Country Adoption, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Cooperation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children, and International Labour Organization Convention No. 182 on the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour,

Encouraged by the overwhelming support for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, demonstrating the widespread commitment that exists for the promotion and protection of the rights of the child,

Recognizing the importance of the implementation of the provisions of the Programme of Action for the Prevention of the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and the Declaration and Agenda for Action adopted at the World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, held at Stockholm from 27 to 31 August 1996, and the other relevant decisions and recommendations of pertinent international bodies,

Taking due account of the importance of the traditions and cultural values of each people for the protection and harmonious development of the child,

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1

States Parties shall prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography as provided for by the present Protocol.

Article 2

For the purpose of the present Protocol:

(a) Sale of children means any act or transaction whereby a child is transferred by any person or group of persons to another for remuneration or any other consideration;

(b) Child prostitution means the use of a child in sexual activities for remuneration or any other form of consideration;

(c) Child pornography means any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes.

Article 3

1.   Each State Party shall ensure that, as a minimum, the following acts and activities are fully covered under its criminal or penal law, whether these offences are committed domestically or transnationally or on an individual or organized basis:

(a) In the context of sale of children as defined in Article 2:

 (i) The offering, delivering or accepting, by whatever means, a child for the purpose of:

     a. Sexual exploitation of the child;

     b. Transfer of organs of the child for profit;

     c. Engagement of the child in forced labour;

(ii) Improperly inducing consent, as an intermediary, for the adoption of a child in violation of applicable international legal instruments on adoption;

(b) Offering, obtaining, procuring or providing a child for child prostitution, as defined in Article 2;

(c) Producing, distributing, disseminating, importing, exporting, offering, selling or possessing for the above purposes child pornography as defined in Article 2.

2.   Subject to the provisions of a State Party’s national law, the same shall apply to an attempt to commit any of these acts and to complicity or participation in any of these acts.

3.   Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties that take into account their grave nature.

4.   Subject to the provisions of its national law, each State Party shall take measures, where appropriate, to establish the liability of legal persons for offences established in paragraph I of the present Article. Subject to the legal principles of the State Party, this liability of legal persons may be criminal, civil or administrative.

5.   States Parties shall take all appropriate legal and administrative measures to ensure that all persons involved in the adoption of a child act in conformity with applicable international legal instruments.

Article 4

1.   Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences referred to in Article 3, paragraph 1, when the offences are committed in its territory or on board a ship or aircraft registered in that State.

2.   Each State Party may take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences referred to in Article 3, paragraph 1, in the following cases:

(a) When the alleged offender is a national of that State or a person who has his habitual residence in its territory;

(b) When the victim is a national of that State.

3.   Each State Party shall also take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the above-mentioned offences when the alleged offender is present in its territory and it does not extradite him or her to another State Party on the ground that the offence has been committed by one of its nationals.

4.   This Protocol does not exclude any criminal jurisdiction exercised in accordance with internal law.

Article 5

1.   The offences referred to in Article 3, paragraph 1, shall be deemed to be included as extraditable offences in any extradition treaty existing between States Parties and shall be included as extraditable offences in every extradition treaty subsequently concluded between them, in accordance with the conditions set forth in those treaties.

2.   If a State Party that makes extradition conditional on the existence of a treaty receives a request for extradition from another State Party with which it has no extradition treaty, it may consider this Protocol as a legal basis for extradition in respect of such offences. Extradition shall be subject to the conditions provided by the law of the requested State.

3.   States Parties that do not make extradition conditional on the existence of a treaty shall recognize such offences as extraditable offences between themselves subject to the conditions provided by the law of the requested State.

4.   Such offences shall be treated, for the purpose of extradition between States Parties, as if they had been committed not only in the place in which they occurred but also in the territories of the States required to establish their jurisdiction in accordance with Article 4.

5.   If an extradition request is made with respect to an offence described in Article 3, paragraph 1, and if the requested State Party does not or will not extradite on the basis of the nationality of the offender, that State shall take suitable measures to submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

Article 6

1.   States Parties shall afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in connection with investigations or criminal or extradition proceedings brought in respect of the offences set forth in Article 3, paragraph 1, including assistance in obtaining evidence at their disposal necessary for the proceedings.

2.   States Parties shall carry out their obligations under paragraph 1 of the present Article in conformity with any treaties or other arrangements on mutual legal assistance that may exist between them. In the absence of such treaties or arrangements, States Parties shall afford one another assistance in accordance with their domestic law.

Article 7

States Parties shall, subject to the provisions of their national law:

(a) Take measures to provide for the seizure and confiscation, as appropriate, of:

(i)   Goods such as materials, assets and other instrumentalities used to commit or facilitate offences under the present Protocol;

(ii) Proceeds derived from such offences;

(b) Execute requests from another State Party for seizure or confiscation of goods or proceeds referred to in subparagraph (a) (i);

(c) Take measures aimed at closing, on a temporary or definitive basis, premises used to commit such offences.

Article 8

1.   States Parties shall adopt appropriate measures to protect the rights and interests of child victims of the practices prohibited under the present Protocol at all stages of the criminal justice process, in particular by:

(a) Recognizing the vulnerability of child victims and adapting procedures to recognize their special needs, including their special needs as witnesses;

(b) Informing child victims of their rights, their role and the scope, timing and progress of the proceedings and of the disposition of their cases;

(c) Allowing the views, needs and concerns of child victims to be presented and considered in proceedings where their personal interests are affected, in a mariner consistent with the procedural rules of national law;

(d) Providing appropriate support services to child victims throughout the legal process;

(e) Protecting, as appropriate, the privacy and identity of child victims and taking measures in accordance with national law to avoid the inappropriate dissemination of information that could lead to the identification of child victims;

(f)   Providing, in appropriate cases, for the safety of child victims, as well as that of their families and witnesses on their behalf, from intimidation and retaliation;

(g) Avoiding unnecessary delay in the disposition of cases and the execution of orders or decrees granting compensation to child victims.

