The United Nations has designated November 18 as the “World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Violence.” This day serves as a global initiative to address the pervasive issue of child sexual exploitation, abuse, and violence that affects countless young individuals worldwide. The violations cut across all nations and societal strata, posing a significant threat to the well-being of children, especially girls.
The sexual abuse and exploitation of children are not only violations of human rights but also public health problems with significant consequences for global health and development. By acknowledging and actively participating in the World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Violence, the global community can work collaboratively to protect children, promote healing, and eliminate these grave violations.
Widespread Nature of the Issue
Children, particularly girls, are at a heightened risk of experiencing forced sex, sexual exploitation, abuse, and violence, both online and offline. The prevalence of such atrocities is exacerbated during armed conflicts. These heinous acts persist as a result of various global challenges, including the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts, climate change, and disasters.
Root Causes and Contributing Factors
The inadequate action and measures to address the root causes of child exploitation, such as rising inequalities, deepening poverty, and structural discrimination on intersecting grounds, continue to worsen situations that expose children to exploitation, abuse, and violence.
Impact on Children
Child victims and survivors of such crimes endure long-lasting negative impacts on their physical, mental, and sexual health and development. The trauma experienced by these children may even amount to torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Many victims and survivors hesitate to disclose their experiences due to shame, hindering the pursuit of justice, rehabilitation, and support.
The child abuse experience can have lifelong consequences on the physical and mental health and overall well-being of victims and survivors. Addressing these consequences is crucial for promoting healing and preventing the perpetuation of the cycle of abuse.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development places the dignity of children and their right to live free from violence as a priority. The agenda aims to implement various goals and targets relevant to ending exploitation, abuse, trafficking, torture, and all forms of violence against children.
Recognition of World Day
Affirming the need to eliminate and prevent all forms of child sexual exploitation, abuse, and violence, the General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/77/8 on 7 November 2022. This resolution proclaims 18 November of each year as the World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Violence.
The United Nations calls on Member States, relevant organizations, world leaders, faith actors, civil society, academic institutions, the private sector, and other stakeholders to commemorate this World Day each year. This includes commitments to ensure quality education, raise public awareness, hold perpetrators accountable, and facilitate open discussions on the need to prevent and eliminate stigmatization, promote healing, affirm dignity, and protect the rights of survivors and victims.
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