Vatican Promotes Worldwide Pact Against Child Exploitation

89 Countries Have Endorsed It, But Only 16 Have Ratified It

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NEW YORK, JAN. 21, 2002 ( The United Nations Children´s Fund (UNICEF) reported that 89 countries have endorsed an international agreement to prohibit child prostitution, pornography and the slavery of minors.

The success of the campaign was due, in part, to the contribution of the Vatican mission at the United Nations, which appealed to countries to ratify the measure in addition to endorsing it.

Sixteen countries, including Vatican State, have taken the second step, making the optional protocol to the Convention on Children´s Rights obligatory within their borders.

The other countries that ratified the agreement are Andorra, Bangladesh, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Norway, Panama, Qatar, Romania, Sierra Leone, Spain, Uganda and Vietnam.

In announcing the support of 89 countries to the protocol, UNICEF appealed for speedy ratification of the agreement in order to have the necessary legal resources in the struggle against children´s exploitation.

According to UNICEF reports, close to 1 million children, the majority girls, enter the multimillion-dollar sex market every year, attracted by the promise of an education and a lucrative job.

The optional protocol of the Convention of Children´s Rights will serve as the global framework to standardize national legislations against the sale of children for sexual exploitation, illegal adoption, or use of their organs.

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