ECPAT, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
ECPAT originally stood for “End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism” but the organization dropped that slogan and now ECPAT stands for “Preventing the Sexual Exploitation of Children”. It has grown from a New Zealand group to have support in many countries. Most of us would support the aim of protecting children, but the group is spreading what looks like false propaganda that will cause people to hate men even more. Their April 2011 newsletter says
Millions of children and young people under 18 are trafficked every year. The majority of these minors are affected by sexual exploitation. Our findings challenge the perception that child sex trade is a phenomenon confined to developing areas of the world, and reveals that children are sexually exploitated (sic) in virtually all countries of the world. New Zealand is not exempt!
The newsletter says that the Body Shop founder called this trafficking the 21st century slave trade, and if you buy a tube of their hand cream (sic) the proceeds will go to ECPAT. The newsletter elsewhere talks about human trafficking and wants readers to think this is mainly child-sex trafficking, but it doesn’t say how many adult men are trafficked for labour exploitation compared with children trafficked for sexual exploitation.
I have never heard of a single case of children being “trafficked” to New Zealand to be sexually exploited. The newsletter did not provide any evidence for its claim. Prostitutes from Asia and other countries are sometimes caught working illegally in New Zealand and they might claim they have been forced to stay and work against their will, but the facts hardly ever support their story.
The ECPAT International website says that they train hotel employees in Asia, Europe and sub-Saharan African countries to detect suspicious behaviour and prevent child-sex tourism. Bad luck if you’re a man travelling alone because that’s probably suspicious. Or maybe just being a man full stop.
The website admits they don’t actually know the numbers of children trafficked for sex because it’s so hidden but that doesn’t seem to stop ECPAT from saying it’s millions.
It would be good if someone wrote to ECPAT to ask how they made the “findings” that children are being trafficked to New Zealand for sexual exploitation, and also what they teach the hotel employees to look for. The director of ECPAT is Alan Bell, PO Box 41-264 St Lukes, Auckland 1346, or firstname.lastname@example.org