Mar 14, Colombo: The UNICEF and International Labour Organization (ILO) jointly expressed concern today about recent " factually incorrect" media reports on child sexual exploitation in Sri Lanka.
UNICEF and ILO issuing a joint statement on recent reports of children involved in commercial sexual exploitation said they are very concerned about the media reports that said "there are over 40,000 child prostitutes in Sri Lanka, according to UNICEF and ILO statistics."
The two agencies said they have not conducted any research in the past decade on children involved in commercial sexual exploitation in Sri Lanka and the figures quoted in the media are from studies conducted before 2003 and cannot be used as a true indicator of the situation now.
"Statistics from that studies older than 2003 cannot be used to offer a picture of children affected by commercial sexual exploitation today," the agencies said.
"Globally, ILO and UNICEF remain very concerned about the commercial sexual exploitation of children – a term used to describe the sale of children, child prostitution, and child sex tourism and child pornography. Commercial sexual exploitation of children is unacceptable and violation of the Articles 34 and 35 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, signed and ratified by the Government of Sri Lanka. Commercial sexual exploitation is also defined as a worst form of child labor according to ILO Convention 182, Article 3(b)," the statement said.
UNICEF and ILO said they work with national authorities to improve the protective environment for the promotion of the rights of Sri Lankan children. Any research they have conducted in recent years is available on their websites.