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Awareness Program - Child and Women

With endorsement of Sustainable Development Goals 5 (Gender Equality) and 10 (Reduced Inequalities), an intensive program was conducted to raise awareness of child and women related issues including abuse and harassment. The program was conducted to develop an advanced understanding of child abuse, neglect, exploitation and child protection issues including the rights of the child and to identify areas of intervention in supporting Protecting Environment and Children Everywhere (PEaCE) to combat commercial sexual exploitation of children Sexual Exploitation of Children (SEC) has become a rapidly growing problem in Sri Lanka. Children

are abused by people in their homes or schools. There are frequent reports in the media of male

teachers sexually assaulting their female students. Children are trafficked for sexual exploitation,

and used in pornography. Computer and mobile phones have made the creation and distribution of

child pornography easier and cheaper.

Due to the migration of mothers for employment abroad, daughters are left under the care of fathers,

uncles or elder brothers, resulting in an alarming increase in the number of child victims of sexual

assault. Child marriage is a growing phenomenon in Sri Lanka and is the most prevalent form of

sexual abuse and exploitation of girls. Many parents tend to curtail the education of their daughters

and have them wedded due to fear of exposure to sexual violence and abuse.

Sexual exploitation of children does not occur only in certain social circles but is an issue that has

permeated all classes and can be found across socio-economic lines and among people from all

cultural and ethnic groups. School age children are abused by people they know in their homes or

schools. Girls are often reluctant to report the attacks to their parents. Victims are overpowered by

their fear and children keep silent. There is fear of retaliation by the abuser, fear of not being

believed, fear of being blamed or shunned and, in the case of incest, fear that disclosure will destroy

the family. Sexual abuse of children is not acknowledged in society, yet, it thrives on, in secrecy.

Protecting Environment and Children Everywhere (PEaCE) is the pioneer organisation battling child

sexual exploitation in Sri Lanka. PEaCE was launched as a campaign in 1991 as part of the

International initiative, ECPAT (www.ecpatinternational.org) to End Child Prostitution, Child

Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes. From its inception PEaCE is

dedicated to combat Sexual Exploitation of Children (SEC) in Sri Lanka. It has been conducting

country-wide awareness programmes, advocacy, and community-based programmes in the most

vulnerable areas. PEaCE is registered as a Non-Governmental, not-for profit organisation under the

Voluntary Social Services Organisations in Sri Lanka. It has been the only organisation in Sri Lanka

working exclusively in the field of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

Youth around the world play a significant role in supporting the on-going campaigns in combating

CEC. IYC Sri Lanka joined hands with PEaCE to battle. The event took place on the 2nd of November 2013 at the Ecumenical Institute for Study and Dialogue – Havelock Town, Colombo 6.

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