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Sexual exploitation of children

In developed western democracies approximately one in five children or young adults is the victim of some form of sexual abuse. Sexual exploitation of children is one of the worst forms of violence against children and has long-lasting damaging consequences for the young victims.

In 2007, the Council of Europe adopted the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. This is the first instrument which establishes the various forms of sexual abuse of children as criminal offences, including such abuse committed in the home or the family. The convention entered into force on 1 July 2010.

The European campaign to stop sexual violence against children was launched in Italy in November 2010. The One in five campaign sets the Underwear Rule and aims to promote legal, educational and other measures needed to combat all forms of sexual violence against children.

Furthermore, the Council of Europe's Cybercrime Convention establishes child pornography over the internet a criminal offence and provides means for police to work together internationally to combat it.

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Launch of European campaign to stop sexual violence against children