2.   States Parties shall ensure that uncertainty as to the actual age of the victim shall not prevent the initiation of criminal investigations, including investigations aimed at establishing the age of the victim.

3.   States Parties shall ensure that, in the treatment by the criminal justice system of children who are victims of the offences described in the present Protocol, the best interest of the child shall be a primary consideration.

4.   States Parties shall take measures to ensure appropriate training, in particular legal and psychological training, for the persons who work with victims of the offences prohibited under the present Protocol.

5.   States Parties shall, in appropriate cases, adopt measures in order to protect the safety and integrity of those persons and/or organizations involved in the prevention and/or protection and rehabilitation of victims of such offences.

6.   Nothing in the present Article shall be construed as prejudicial to or inconsistent with the rights of the accused to a fair and impartial trial.

Article 9

1.   States Parties shall adopt or strengthen, implement and disseminate laws, administrative measures, social policies and programmes to prevent the offences referred to in the present Protocol. Particular attention shall be given to protect children who are especially vulnerable to these practices.

2.   States Parties shall promote awareness in the public at large, including children, through information by all appropriate means, education and training, about the preventive measures and harmful effects of the offences referred to in the present Protocol. In fulfilling their obligations under this Article, States Parties shall encourage the participation of the community and, in particular, children and child victims, in such information and education and training programmes, including at the international level.

3.   States Parties shall take all feasible measures with the aim of ensuring all appropriate assistance to victims of such offences, including their full social reintegration and their full physical and psychological recovery.

4.   States Parties shall ensure that all child victims of the offences described in the present Protocol have access to adequate procedures to seek, without discrimination, compensation for damages from those legally responsible.

5.   States Parties shall take appropriate measures aimed at effectively prohibiting the production and dissemination of material advertising the offences described in the present Protocol.

Article 10

1.   States Parties shall take all necessary steps to strengthen international cooperation by multilateral, regional and bilateral arrangements for the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution and punishment of those responsible for acts involving the sale of children, child prostitution, child pornography and child sex tourism. States Parties shall also promote international cooperation and coordination between their authorities, national and international non-governmental organizations and international organizations.

2.   States Parties shall promote international cooperation to assist child victims in their physical and psychological recovery, social reintegration and repatriation.

3.   States Parties shall promote the strengthening of international cooperation in order to address the root causes, such as poverty and underdevelopment, contributing to the vulnerability of children to the sale of children, child prostitution, child pornography and child sex tourism.

4.   States Parties in a position to do so shall provide financial, technical or other assistance through existing multilateral, regional, bilateral or other programmes.

Article 11

Nothing in the present Protocol shall affect any provisions that are more conducive to the realization of the rights of the child and that may be contained in:

(a) The law of a State Party;

(b) International law in force for that State.

Article 12

1.   Each State Party shall submit, within two years following the entry into force of the Protocol for that State Party, a report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child providing comprehensive information on the measures it has taken to implement the provisions of the Protocol.

2.   Following the submission of the comprehensive report, each State Party shall include in the reports they submit to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, in accordance with Article 44 of the Convention, any further information with respect to the implementation of the Protocol. Other States Parties to the Protocol shall submit a report every five years.

3.   The Committee on the Rights of the Child may request from States Parties further information relevant to the implementation of this Protocol.

Article 13

1.   The present Protocol is open for signature by any State that is a party to the Convention or has signed it.

2.   The present Protocol is subject to ratification and is open to accession by any State that is a party to the Convention or has signed it. Instruments of ratification or accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 14

1.   The present Protocol shall enter into force three months after the deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification or accession.

2.   For each State ratifying the present Protocol or acceding to it after its entry into force, the present Protocol shall enter into force one month after the date of the deposit of its own instrument of ratification or accession.

Article 15

1.   Any State Party may denounce the present Protocol at any time by written notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall thereafter inform the other States Parties to the Convention and all States that have signed the Convention. The denunciation shall I take effect one year after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

2.   Such a denunciation shall not have the effect of releasing the State Party from its obligations under this Protocol in regard to any offence that occurs prior to the date on which the denunciation becomes effective. Nor shall such a denunciation prejudice in any way the continued consideration of any matter that is already under consideration by the Committee prior to the date on which the denunciation becomes effective.

Article 16

1.   Any State Party may propose an amendment and file it with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary-General shall thereupon communicate the proposed amendment to States Parties, with a request that they indicate whether they favour a conference of States Parties for the purpose of considering and voting upon the proposals. In the event that, within four months from the date of such communication, at least one third of the States Parties favour such a conference, the Secretary-General shall convene the conference under the auspices of the United Nations. Any amendment adopted by a majority of States Parties present and voting at the conference shall be submitted to the General Assembly for approval.

2.   An amendment adopted in accordance with paragraph I of the present Article shall enter into force when it has been approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations and accepted by a two-thirds majority of States Parties.

3.   When an amendment enters into force, it shall be binding on those States Parties that have accepted it, other States Parties still being bound by the provisions of the present Protocol and any earlier amendments that they have accepted.

Article 17

1.   The present Protocol, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the United Nations.

2.  The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit certified copies of the present Protocol to all States Parties to the Convention and all States that have signed the Convention.