Children in vulnerable situations, such as unaccompanied children and missing children, are at a higher risk of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, noted the Council of Europe’s Lanzarote Committee in its Statement on protecting children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse resulting from the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.
The Committee noted “the increasing number of refugee, migrant and internally displaced children” and recognised the “urgent need for safe passages”. It reaffirmed that the 48 Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (all 46 member States of the Council of Europe, as well as Tunisia and the Russian Federation), are called upon to “uphold the rights and best interests of the child at all times” and are required to “take measures to address the specific risk of exposure to sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of migrant and refugee children”.
The Parties are required to cooperate with relevant stakeholders in Europe and beyond to prevent the exposure of migrant and refugee children to the risks of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, provide appropriate support and assistance to child victims of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse in their physical and psychosocial recovery, and to fight against the impunity of sexual offenders.
War in Ukraine – Special page