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Campaign against child sex tourism gathers pace

July 16, 2008 2:00 PM

www.sayno.eu

A public petition calling on governments and the EU to do more to combat child prostitution has gathered almost 20,000 signatures less than three weeks since its launch on the 27th of June.

The campaign was started by Euro-MPs with the support of leading charities including ECPAT and Save the Children. It calls for action against the thousands of European and other tourists who travel each year to countries in Southeast Asia, South America and Africa to have sex with minors.

Local Euro-MP Liz Lynne who helped to launch the campaign, and is a member of the European Parliament's Human Rights Subcommittee, said:

"I am delighted that so many people have signed up already and encourage many more to do so.

"Travelling abroad to sexually exploit children is an outrage which must be stopped. People would be rightly prosecuted for it in this country, yet the chance that offenders get caught in some countries is almost zero.

"We need to work together on this. The EU institutions and national governments must improve information exchange with third countries on possible suspects and past convictions; this would make potential perpetrators think about what they do and help the authorities clamp down on offenders. We also want greater powers for European police to be able to train police, prosecutors and judges in risk countries, to improve their handling of child sex tourism cases.

"If a million people sign up to this the EU institutions and Member States will have to take notice, so I urge local people to sign up at www.sayno.eu. As European tourists are perpetuating this problem Europe should be part of its solution."

ENDS

Notes:

To learn more and sign the petition: www.sayno.eu

Information from the website of Plan International: http://www.plan-international.org/wherewework/europe/say_no_child_abuse/

Information on ALDE website (Liberal group in European Parliament): http://www.alde.eu/index.php?id=279

Other than ALDE, the online petition is sponsored by Terre des Hommes, Plan International, ECPAT International and Save the Children.